If you’re black, brown, color of any kind then you’ve probably talked to your children about race already. It is part of living, but I think it’s something that is uncomfortable for white people to address, or figure out how to talk about, or something forever postponed to be taught by a teacher.
Am I generalizing? Of course. This picture book, Let’s Talk About Race by Julius Lester, provides an excellent framework for having that conversation, not only what race is and means, but also that there’s more to a person beyond that.
Just as I am a story and you are a story
and countries tell stories
about themselves, race is a story, too.
Whether you’re black like me or Asian, Hispanic
or white, each race has a story about itself.
And that story is almost always the same:
“MY RACE IS BETTER THAN YOUR RACE.”
Some stories are true. Some are not.
Those who say
“MY RACE IS BETTER THAN YOUR RACE”
are telling a story that is not true.
I’m having a hard time holding myself accountable to the kind of person I want my children to be. I’m very angry and frustrated with the political climate and feel like every new appointment is a slap in the face. The message in this book is one of empathy and peace.
Do I look at you and think I know your story
when I don’t even know your name?
Or, do I look at you and wonder:
What’s your name?
When were you born?
Where were you born?
Where do you live?
What do you like?
What don’t you like?
Gee, maybe we like and dislike
some of the same things.