Z: No school tomorrow!
CBHM: That's right. Do you remember why it's a holiday?
Z: Yeah, the man who gave the big speech, it's his birthday, right?
CBHM: That's right, it's the day we celebrate all he did for our country.
Z: Does he live in a castle?
Z: Martin Luther's king.
CBHM: No, sweetheart, he wasn't a king, "King" was his last name. Martin Luther KING. It's Martin Luther King's birthday that we are celebrating tomorrow.
Z: Oh. Do we get birthday cake?
Z: What kind of holiday is it?
I have no idea how to talk to my kid about race. So I haven't really. I figured I would shelter her from difficult topics like this until they came up on their own. I thought that was the best way to handle it.
But then last fall, I read this article in Newsweek, which is actually an except from the book "Nurtureshock" by Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman. In the article, the authors make the case for talking openly with your children about race. They present us with studies showing babies as young as six months notice differences in skin color. Children as young as three start to categorize people based on skin color. Children as young as six already have ingrained assumptions about people based on the color of their skin, even, or possibly especially, when their parents haven't talked to them at all about race.
The authors label the usual, vague "every one's equal" pronouncements as ineffective. So what's a liberal, white, clueless but hopeful mama to do?
How DO you talk to your kids about race?
How do YOU talk to your kids about race?