How to Talk to your Kids about Racism - KaZa's Response to Recent Events
Like many other businesses, KaZa had to halt its services on March 13th as the country came together to respond to a life-threatening virus. KaZa is now at a crossroads as we relocate our business to 2069 Danforth Avenue (Danforth and Woodbine) and shift our focus to providing individual and family therapy and assessment services.
Amid all these events, we were recently faced with even more uncertainty and upheaval: the recent death of George Floyd in the U.S. becoming the tipping point for people around the world. Once again, we find ourselves coming together to respond to another life-threatening issue for many people in our country; the reality that racism continues to plague the daily lives of many black people in Canada and our communities regardless of socioeconomic status, education, gender, and even age. Where we go from here largely depends on what we choose to do individually and collectively.
As parents, allies, and members of our community who reject racial inequities, you may be left wondering what to do, how, and when to talk to your children about race. Here are 5 suggestions to consider as you embark on this journey:
Start by checking your bias; aligning yourself with racist ideologies does not imply being free of racial biases. We all have the capacity to absorb biases from the world around us.
Get comfortable with being uncomfortable. Talking about racism can feel like unfamiliar territory to many and can make want to focus on distancing yourself from the “bad apples”. Do not let that discourage you from continuing the conversation.
Normalize the conversation. Do not opt for one big talk. In this case, quantity is especially important. Create a space in which your children feel comfortable and safe to bring forth their questions without hesitation.
Action speaks louder than words (so does representation). How diverse is your child’s environment? Does your child have books in which the main character is black? Are the TV shows they watch racially diverse? Do you actively ensure that they have an opportunity to see people of colour in leading positions whenever possible (your family doctor, optician, dentist, sports coaches, etc.)? Watch out for racial stereotypes that they are bombarded with from unfiltered social media outlets.
To help children oppose racial discrimination, teach them to “see colour”. Children will benefit from understanding that, for some, the colour of their skin has created levels of privilege that are a reality in today’s world. Their black peers have to work much harder to be considered for the same basic privileges. Not “seeing colour” is akin to denying their peers’ their daily lived struggles. Everyone benefits from embracing similarities and understanding differences.
While we are currently in transition and not yet available to support you and your families in person, we continue to do so through virtual sessions. Please let us know if we can be of support to you or any of your family members during these challenging times. Stay safe!
Our individual, couple and family therapy practice is moving to 2069 Danforth Avenue (Danforth and Woodbine)