Anti-racist parenting: It’s for everyone

written by Tami Winfrey Harris, Anti-Racist Parent Editor

A recent conversation with an acquaintance, coupled with Erin Blakeley’s article on Babble, got me thinking…

I firmly believe that the most effective solution to the racial challenges we frequently unpack here is teaching the next generation to do better. You likely agree. After all, you are hanging around a site called Anti-Racist Parenting. Here is something else I believe: It is not just parents of color, or parents of children of color, who have to do this work.

Now, I have several anti-racist parenting allies who are the white parents of white children, but far more of my white friends and acquaintances see racism mainly as a function of the past. They think “the playing field is equal now” and that “a little racism still exists, but it’s on both sides.” They consider many calls for racial sensitivity to be examples of political correctness run amok. They aren’t racists and likely know few, if any, people who are. They “don’t see color” and neither, they insist, will their children.

In my corner of the world, mainstream Americans who are ignorant of the history of race in America and blind to the institutional racism and racial biases that still pervade our society seem to outnumber those who worry about things like racial identity, marginalization, biased beauty standards, othering, etc. And I fear that in the Age of Obama, the odds may become even worse. After all, “How can America be a racist country, if the president is a self-identified black man?”

This is a problem. The anti-racist movement needs allies of every stripe. My black nieces and nephews need the parents of their white friends to be invested in identifying and addressing racial inequality, and those parents need to pass that awareness to their own children. Otherwise, how can we ensure that a more egalitarian future for ALL of our children.

Most moms and dads of color I know, because of their own experiences, consider that teaching children to deal with race bias and racism is a necessary and important part of parenting. How do you convince parents who are privileged enough to not have to think about race every day to see the importance of proactively discussing this “ism?” 

How do we create more anti-racist parents?

Image courtesy of utopiacere on Flickr

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About Tami

Tami Winfrey Harris writes about race, feminism, politics and pop culture at the blog What Tami Said. Her work has also appeared online at The Guardian’s Comment is Free, Ms. Magazine blog, Newsweek,, Huffington Post and Racialicious. She is a graduate of the Iowa State University Greenlee School of Journalism. She is mom to two awesome stepkids and spends her spare time researching her family history and cultivating a righteous 'fro.
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