Transracial Parenting »

Anti-Racism Parenting

I have not been blogging here because I’m working on a book.

It is a handbook for white parents about how to parent white children using anti-racism tools. The aim is to dismantle racism before it begins, takes hold, spreads. I have sat in meetings with folks who work on social justice, race reconciliation, and anti-racism as well as those who seek equity justice and I have heard my calling. I am to write this book because I come to it uniquely through the lens of a white mother of a Black son. This is ground zero.

There actually is no ground zero. I’m the Sephardic mother of an African American son, within us are a multitude of ethnicities and tribes and cultures. But for the sake of this conversation, I sometimes err at speaking through a black or white lens.

While I am working on the book, I am issuing a call to anyone who cares to add to the conversation. I will credit you and your organization, and I am looking for this: if you had a moment to speak to a white parent raising a white child today, what would you tell them? What would you want them to include in their parenting arsenal? What story would you like to share with them?

Feel free to comment here. Or you can contact me directly at



January 24, 2015 - 2:05 pm

Rachel - Sonia Elkes Rachel, I love that you are doing this. Would have gone a long way in my upbringing too. Here’s my two cents: I think everybody has racism naturally within them, just the details about toward whom, and about what, and why and when and how vary greatly from person to person and situation to situation. Inside all of us is an immune system that relies on the “us” vs “them” principle to protect self from non-self, or “body cell” from “invader”. We have evolved as we are largely because we are so amazingly efficient at this “us” vs “them” thing. So if we are, at minimum, the sum of all of our parts, then I think we can’t deny that being suspicious of “other” MAY be somewhat inherent to our biological make up. That said, human beings are all part of the SAME race–the HUMAN race. These lovely amazing bodies that we are so keen on started out as ONE single cell, and from that cell dividing and differentiating we got ALL the different amazing cells in our bodies that look vastly different and do vastly different amazing things. Evolutionary fossil evidence gives strong indication that today’s humans started out in one geographical place, then different groups migrated away at different times, changed and evolved (differentiated), some came back together, and thanks to all that mingling and evolving and CHANGING, we now have these fabulous bodies we often take completely for granted. (please double check my evolutionary science there) Judging people just because they look different from oneself, or because they have a different set of beliefs, is tantamount in my book to one body cell (like a Liver cell) judging or ostracizing another body cell (say a Muscle cell), just because it looks different or does different things.. Different is GOOD! Different means differentiated, and differentiated, WHEN it works together, means STRONGER than if all were the same. Heart cells are not somehow superior to Kidney cells, and Lung cells would waste their time being suspicious of Red Blood Cells. Of course we humans look different from each other– we all have different strengths and weakness and gifts and talents and functions and contributions to make, but at the end of the day we all belong to the same race, NO ONE is superior, we are the HUMAN race, and someday if we finally all learn to work together as a team, we are going to be one awesome, kick-ass HUMAN organism. All of its parts essential, learning and working together.
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Sonia Elkes Rachel, I don’t know if that is useful to your project or not, but meanwhile i have one other thought. I think one of the best ways to reach parents is through the books they read to their children. Perhaps the handbook you write could have a children’s book counterpart that takes your message directly to the children you want to reach, and then naturally to their parents. There is an AMAZING children’s book author in Kansas City I met on a plane ride once if you are looking for an illustrator. His name is Shane Evans. He and I text ideas occasionally. Website:

welcome to

January 24, 2015 - 2:05 pm

Rachel - Shiloh Mary Langlois I wish that my parents would have taught me this… Point out inequality. If your child goes to a private school in America, ask them why the majority of their class mates are white. Ask them why on media (in movies and shows) the majority of the main characters are white. Ask them why “darkness” is synonymous with evil. They might not be able to answer these questions initially, but the point is to teach them to see. And most importantly, remember love. Don’t act out of hate and don’t act out of guilt. Fight racism because you value and love the lives of black children as much as you love the lives of white children. Also, immerse and expose your child to a multitude of cultures and people, but not by appropriation – give them role models who are black and of ethnicities other than white. Teach them to fall in love with these people, and let them spend time together. Let them read stories in which the main character and the hero is black. And let them make music together, because they will never forget the soul and the spirit and how it feels to make music together.

January 22, 2015 - 11:32 pm

Rachel - The Kwanzaa Project

Advise the parents to surround themselves with people of different backgrounds who think critically and have love & compassion in their hearts. Those individuals, most likely to respect difference, will be able to raise a balanced, yet inquisitive child.
P.S. It is so good to hear your “voice” again. Since I am not a master of how to send messages via google+ I could not wish you & your son happy holidays properly! Great question!

January 21, 2015 - 5:03 pm

Rachel - Glen Robinson – I’m posting for you here to keep all these comments together:

Live in a mixed community. Travel the world. Catch all oppression in the act, stop it and call it out for the evil that it is.

January 21, 2015 - 5:02 pm

Rachel - Thanks Givonna – that day in the doctor’s office still weighs on my heart too. I changed Tin’s eye doctor to an African American woman – Dr. Kefla Brown – after that incident. Not because the doctor did anything but the environment was too oppressive for us. I would love to sit at the table and talk to you and Aria and I will have my notepad ready. Let’s do it! Love, R

January 21, 2015 - 5:00 pm

Givonna Joseph - Rachel,
I am SO happy that you are doing this! I would love to sit down and talk to you. I am sure Aria would too! Let’s tget together.
I think the first thing is to help all parents become aware of their subconscious cues, the things that come out in their body language and facial expressions that children pick up no matter what you say to them. This requires conversation to really describe to you.
Secondly I think parents of any race should be better informed of who we are and have been as a people in this country. That is one of the missions of OperaCréole.. Through our performances of the classical and operatic works of free people of color from the 18th century on up, we begin to change the narrative a bit. The history of free composers in 19th century New Orleans often bring people to tears in our concerts!
They don’t know us outside of slavery, and welfare. This is helped by the fact that media rarely tells a positive news story. It’s hard to combat bring bombarded with images of criminals, but we must.
Thirdly: They should teach their children to see color.. In all it’s glory!!!
You know, that story of Tin in the doctors office still weights in my heart. You should tell that in your book

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