Raising Anti-Racist Children: Special Tips for Immigrant Families

Mudita Rastogi, PhD and Bahareh Sahebi, PsyD

 

July 2020

 

HERE’S THE WHY….

 

Around the globe there is an urgency and growing awareness on the importance of embracing an anti-racist stance in our lives and communities. Mudita and Bahareh believe that a pro-social justice approach and anti-racist learning begins at home. Some immigrant families include their children early in their journey of reflection and self-awareness. Others are moved forward by the needs and ideas of their children. This list gives us many ways to incorporate anti-racist thinking and actions in our daily lives. We hope you will find that at least a few of these suggestions speak to you and your family. 

 

This post is a work in progress. We will keep adding to it and updating it with additional resources. Whether you are an accidental visitor to this website, or a parent who was searching for specific resources, we welcome you to join this critical conversation. 

 

Feel free to write back to us at muditarastogi@hotmail.com and sahebi.bahareh@gmail.com

HOW TO BECOME AN ANTI-RACIST FAMILY….

  1. Parents need to begin with self-reflection. Read. Join progressive support groups. Become an ally. Explore your implicit biases. Speak up.

  2. Help your children understand what it means to be an immigrant and a minority. Use empowering language. Foster pride in their origins and ethnicity while remaining balanced and curious in their views about global cultural differences. 

  3. Find a balance between valuing your own culture/language/religion vs. believing that your community “is the best.” Avoid limiting your interactions ONLY to people who are just like you. 

  4. Discuss race and colorism. Talk about culture, ethnicity, and social class. Citizenship. And the differences between these. 

  5. Acknowledge the differences around us with tolerance, including religion, ability, social class, sexual orientation, language, body size, dialect, gender identity, etc. 

  6. Talk to your children daily about consciousness raising topics like BLM, ICE, and immigration. Depending on their age, use developmentally appropriate themes like fairness, kindness, human rights, ethics, morals, etc.

  7. Acknowledge oppression within your own community. It could be based on skin color, social class, caste, region of origin, etc. 

  8. Broaden your circle of friends. Interact with people from many backgrounds. 

  9. Encourage children to befriend a diverse group of classmates and neighbors. Invite them over and encourage ongoing relationships beyond interactions at school.

  10. Organize cultural and advocacy experiences for your family. Research venues like the Holocaust museum, Native American center, Bahai temple. Join or organize a protest march. Donate to a civil rights group and take time to learn and discuss their mission. 

  11. Read anti-racist books as a family and discuss them. Your local library will be a great resource. Do not hesitate to reach out and ask the librarian for their top picks.

  12. Watch movies from many cultures/languages that are thought provoking. Discuss them over dinner. 

  13. Travel is a great eye-opener. When traveling, don’t limit yourself to beaches and all-inclusive resorts. Go to the “real” part of town. Do local activities and try to talk to average people about their lives. 

  14. During the pandemic when traveling may be limited at best, plan a stay home dinner and virtual travel day where you can learn about the migration history and politics of a place that interests you. Try new recipes from a country or region of the world and watch related travel documentaries together. Make it a fun day of activities filled with music, food, movies, and readings. 

  15. Encourage your children to do school projects on themes related to anti-racism. Any school subject can focus on this topic (bio, math, social studies). 

  16. Expose your children to role models from all walks of life who are BIPOC. 

  17. Ask the teachers, the school district, and the PTA to invest in ongoing anti-racist trainings for school staff, as well as speakers for kids’ events. 

  18. Encourage the use of anti-racist language at home. For example, discuss the origins of terms like “blacklist”, “Indian summer” and “rule of thumb.” Make learning fun and engaging. 

  19. Do not allow racist, sexist, homophobic jokes to be tolerated or repeated at home or outside. 

  20. Be an ally. Speak up on social media, with friends, at work. Model this behavior to your children. 

  21. Teach your kids to name racism when they see it and learn how to assert themselves.   

  22. Teach your kids to stay safe and assess situations where they could be harmed. 


 

Resources:


Free Resources for Supporting Antiracist Education

https://booksforlittles.com/racial-diversity/?fbclid=IwAR39vJQQyCnHfhF0m66o67GnGgR9BuWclmDQJXBQuUwznf1-YxaZxSzM_l4

https://booksforlittles.com/immigrants-belong-here/