We each have our own story about racist beliefs we learned. We also have the choice to become aware and either transmit them or NOT transmit them to our children.
My story begins with being born in 1953 in Detroit, Michigan. My family soon moved to an all-white suburb. I grew up not knowing anyone of color until we relocated to California in 1966. I attended middle school in San Mateo which was a shocking multi-racial experience for me.
I have recently learned from my daughter the terminology to explain my journey from my learned racist beliefs to grappling with them and fighting against them in each situation where they arise.In:
How to Be an Antiracist, Ibram X. Kendi writes,
“Being an antiracist requires persistent self-awareness,
and regular self-examination.”
If the heartbeat of racism is denial, and the heartbeat of antiracism is confession, awareness and confession must be an active, normal part of our journey to be antiracist.
We have so much to learn from our young people. My heart has stirred to a greater awareness and sense of urgency for change because of their vibrancy and actions. I also appreciate the older generations who are their guides.
So, I ask you, are you transferring to your children racist beliefs that you might not be aware of?
I believe it’s time for the privileged people, of which I am one, to learn from others the definition of systemic racism.
I believe it’s time to admit: ” I realize that even if I try to not transfer racist beliefs nor do racist actions, that I am still perpetuating the problem when I don’t take conscious actions to stop the racist systems.”
I believe it’s time to have honest discussions with our children, based on their age, about what it means to be privileged. How our entire view of the world and the world’s view of us impacts everything we do. Are doors opening or closing for others?
I can only get a tiny glimpse of the fear black people may feel, each time I walk alone into a parking garage or any other place where a woman could get attacked.
My daughter, husband, and I determine to stay conscious of the antiracist movement and to be an active participant in doing our small part in supporting the larger vision of a non-racist world.
What is your determination towards creating a world where blacks are treated equally? Please share with others.
Cynthia and Bill Klein and Jen Saini, June 12, 2020
To learn about Cynthia Klein’s parenting education approach, Ally Parenting, go to her website, www.bridges2understanding.com.