Race is a subject that appears to be one that is simple to talk to your kids about. However, it has so many levels of approach that it most likely will not be a one-time discussion. This is a topic with a lot of bias and passion. Its history is littered with war, bloodshed, and even blind convictions. Depending upon your approach and your personal race, there are many issues to keep in mind when addressing this topic with your kids.
I don’t believe that we must approach the subject from an apologetic point of view. “IF” we are all equal, then I believe honest and unbridled discussions can take place. Discussing this topic without bias is difficult. Even if we say that we are open-minded to differing points of view, we have all had experiences and been taught by those that we “trust” to tell us the truth.
For me, I believe that our Creator has created each man with purpose and value. I do not believe that one life is more precious than the next. However, the character of a man or woman may determine their impact on a larger group of people or culture. Each man and woman should be judged by their character, not the color of their skin, nor the history of their race. Believing that one individual is bad or of less value based on their appearance or heritage is ignorant. I want my children to treat others with dignity and respect, and to only judge individuals by their character.
To deny that people gravitate towards what is familiar is a given. We trust what we know more than what we do not understand. In a crowd, we choose to speak with or sit by those that we feel are like us. Does this mean that we value others more or less? It may mean that we are more comfortable with those of our own race simply by default. This of itself has no bearing upon the likelihood of this initial comfort serving one’s interest well.
Our kids need to realize that the actions of one or even a group of people at a particular time and place can predict the thoughts, words, or actions of a similar person or group in the future. If we are judging the character or actions of a people, it is the character or actions that must be judged and not associate that said characters and actions as an inheritance.
Slavery is bad. I believe that we can agree on this statement. Slavery is not bad when it only affects one particular group of people during a specific time period. No, slavery is bad no matter the recipient or when it happens. If we look at the history of mankind, this is a matter that has harmed all races. I one wished to be contentious with this matter, I would refer them to the works of Dr. Nell Irvin Painter. She has an amazing book on the subject.
Racism is any platform that promotes one race as superior or any words or actions that uses race as a means to acquire a privilege that is not offered to people outside of that particular race. Finally, racism is a mindset that blames the success or failure of individuals because of their race instead of their intelligence and work ethic.
Our kids need to believe that they are responsible for their own future. They need to work hard, educate themselves, and strive to denounce any mindsets, statements, or actions, that either harm or favor a person on the sole merit of race. As a Christian father, I believe that all mankind has an invaluable soul. I have taught my children that all men and women have value and that the life of one race is just as precious as the next.
Sadly there are those that abuse this issue through evil and or ignorance. I believe that those who commit blatant acts of racism and those that default contention of ideas to race are both guilty and narrow of mind. The problem lies within individuals and is not systemic. For us to believe so is to concede that a media, community, culture, or government has the right and power to dictate what we think, say, and do.
We need for our kids to act responsibly. Not only should they condemn racism, but also the default accusations that feed adversity and insight hatred. Our responsibility as dads is to be an example and to teach our children to live by the golden rule. We may not be able to change society, but we can change and affect the culture of our home. If we all did so, we would probably be in a different situation than we are today. Be the example. Teach what is right. Be the best dad possible.