Do you want to be part of the solution to the inequity that exists in our country? If so, one of the best things you can do is raise your child to be anti-racist. Join our conversation with Tiffany Jewell, the author of the #1 New York Times bestseller, This Book is Anti-Racist and The Anti-Racist Kid.
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Dawn Davenport 0:00
Welcome everyone to create your family. Talk about foster adoptive and kinship care. I'm Dawn Davenport. I'm the host of this show, obviously, as well as the director of creating a family.org. Today, we're going to be talking about raising an antiracist child, we will be talking with Tiffany Jewel. She is a black biracial writer and an anti bias anti racist educator and consultant. She is the author of a number one New York Times bestseller, which is called this book is anti racist, as well as the anti racist kids book, which is now out in paperback. And everyone makes sure you listen to the end, because we're going to be giving some practical tips at the end. And who doesn't love practical tips? Well, Tiffany, thank you so much for being with us. I have enjoyed both of your books. And the four tips for raising an anti racist child that Creating a Family did a couple of years ago, we utilized or I think it was this book is anti racist that we included in our resources. However, I have since read the anti racist kid book and loved it. So thank you, thank you for the work you do in this area.
Speaker 2 1:13
Oh, no, you're so welcome. And thank you for having me here. This is very exciting. I love talking about raising children, my own children and all the other children I've worked with. So this is such an honor. Thank
Dawn Davenport 1:23
you. We're a match made in heaven, because I love talking about raising kids. I really do both my own and other people's. So yeah. So yeah, we're gonna have fun. All right. So you know, I think most people would say, or let's hope most people would say that they want to raise an anti racist child. But honestly, the saying is a whole lot easier than the doing. So I think that's important at the outset that it takes more than just words. So I want to start by, I think people don't realize, I mean, we want to believe that children are an asset that they see people as people. So at what age do kids notice race,
Speaker 2 2:01
they notice it almost immediately, right. And a good part of the reason is because we're humans and young children kind of categorize things based on like size and shape and color. And so young children, babies as young as three to six months notice the differentiation in skin tone with adults in their lives. They're so used to seeing their caregivers and their family members and the people that they're close with. And a lot of times at the earliest stages of life, it's your family, so people who look like you. And as they get older, it becomes even more like obvious at the differences of people as they go out into the world. And you know, children, as young as babies notice it. And then when they become about three, they really start to absorb those stereotypes and biases and prejudices that the adults in their lives have, and that we just kind of impart on to them, whether we're doing it intentionally or not. So really, like children are like never too young to notice these differences.
Dawn Davenport 3:08
But honestly, I suspect nowadays, most people would say I'm not imparting any prejudice to my child. And I don't have any prejudice. I'm not imparting the prejudice. How are the some of the ways that we inadvertently this society that our children are being raised in both their families, their schools, everywhere we go, how might that impart that there is a superiority based on the color of your skin?
Speaker 2 3:33
Yeah, it goes from which bank teller We choose to go to the bank? You know, oftentimes, people will choose the bank teller who looks more like them, to the doctors, we choose, are we choosing white doctors? are we choosing doctors of the global majority to the TV shows that we watch with our children? Like, who are the main characters? What do they look like, to the books that we have in the house to the schools that we you know, if we have a choice to send our kids to certain schools, how are we making that choice, and so, like, we may not be actively prejudice, and discriminating against folks. But then we have those biases that we may not even be totally aware of. And they're just a part of our every day with our children, whether we want them to be or not. So we have to as adults, we have to, like actively become aware of them and undo them. And so for me, it's like, when I do something, like say, it's like, I went to the bookstore, and all the books that we bought were by white authors featuring white children, and then I come home, and I look at them, and I'm like to make kids like, oh my gosh, like, I'm so sorry. Like, this doesn't reflect the world around us or our neighborhood. And I just purchased these books or got these books in the library without even thinking about who wrote them and who they're about and that wasn't okay. So it's okay to like, admit those mistakes to our kids too, because they'll be like, oh, yeah, you're right, Mama. Let's go get some different books. And it's like not a big deal for them, right? They're just like, oh, yeah, adults make mistakes, too.
Dawn Davenport 5:04
I should add that you had said that, for the most part, children, who they are looking at in their earliest years look like them earliest months look like them in our audience. In fact, we have a lot of people who have adopted translationally. So in fact, those children probably are not looking at a parent who looks like them. Right? Yeah. Have you seen any research or anything that you have seen in your work? That the child's race does not reflect the parents race impacts? How Children know this race?
Speaker 2 5:35
Absolutely. So I have not done a lot of research on this, because this is not my area of expertise. But I think of Dr. Beverly, Daniel Tatum, spokes, why are all the black children sitting together in the cafeteria, and she has a whole chapter on transracial adoption, and I think of the all the students I've taught in the years, and how young children who are trans racially adopted often see themselves like the caregivers and the families that they live in. And so they may not reflect the same person, you know, I know a family I'm thinking of in particular, and the little girl is four or five, and she's black, and her mom is white. And the other day, she said to her mom, like, I want a black mom, you know, and like, totally valid, I want somebody who looks like me in our house. And her mom was like, not upset about it. She's like, Yeah, I want that for you, too. They're doing a lot of work around like her get her daycare preschool where she goes to is black woman owned and run. And like, for children who don't see themselves in their family every day, like it's even extra, like work that we have to do as adults to not just make sure that we have books, where the characters look like the children, but also like having them be in community with people who look and are like them. And so like we as adults have to kind of go out of our comfort zone, you know, like, we're doing the best we can for our kiddos. And we have to think a little more about how we're going to, if my child doesn't look like me, and the the culture that they've come from is different. How can I share that culture? And people who look different from me? Who look more like my child? How can I share that with them in an authentic way, and not just a way where I'm taking from the community, from, you know, black educators or the Asian community? How do I not take away and just become like a part of the community. So it's a whole like other level of thinking that we have to do.
Dawn Davenport 7:35
I would say, though, that I believe this topic, this topic is not intended or the show is not intended for simply transracial adoptive parents, right. This show is intended for all parents, regardless of whether they are translationally adopted, whether the parents are black, or the parents are white. I think that this is a show for everyone. Yeah, ugly, as well as your books are for everyone.
Speaker 2 8:00
Yeah, that's what I'm trying for. As we're all we're all in this together, you know, like, we're all in a society where racism exist. We're all in a society where families are not what they looked like on TV in the 1950s. You know, like, we're all in these communities together. And so the more we can grow and learn about and from each other, the stronger we are as a community, which in turn like, is the best thing ever for our children.
Dawn Davenport 8:31
Exactly. It's the best thing ever for our country. For our kids. It's just Yeah, it's good across the board. It's just good. Okay, we will often hear people say, I don't want to teach my kids about race, because we're colorblind, we, as a family, we don't notice race. And we shouldn't notice race, because people are all the same. If you peel back, you know, regardless of the outside skin, everybody bleeds red. So what's wrong with that approach? Or is there anything wrong with that approach?
Speaker 2 9:03
So like, we do have like skin and bones, everybody has that. And our outsides are totally different. We have different skin color, you know, and it's because of where our ancestors come from because of the melanin that we needed. I grew up in the 80s, where it was like we're all colorblind. And that didn't really work for me, and it didn't work for anybody else. And we see like now as adults were like struggling to like learn more about identity and how, how to talk about our differences. And one of my favorite pieces and the anti racist kid was talking about how our differences are really important and a really good thing. And in a colorblind society, when we're kind of pushing the notion that everybody is the same like that sounds beautiful, right? But it's not the reality. And so, oftentimes the default of a colorblind society too is like the white A dominant society. And we're not seeing all of the things that make us unique and individuals, and we're not seeing. If you're ascribing to colorblindness, you're not seeing not just who the person is, and the struggles and the challenges and the advantages that they have in life, you're not seeing their traditions and cultures, you're not seeing their ancestors, like, there's so much we're missing. And it's really, actually quite demeaning to just be like, Oh, I don't see your color. And you're like, Well, what do you see? What do you see that? Like? Do you not see that I'm standing here in front of you?
Dawn Davenport 10:37
I think people mean it to say, all people are equal, right? But they're not what our society doesn't treat them that way. Right? Would it be fair to say that when we send our kids out and tell them, that race doesn't matter, that the little black child they're sitting next to on the school bus doesn't have that experience? Right? Because she sees that in her world, she notices that people are treating her different. And so she would feel so alone by that approach,
Speaker 2 11:07
right. And because children notice these things, right, they noticed those differences, they noticed and fairness, and injustice. So clearly, like I am raising children who walk through the world as white, and my white children are like very attuned to like kids being treated unfairly and unjustly, based on their skin tones and their skin colors, because we talk
Dawn Davenport 11:30
about race, because you're talking about all the time, like,
Speaker 2 11:33
since before they could talk we were talking about it, because like I really want my children to not walk through the world with like blinders on and looking through like a single lens, I want them to see the beauty and the expansiveness of the world, which means that you have to like, be tuned into the reality. And you have to know that everybody is different, we have different skin tones and why our skin tones are different and why they change too, right? Like, if you have a black mom and a white dad, like the skin tone of the family will change. But we also want children to know that injustice exists because they see it. But they don't always have the language to talk about it. And if we don't talk about it, they create all of these like, myths, truths and their own imaginary stories that aren't based in facts, in reality, because they they need to know why there's a difference.
Dawn Davenport 12:34
Well, they may also internalize it, they internalize the superiority. The subtle the our family doesn't see color. Our family thinks all people are equal. But we prefer going to the white bank teller, we live in an all white area, our pediatrician is white. I mean, just all of those things. If we don't bring it out and talk exactly. Hey, guys, we need your help. I know I say that about other things. But I specifically need we need your help. We need your help right now, in deciding on which topics we should be covering for the rest of this year. But it's specifically for 2024. We have a topic calendar that we work on in the fall. So I would love to have your suggestions, you can send us an email and share your thoughts, send it to info at creating a family.org and just say something in the array line about topics to cover on the podcast or something along those lines. So please check it out, please send us this information at info at creating a family.org. So what's the difference? I think most people hopefully again, I would say hopefully, most people would say I'm not a racist. I don't believe that because you're darker skin than me that I'm better than you. I don't believe that I am not a racist. And I think that has colored some of the polarization that I feel it's in our country. It's a whole nother topic. But some people feel like they're being accused of being something that they find offensive. They don't want to be thought of as racist or whatever. There's many things that I think are polarizing, but certainly racist one of them. But how do we address that? So somebody says, Look, I'm not a racist, but what's the difference between being not a racist and being anti racist? Yeah.
Speaker 2 14:25
And there is a difference. And I always think of like we as humans and people, we have prejudices and biases, and if how we act on them, right, whether we do or not, but there's also another level where we live in a society where people with different skin colors have advantages and disadvantages. We have systems in place and institutions that misuse and abuse of power, where some folks with light skin and European ancestry and who are white have greater advantages than people who have darker skin. I mean, just looking at history, we can see this over and over again. And so to like, being not racist, like, okay, that's fine. And it's not an active thing, like you're just sitting there being like, well, it's not me, and it's very individualistic way of looking at things. But when we're talking about anti racism, it's actively undoing those systems of oppression that have been in place, it's actively working on not just yourself, but with your community, to ensure that we can get to a place of freedom and equity and justice, because anti racism is actually I think sometimes the word anti, you know, that like prefix turns folks off. But in this case, it's a really good thing.
Dawn Davenport 15:40
When you're anti something that is bad, it is good, hey, it's a double negative or something.
Speaker 2 15:45
Right. And we'd love to double negatives as kids, like, I remember learning about negative numbers. And in this situation, like anti racism is beautiful, and it's good. And it's not just something that you personally will work on. But like a whole community in a society can work on together, while being not racist is just like us sitting in your house, making sure you're not actively discriminating against somebody, which is a very different kind of thing.
Dawn Davenport 16:13
It's a good first step, but we certainly want you to Yeah, it's the essential first step. Yeah. As I read it, what we're being asked to do is go beyond that first step.
Speaker 2 16:26
We need to go beyond ourselves. Because we're community members, there's a whole society that we're a part of, and we interact with people and institutions on a daily basis. You know, I think, if you have children who go to school, and the curriculum doesn't reflect all the children, say something. And it's not just around like race, I think of my own child, who had when he was six, like his password on a field trip, and one of his friends, who's in a wheelchair did not get to go on the bus and had to go in a different vehicle. And my kid was really upset by that. And he was like, there are buses, where wheelchairs can go on, why didn't he get to ride in line? And so I was like, Well, what, what do you want to do? And so he like, wrote to the principal, and we talked with her, and he was like, you know, every kid in school should be able to ride on the same school bus
Dawn Davenport 17:15
on a field trip, because we all know, most of the fun is on the bus ride to and from
Speaker 2 17:18
exactly, your friends. And if we're a school that's trying to be inclusive, why are we like having this very exclusive moment where all the kids are seeing this kid being actively excluded. And so it's really like, that maybe isn't an anti racist act, but it is an act to ensure that there's equity and justice. So in the end, it is going to better our society, and our kids are seeing these things. And so we as adults, like have to move beyond that just like well, I'm comfortable being not racist, like the next step is to like actively do stuff.
Dawn Davenport 17:53
Yes. Yeah. Okay, got it. So is there a difference between how a white parent and a black parent should approach raising an anti racist child? I think we want to say that there are no prejudices. I mean, that we want to think that oh, well, you know, if you're black, and you've had all the discrimination against you, both historic as well as active and systemic, as well as personal, that you wouldn't be raising a racist child. But it can cut both ways. I've talked with black families who have adopted white kids. And one of the things they had to address, at least a couple of people just said, it took them by surprise, that all of a sudden, they realized how they spoke internally, about my parents or white families are white people. So is there a difference though? And we're talking to us? We're not talking Africa here. So is there a difference between how a white parent and a black parent should approach raising an anti racist child,
Speaker 2 18:50
so I have trouble like speaking for, like what folks should do, but there is a difference. And I think too, of like, how I was raised as a black biracial person was different, how I'm raising my kids who walk through the world as white. And part of that is like, the world we live in and time, you know, 30 years is a good chunk of time for things to change. And knowing like how black folks and Asian folks and Latinate folks are raising their children, like we're going to raise the children that we live with, to walk through the world differently. So for me, raising children who are white cisgender boys, a big part of that is not just getting them to notice the injustice, but to also not take up so much space to also like make sure they're being inclusive whenever there are moments of exclusivity, to make sure that they are speaking up, whether it's to their teachers, or other students are telling me or their Papa, but like letting folks know When injustice arise, arises when it confronts them and when it's there, and to not just like be sorry. Silent witnesses who are just like taking it in and doing nothing. And if I were raising children who walked through the world as black or black biracial, I would raise them a little differently. I always encourage children in the global majority, like take up space talk, first, walk through the world, because it's yours, and you own it. And yes, like, you have to be careful in places and situations. But when I'm here, I'm going to let you take as much space as you need, because it's yours. And you've been asked to be silent and small and quiet for so long, or people look at you a different way. Because you are running around the playground and being loud when that white child's doing the same thing. And it's okay, like, we shouldn't have these double standards for children. And so someone who's raising white boys also being like, not just like, you don't have to take up space, but like, you don't always have to be the first one to talk. You can like, let other kids talk first. Or if you notice, your white friends are like always jumping to answer like, slow them down a little bit. And this goes for like neuro divergence, too. Like we all process differently. But also like, who's the teacher going to call on like, what do you notice? But as your teacher call out more? What do you notice about how people react to your friends who are darker on the playground? To the teachers call their name more? gets sent out of the classroom? And what can you do to kind of undo that for the friends in your lives to?
Dawn Davenport 21:27
That makes perfect sense to me? Yeah, thank you. I hope you're enjoying the show. I know I am. This is a topic that I need to learn more about myself, and I'm truly enjoying it. I also want to tell you about some free courses that we have at creating a family to help you be the best parent you can be to your child. Our partners, the jockey being Family Foundation, is supported this and allows us to bring you these 12 courses for free. You can check them out at Bitly slash J B F support. That's bi T dot L Y, slash all one word run together, J B F support and tell a friend about him as well. All right, yeah, we've come to the practical tip section, which is always my favorite. I'm just a person who really, I can absorb things theoretically. But where I find empowerment is when I'm given practical ideas. All right, so let's share some practical tips for parents when they're raising, raising their child regardless of if they're white or black parents.
Speaker 2 22:36
One of the things I love that my friend Britt Hawthorne, who wrote the book raising anti racist children practical parenting guide, I love her book, too. I have a piece in it. But it's also like 15 different caregivers are sharing. But one thing she's always reminded me of in working with kids and raising kids, is that we need to make sure we are system blaming and not people blaming.
Dawn Davenport 23:00
Oh, that's such an interesting way to say that. I like that. And then beautiful. Yeah,
Speaker 2 23:03
she had a beautiful story about like, just noticing how the sidewalk in a neighborhood was all cracked and crumbling and made it hard to walk on. And she was talking to her, her son about it. And, you know, we could be like, oh, people aren't taking care of it. But instead, it's like, well, let's, let's figure out what department in the city takes care of this, and call them and let them know, like the sidewalk is crap. So the city can fix it. Like this is an institution that takes care, like the Department of Transportation or infrastructure. And so it's doing those little things. So when you have like, I think of like, there's so many stereotypes around people who are unhoused, right, and often lies on them, like, like, they don't want to get a job or they're lazy or something. But really talking to our kids about the inequity in housing and mental health care. There's so many different avenues we can go to that I'm really just like humanizing people, and really putting the onus on the systems that are supposed to take care of us that aren't. And that has been like one of the most practical things that we've done as parents as caregivers, whenever it comes to our kids having questions about the world around them, or sharing stereotypes that they've internalized, or whatever it is,
Dawn Davenport 24:23
yeah, an example. I'm thinking about your son and his friend in a wheelchair not being able to attend. There's a reason for that. And the reason is that those buses cost money it would require getting a new bus and that means there would be decisions that would have to make if we spend the money on this we don't have the money for something else. And what a great learning opportunity. Maybe what it is, is doing a fundraiser, right? You know, not that a child you know, lemonade stands gonna raise enough however it raises awareness. Yep, you might raise awareness for others in the school who can raise more than just lemonade First. And that's a way of not blaming that the principal just doesn't care about this child, to the fact that there is actually a reason why we don't have this bus. Yeah, when this bus was bought, either they were too expensive. Or maybe they weren't very good at that time. Or maybe people just overlooked, you know? Yeah, all of those possibilities.
Speaker 2 25:21
Yeah. And to do that work and, or when I work in schools, we'll talk a lot about climate justice or racial justice, like all of these things. And one of the things I always try to do for young folks, as an adult, I have more power because we live in a society where children are not bestowed with like the power that adults are just like, off the bat. And so it's like giving up that power and being like, oh, what can I do for you? What do you need from me? Or, hey, you know, our school needs solar panels, the other schools got them and ours didn't? Who do we need to talk to? Let's invite the mayor to the school, I can do that for you. So it's also looking at where the power is, and how to like redistribute that a little bit. My favorite question to kids anytime. It's like, what do you need for me? Because they're incredible problem solvers much better than I am, because I get like stuck in the weeds. And so if they're like, well, we need you to contact this person. I can do that. Yeah, no, that's also like a very practical things like just give up a little power here. And there.
Dawn Davenport 26:23
We talk a lot about collaborative problem solving. And that's an example of collaborative problem solving. You know, it feels to me that our country has gone backwards, I think it's probably an unnecessary step in order to take the next step forward. But it feels like now any conversation about race is avoided. I mean, I think it's avoided between adults, and particularly adults of other races, but even adults of the same race. I can't speak for black people, but I can speak for white people, and I certainly are, or at least my circle, people are afraid of those conversations, because they're afraid that they're going to make a mistake, and say something. And I do think that's a step backwards. Like I said, probably unnecessary step, but nonetheless, a step backwards. But I see it in families, too, that parents are avoiding conversations about race, because they don't know what to say, with conversations between adults, I think there is more of the fear that they're going to, you know, open their mouth and say something, and they're going to be canceled, or they're gonna hurt somebody's feelings. They're gonna say something wrong. Yeah, within families. I think it's just that parents don't know what to say. So they avoid the conversation about race. Right. So we're on the practical tips section. I guess the tip is, don't shy away from conversations about race. But within the family, let's say the family is not a transracial. A families Okay, say that it is white parents and white kids. How do you start the conversation as a parent? Or how do you make opportunities, which I always think in terms of look for the opportunities for having the conversation? So how, what are some of the opportunities? How do you raise the subject about race? Yeah, because it's,
Speaker 2 28:02
it's going to be messy. It's messy, it's messy, and like, we have to start somewhere and be able to admit that to your child to like I made a mistake or like, this is new to me. But for caregivers, I always encourage folks to understand who they are first and specially for white folks, it's Leila sods book me in white supremacy. She also has a young adult version, which is like, even more accessible, and has a lot of great language and vocabulary. So white folks, in particular, folks who are light or not black, can feel confident in talking about race. And so I love that book and will recommend it like all the time, but for kids, you know, it's just pointing out when something is unfair and unjust or letting them do it because they notice that way better than we do. And then talking about it and inquiring like why do you think that is, and calling them out if they're sharing mistruths or a stereotype and be like, well, actually, that's not accurate. You know, and you can go into history. It depends on the age. There are so many books out now about skin color, and anti racist positive books you want to with young children, especially you want to be really affirming, and give them the language to talk about their own identities. It's so important. And that's why like in the anti racist kid, the first section is all about identity and understanding who you are in talking about who you are, and exploring that. And children are very aware of who they are, what they look like, what they like to do who they are, but they don't always have the language and so sharing that with them, and letting them do that work of like, I don't want to say labeling but it's what I'm gonna do like labeling themselves, right, like giving them the power to identify who they are and not just being like, well, you You are a boy and you are white. And this is like you but being like, here's, here's what people like you call themselves like, here's the language that we use as a family, and being very open to it shifting and changing. Because kids are like super dynamic, maybe even more so than us adults.
Dawn Davenport 30:20
They're trying things out. Absolutely. It's part of child development, they should be exactly,
Speaker 2 30:24
exactly. And it's really beautiful. And it's also as an adult, as a caregiver, you're just like, Wait, what is going, but no, they're going to be okay. And the more they get to explore like that, you know, we think we always let toddlers explore out in the world and touch the grass, and they'll eat the clovers and they get dirty. And it's like the same thing with language and identity. And so we have to be able to give her children opportunities to explore. And it's also okay, if our children's identities are totally different from our own, you know, like, we may look the same, but then the things they like, and they love and they care about are going to be totally different, too. And that's okay. You know, I think of like, in the 80s, and 90s, white folks are calling themselves Caucasian, and now it's white. And so like, just the language we use changes, or for me as a black biracial person, you know, when I was young, it was like, mixed, or, you know, language changes, and to not impart all of that onto our children to like, I don't say to my kids like, Well, when I was your age, I just called myself and other because then like, they're like, well, maybe I should, too. Yeah, yeah. And so really like living in that now moment with our children too, and not getting so hung up on what our past like what we called ourselves in the past.
Dawn Davenport 31:43
I don't hear people getting hung up on that as much as they used to. But I certainly remember when people were, well, everything's changing. Is it African American? Is it black? Right? One thing we could teach our kids is that doesn't matter. If somebody asks to be called something, you call them, that doesn't matter. They get to identify if somebody's name is Peter, you don't call them Pete without saying, Do you have a nickname? That's Pete? Right. And they say no, but that like it or? No, I'm not a Pete. Yeah. As one of my daughters was called a nickname. That was a very common nickname. She was she her name is not Katie. But it was a common nickname. And she was like, I'm not a Katy. I mean, just know what I mean. Because Katie was the most common name in her school. There was already three of us in the class. It was like, okay, yeah. And she was like, no, no, don't do that. Unfortunately, she was saying it to her grandparents, but still. Yeah. And
Speaker 2 32:37
that's the thing that we as adults can do is just honor our children, like, what do you want to be called? What are the pronouns you're choosing? Like? How do you identify like really honoring that and using their language, when we talk about them to is so important, and letting them know like, this is new for me. So I might make a mistake, and you can call me out on it, whenever I do, can be really just like will help them to feel whole. And to know that they can trust us to.
Dawn Davenport 33:10
I am so proud of a resource that creating a family created several years ago, it is a curriculum. And of course, it's for foster adoptive and kinship families, since those are the people we serve. But it is an interactive training or support group curriculum. We have 25 topics in the library. Each of the curriculum comes with a video, a facilitator guide, a handout, and then an additional resource sheet. It is absolutely terrific. It can use it as a training for foster adoptive or kin families, or if you're running a support group. It provides the skill building component. It can be done online or in person. And it's interactive. We pause the video into three parts and discuss each part afterwards. It's really terrific. So you can check it out by going to our website. And our website is creating a family.org and hover over training and click on Support Group curriculum. Facts. Okay, we've cut now to one of my favorite topics. I love, love, love children's literature. And I think it is one of the most powerful ways that in any, any topic, any subject. But today we're talking about race, and I think it is one of the most powerful ways so one of the things that I want all of our listeners to do is take a look at their collection of children's books, or if they are a family that doesn't buy books, then a collection of when they go to the library, what they get. And what we're wanting to see or what I would want you to see is that you have a wide variety of voices and colors and I'm going to name a couple of specific things that you should be looking for. One you want to have Some of your books have black main characters that are positive, the hero, the kid who saves the other kid, the kid who's kind to the dog, or whatever, you want to have it regardless if your child is black or white, you still want to have diversity, you want to have Asian Latinx, East Indian indigenous main characters, and show these characters. In everyday life. The book doesn't always have to be about race, it could just be, you know, a kid going to school and being afraid to ride the school bus and getting over it. Another thing to look for is black and white kids who are crossing the racial divide and showing positive interaction across differences. And another one is a mix of books that in the past, as well as the present, I think it's good for that, as well as a mix of fiction, and biographies. And indeed, as you had talked earlier, books it specifically talk about racism, or anti racism that needs to be in your mix. And just the last thing I'll throw out is to emphasize authors who share the same racist their characters. I think that's another important thing. Now, those are the things that I think people should look for in books. Let me stop talking and share some things that you think are important about children's literature.
Speaker 2 36:18
I absolutely love it. I think it's so important for you as an adult, but also for the children to be able to do research on the author, right? Like, is this an authentic story? Is the character like reflective of the author? Like do they know who and what they're writing about? I think that's so important. Something like my children, when we go to the library or the bookstore, like they flip to the back of the book, right? And they're like, Who is this author, we're, we're like research on our phone. But also for me, like, I taught for many years in a school that was predominantly white middle class, and my classroom had majority white students. And almost all of the books that we read as read alouds, or that were displayed, were by authors of the global majority, and my students never felt less, or guilty or sad about that they could see themselves in these books, no matter who the authors and the characters were, and could really in ways, and sometimes I would point it out, and sometimes I wouldn't, and I have like very specific, like, I think of the author, Derrick Barnes, who wrote I am every good thing, and crown, an ode to the fresh cut. And his books are so beautiful, and empowering. And he's a black man, and his books feature black children. And there are books that like, I've never met a kid who hasn't liked his book.
Dawn Davenport 37:47
He probably has great illustrations as well, if the
Speaker 2 37:50
striations are incredible. And just the story, like they're super relatable getting a haircut for the first time, right? very relatable for many kids, whether it's cheap up at the barber or your parents doing it in the kitchen
Dawn Davenport 38:04
with a bowl stuck on top of your head, right? You don't even have to always draw attention to it either. Right? Yeah.
Speaker 2 38:10
Yeah. And then for books, too, I also look at when they were written and published, you know, there's so many amazing books that I loved as a kid, but never saw myself in children's books at all. And do I need to like have a whole collection of my favorite books? And when I was a kid, not really not anymore. So what can a supplement? What can change from that, too. So we're reading authors that are very present and have had similar experiences to children who are a lot like living today, or who are kids today. And then it also like, there's a lot of great books that are being independently published, but they don't get the same marketing or show up in bookstores and libraries in the same way. And so that requires some research, but looking at going to like your local independent bookstore and being like, who are some of the local authors, you know, that you love, and asking librarians and bookshop owners for help because they're like very tuned in to like, who's writing books that will meet the needs for your family to
Dawn Davenport 39:15
let me suggest, and by the way, we will be including links to all the resources that we have mentioned in the show notes, but I want to mention three, there are many others so I'm this is in no way an exclusive list. However, we have resources for finding great children's books that focus on all the things that you've mentioned that I mentioned. One is and I will include links to it diverse Bookfinder. Another one is the brown bookshelf. And the other one is the conscious kid. And I think all of those are really good sources for finding diversity in books. And like I said, we'll include the like,
Speaker 2 39:52
yeah, I have more I'll share too like I love the Jane Addams Book Awards for Jane Addams for social justice, peace awards. And they have such a great selection and collection of books that are really beautiful and empowering. And I think on their website, they also have like, how to find specific, you know how to look for books that promote justice and peace.
Dawn Davenport 40:17
Right and you're taking it further mindless will be more focused on race. So you're right, you should take it further. Good point. Yeah. So yeah, if you'll share that with me, I will say in the show notes. I need to do a shout out to hopscotch adoptions. They have been a longtime supporter of creating a family and this podcast, and we so appreciate their support. Hopscotch, adoptions is a Hague accredited international adoption agency, placing children from Armenia, Bulgaria, Croatia, Georgia, Ghana, Guiana, Morocco, Pakistan, Serbia, and Ukraine. I love reading those out. It's just it's melodic to me. They specialize in placement of special needs kids, including kids with Down syndrome. And they also do a lot of kinship adoptions for people who are adopting kin. And these countries, they place kids throughout the US and offer home study services and post adoption services to residents of North Carolina. And you're okay, so we've talked about my favorite subject, which is children's literature, you've alluded to some other things, practical tips for parents, I'll say one, and you'd be thinking of some others. The one you have mentioned earlier, is use professionals of color of the global majority, seek out doctors who are of a different race than your family. Or if you're trans racial family, seek out doctors that share the race of your child, seek out dentist dry cleaners, I mean, it doesn't just stick out professionals. And I have never thought about the bank teller part, mainly because I go through driving. But nonetheless, that's such an interesting point of noticing for yourself if you are automatically getting in the white tellers line, right? It's such an interesting point. I've never thought now I'm going to have to start thinking about the checkout
Speaker 2 42:07
line at the grocery store, right? Or a target or somewhere like who do you go to if you're not doing the self checkout? Whose Line Are you more apt to go to? Is it because it's shorter? Or it's because who's like ringing you up? And just checking with yourself about that? Yeah.
Dawn Davenport 42:22
All right. Any other practical tips you can offer parents? Yeah.
Speaker 2 42:27
So because we're caregivers, and we have like school aged children, I like really encourage you to build a relationship with their teacher. And like, as an educator, that's really like, thing too, and, and post COVID Like schools are still trying to figure out how caregivers and schools can be involved. Again, I know that a lot of schools want family engagement, but aren't sure how to do it anymore. But volunteering to make, you know, to cook with the children to read to the children in the classroom, like become a community member, know who your kids friends are, but also like, so you can become another adult that any kid in the neighborhood can be like, Hi, like, I know you. It's a really fun, beautiful thing I love whenever I'm like at the grocery store at the YMCA, like there's always a kid, I work in a lot of schools, but there's always a kid who's like, Hey, you were in my class, and to have that connection with another adult. You know, I live in a community where a lot of the teachers in our schools are white. And so for kids to be able to have like a black biracial person, or somebody who looks like them is really lovely. We know that schools are school boards and library boards are becoming very contentious. There's a lot of banning, and there's a lot of like, wanting to control. It's it's awful. And it's like incredibly frustrating. But to I go to our school board meetings, they're all like virtual still, but to not just know what's going on but to to be a person who's like negating the negativity, right, like talking about the positive changes that we can make as a community or why it's so important that we aren't banning books about gay kids and trans kids and black kids and Latin kids and Asian kids. So doing that work is really important. And especially for like white folks, like you have a lot of power just in being white alone. And so use that power to and really center our children in what is important for them. And what they need is it's really lovely to to know that like you're actually a part of a community for change in a positive way.
Dawn Davenport 44:40
I second everything you just said yeah. All right. Well, thank you so much Tiffany, jewel for being with us today. I highly recommend the book, the anti racist kid. It is now out in paperback. And I will say that I love the illustrations, the graphics illustrations were I liked them very much. Nicole Maya Most was stranger. I'm very picky about children's literature, as you could probably have guessed. And so when I say that, yeah, I'm very picky about storylines, graphics, the whole thing. So thank you so much for being with us today. I truly appreciate it.
Speaker 2 45:14
It was great. And you know, I feel like we could talk for hours. We will do. We could actually yes. Thank you.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai