The PAStart Communication Action Series

Racial Equity Toolkit

Black Parents Edition

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  • Black parents interpreting and contextualizing discrimination and racism for their children is a huge source of strength in their development.*
  • Blended and extended Black family structures create “villages” that can support and protect our kids.*
  • Black family reunions build intergenerational knowledge, resilience, relationships, and joy.*
  • Listen. Listen better. Listen more.
  • Your child needs your attention, not your surveillance.
  • Your child needs your belief in them, not your fear.
  • If your fears about racism and policing is causing you to be negative with your child – seek help from Black and Black-centric providers and healers.
  • Name racism as the problem. Not your child’s actions or behavior.
  • Protect your child from state interventions and authorities.
  • Solve issues with resources and support, not punishment and isolation.
  • Find a community of parents who are on the same page with you.
  • Share your understanding and personal experiences of racism.
  • Share your important stories about standing up against racism and protecting yourself.
  • Share great stories in the family or in history about Black resistance and resilience.
  • Take an interest in your child’s pop culture references and language.
  • Help your child pursue their passions and interests.
  • Find a community of parents who are on the same page with you.
  • Challenge the racist structures that impact your child. Pick your battles, but let your children experience your resistance.

Start by helping them to understand white supremacy.

Work with them to develop strategies to protect themselves.

Control and surveillance are tools of white supremacy. Black children need attention, care, and the room to express themselves fully.

Support expressiveness while also providing context for the larger culture’s possible racist reception. It’s crucial for our children to know about white supremacy and the possible ways people in authority may perceive and respond to them due to racism.

Make sure your child understands high stakes interactions around racism. Black children in white majority contexts will encounter racism. Black children interacting with police and social workers will likely encounter surveillance or interrogation. Black children in school settings are more often perceived as ‘behavior problems’ than white peers exhibiting the same behavior. Equip your child for the contexts they enter.

Black mentors are crucial to your child’s development. Find Black-led and Black-organized social, arts, afterschool, and athletic programs. Find programs that are trauma-informed and embrace expression.

White mentors can play an important role in fighting racism. Finding white mentors who are knowledgeable and vocal about fighting racism can provide critical support to teens as they consider how to build constructive interracial friendships.

Your child may not want to talk about racial identity or racism because of traumatic experiences of racist violence. Most Black children have ingested a high level of terroristic, racist violence first-hand or online. Don’t force disclosures about their experiences of racism. Share, observe, listen, be responsive.

Find Black-led trauma-informed programs and therapeutic resources for your child. Our kids are struggling. Develop a list of Black-led, community-based support programs and healing resources that are not police or state-run.

Ignoring racism or creating a “color blind” environment reinforces racism and confuses your child. Ignoring racism or shutting down discussion of racism reinforces racism. Children can see this more clearly than adults. Help them. Denial is harmful.

Racial Equity Communication DOs and DON’Ts

Do review your child’s curriculum with an eye for racism. Don’t ignore racism or create a “color blind” environment that reinforces racism and confuses your child.

START Here

Now that you know, where do you start? Learning these facts is important. But it’s just as crucial to create a plan for an open dialogue and to be mindful of engaging kids with respect. Positive role modeling, compassion and the truth will go a long way to help you start communicating effectively. Use the following steps and resources to start your own Communication Action Plan.

1. If You Can’t Figure Out How to Talk with Your Child About Racism and Racial Justice: Educate Yourself.
  • There are so many resources online, you can educate yourself privately.
  • There are racial justice projects and learning groups you can join.
  • You can find Black-led and Black-centric support groups online and in your area.
2. If You Think Your Child is Struggling with Racial Identity Due to Racism or Exposure to Racist Violence, Create Openings for a Conversation: Look for Your Moment.
  • Refer to Black-led justice activism or high-achieving role models.
  • Provide books that feature Black characters or leaders.
  • Invite friends to dinner and have fun conversation about their amazing lives.
3. You’ve Set the Stage: Now What?
  • Share a story about a new commitment you have made or new learning you are pursuing to challenge yourself and fight racial injustice.
  • Create opportunities for your kids to consider how they fit into the fight for racial justice.
4. Moving Forward: Don’t Stop!
  • Get ready to dig into Black culture and community with your kids.

Taking a stand against racism isn’t always as cut and dried as it seems, but help is out there and available to you. Resources and more are available on the PAStart.org/Racial-Equity . Use our collection of links, videos and tools to create a strategy that will engage and empower you. They’re all designed to help you get started.

Anyone Can Make
The Difference. Anyone.