KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Two Kansas City metro parents want to stress the importance of talking with your kids about racism.
“I would just really like to encourage parents to talk about race,” Dr. Alethea Rollins, University of Central Missouri professor and a Lee’s Summit High School parent, said. “Doesn’t matter what age your child is, it doesn’t matter which race or ethnicity your child is. It doesn’t matter what environment or context your child is in. Everyone needs to be talking to their kids about race and race in U.S. context and understanding how it’s impacting lives and it’s impacting all of us.”
Rollins said it starts with parents educating themselves.
Next, she said ask your kids how they feel, for example, about the recent situations in Olathe South and Park Hill South.
“Really bringing it home for them and give them context to understand not just ‘don’t say that’ or ‘we don’t say that’ but why we don’t say that why is that insensitive and what does that portray to someone else?” Rollins said. “You have to have discussions; you have to have explicit conversations when you talk about race, it cannot be something you brush under the rug. This really is on white parents at this point because as black parents we talk to our kids about race all the time, we have to. We have prepared them, we have given them resources strategies, we’ve advocated with teachers, school boards and now is a time for white parents to really step up and talk to kids about race.”
Deidre Anderson, CEO of United Inner City Services, has a student at Raymore school and said this isn’t just one conversation.
“It is going to be a long haul, it’s not going to happen overnight, going to be an ongoing dialogue,” she said. “We have to examine our racist history and we have to be willing to do something different. History repeats itself when we do not look at it straight in the face and say no more.”
They both agree you can talk about race at any age, just tailor the conversations to be developmentally appropriate.
Below are a few resources for learning more about race.