anti-racist parenting

GUEST BLOG: Ways to be actively anti-racist as a parent in CLE

Disclaimer: There are so many ways to be anti-racist; too many to include. These suggestions are specific to parents in Cleveland.

Mix up playdates

Get to know parents of other backgrounds. Seek out and listen to immigrant parents, Black parents, Asian, and Latinx parents. Get to know them as people and not just token friends or sources of information on “the issues.” Have your kids meet and play together. The mom-meet-mom app Peanut is great for this. Your city, your neighborhood is more diverse than you think.

Actively educate yourself

If you’re lucky enough to have black and brown friends, don’t rely on them to answer all your questions, correct you, or open up about things that affect their community. No one person is an authority or representative for their whole culture. CSU has programs on Black Studies, Arabic, and Spanish. Try listening to Radio Hall of Fame nominee The Breakfast Club on Real 106.1 in the mornings. Find and utilize local black-owned businesses on resource pages like Official Black Wall Street and The Real Black Friday. Follow BLM_216 or acluohio on Twitter.

Open the box

Get uncomfortable and take an implicit bias test. What ingrained thoughts about minorities do you have? How have you shared these with your children? How have you and your children unwittingly benefited from systemic racism?

Take action with your kids

If you don’t feel comfortable attending protests with your kids, hold a protest in your yard. Take them to museums like the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame; they recently opened an eye-opening social justice exhibit.

Toys and Talk

Talking about race is not racist. It’s okay and it is important. Visit Cleveland Public Library’s Discussing Race section. For young kids, incorporate dolls of all colors into their toy box. Read books with diverse characters. Throw movies with positive black protagonists into the family night mix. For older kids, teach them how to source their information, fact-check, and find primary sources when they are on the internet. Disseminate what you have learned and encourage questions.

Speak out to your family and friends

You know that person in your family, the one that always says something problematic. You don’t say anything to them because it’s not your place or you know they are never going to change, or you don’t know enough about the situation. But you know what they said was wrong. When your kids see you say nothing, they see you accepting those thoughts and words. They learn that — while it might not be okay — those words are acceptable to say. When they see you talk back, they realize it’s okay to speak out even when it creates tension. When they see you say something, they follow your lead.

Aja Hannah is a mom and writer in Cleveland, OH. You can find more about her and her work at her website:

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