This will be an ongoing journey for you, but we are inspired that you are on it...
1. They Already Know About Culture. It may shock you that your girls might already have built ideas how to understand diversity. Holding conversations around race can be stressful. You may be nervous to say the wrong thing, use the wrong word and be confused at first. However, don't let these reasons stop you from starting the conversation. Most of our youth are already being introduced to culture, bias and stereotypes well before any school addresses it. Your girls need to hear from you earlier. Children start to apply stereotypes between the ages of 3 – 5. Yes, 3 – 5!! Start with where you are, “Hi Honey, I’m not going to say everything right, but let’s talk about something important, let's talk about understanding racial differences and appreciating culture.”
2. Seek To Learn Where They Are: Learn what they know about race and culture already. You will probably be shocked to learn they already have learned stereotypes and developed certain behaviors around a community. It may make you feel disappointed or sad. Don’t feel that you have failed. Start from this moment to have an ongoing conversation with them. They will mimic what you do including how you see various communities, so pay attention to the way you make statements and how you deliver your perspective.
3. Come With Resources, You are Not an Expert: Below there is a list of resources that you can start educating yourself so that you feel supported. You don’t have to go alone at learning how to begin teaching your children around allyship. An important part of sharing different perspectives is learning and partnering with other parents that understand how to share a different perspective than you may have. Its okay that you are not an expert, Allyship is a lifelong learning and evolving practice for all of us.
4. Change Will Be Slowly: Your #risinggirls won’t be able to make change overnight so be patient. Understanding complexities takes time and has a learning curve that may not show up as soon as you expect.
5. Learning Can Be Fun: You can make the conversation interesting by adding cultural significant readings, music, dance history and beyond to keep the conversation interesting. Social media can often use types of stereotypical imagery and can be problematic so be sure to review before using as a tool. That said, it also can be a great tool to discover new diverse identities.
6. Learn Along with Them: Being an ally can be hard work. It takes a commitment to not getting it right 100% but making it better 100% of the time. Its okay to be patient with yourself as there will be behaviors that you will also change as you educate yourself. Dedicating your efforts to always
7. Listen, Listen and Listen and watch your steps: Being an ally is using your efforts and privilege to stand in for others. At times, you may want to educate where you feel you have gained insight. Try your best to listen more than you direct. Your #risinggirls will be watching how you share knowledge but more closely to how you act within your community with these new lessons.
8. One of the most important challenges about entering in new territory of allyship is the discomfort you will feel in discuss an issue that has devastated communities disproportionately. The realization of systemic discrimination and its unfairness will bring guilt and discomfort. Sit in those feelings because they are important to empathize and be able to honestly educate your family member.
9. Allyship will require you to grow your vocabulary here is a great resource. Being an ally also means learning to build inclusive practices means learning what it means to be intersectional. Get comfortable talking another language Here is a great vocabulary list.
List of Resources:
- State of the Science: Implicit Bias Review 2017
- The Development of Implicit Attitudes: Evidence of Race Evaluations From Ages 6 and 10 and A Adulthood
- The Defining Moment: Children's Conceptualization of Race and Experiences with Racial Discrimination
- Multiculturalism as a Dimension of School Climate: The Impact on the Academic Achievement of Asian American and Hispanic Youth
- AntiRacist Baby
- Counting on Community
- We’re Different, We’re The Same
- Let's Talk About Race
- Hidden Figures
- Racial Healing Handbook
- The Story of Ruby Bridges
- It's Time to Talk (and Listen): How to Have Constructive Conversations About Race, Class, Sexuality, Ability & Gender in a Polarized World
- Trans Allyship Workbook: Building Skills to Support Trans People In Our Lives
- Tears We Cannot Stop: A Sermon to White America
- A Kid's Book About Racism
*We’ll continue to add to this list
As you approach building your #risinggirl to be a better ally for racial justice, you may experience an array of emotions. Take your time. Educate yourself and commit your steps towards allyship.