This is the time to talk to your children about race, gender, immigration and Donald Trump.
When my daughter was born it was 2008, Obama had just been elected president. I thought it was so amazing that the only America my daughter would know was an America run by a black man.
The next year my son was born, and for the last 8 and 7 years of their lives, they’ve only ever known Obama as president. My sweet, black children have only ever known that black folks can do anything, including running the country that was built around racism. I thought this was a pretty magical way to grow up, knowing and believing that anything you want to do is possible.
In our home, we talk about race often. We talk about mom’s experience versus their dad’s experience as a white man. We talk about what it’s like to be in a predominantly white school, and why we have to seek out spaces that encourage and give room for us to be black. We talk about every black child, man, woman, person who has been killed by the police, and why we must dismantle this financed group of thugs.
Dismantling patriarchy and racism is apart of our daily lives. I organize multiple groups specifically for black folks and meetups for white folks to be able to learn more about how to be supportive of people of color. Most of my writing is centered around race and gender since it intersects so much with my personal life.
This idea of racism is not new to my children. They do not hold the same in trust in America that I did as a child, nor the way that a lot of adults do. They are skeptical, but hopeful. Cautious, but loving. I am proud of both of them.
Ever since the musical Hamilton came out, my son has taken an interest in American History, and particularly in American politics. It’s been really fun to watch him collect books about the presidents and share that information with us. He’s been so proud of Obama and has committed to running for president when he’s thirty-six because that’s the youngest you can be to run.
It was perfect timing that he would find interest in the politics of America during an election run. While his sister supported Bernie, my son supported Hillary. He wanted to see a woman as president because he said women can do anything men can do.
While I didn’t support Hillary, I loved watching my kids have discussions about who would be the best person to lead our country. My daughter was concerned that Hillary and Trump didn’t care about the lives of black people, and my son said he couldn’t really make an informed comment on whether or not she did care about black lives.
During this whole election cycle, they’ve been pretty invested and excited about what would happen. My son even got to fill out the box on my partner’s ballot, for Hillary, and it was his proudest moment.
So I hoped for his sake, and for my daughter’s sake, that Hillary would be the one to win. I hoped that the racism I had experienced — and was aware of — in America, wouldn’t rear its ugly head.
But, on Tuesday evening, I watched Donald Trump’s electoral lead broadened over Clinton, as state after state lite up red. Part of me thought that it was impossible, while another part of me was thinking “Everything I’ve come to understand about America is showing itself obviously tonight.”
I was a little angry at everyone who was shouting that this was EVERYONE else’s fault but theirs. In reality, it was all of our faults. It was our fault for supporting capitalism which is fueled by systematic racism. And that is exactly what I will be telling my children.
We won’t just talk about what having Trump as a president will be like, but also about the people who voted him into office. The majority of our country would rather see a racist, misogynistic, homophobic, piece of shit take on the role of president, than anyone else.
No, my children will hear the truth.
I will not sugarcoat it for them because brown children do not get the luxury of simply believing in a “better world where everyone will get along and be equal.” I’ve already had plenty of conversations with my brown children about the realities of being brown in white spaces. So while this won’t come as a shock, this will be a good reminder to them of the realities that we face. That the work we’ve already been putting in, will continue.
This isn’t a time to stand defeated, this is a shake up of our whole country, something that was bound to happen no matter what.I am proud of my children for speaking up, for understanding and grasping the realities of being a person of color in America. I’m proud of them for not being afraid, but standing taller and even more proud than before. Sometimes my heart breaks that their reality is vastly different from their white peers, but then I watch them talk about their blackness, about what they love about America, what they want to change, what they want to do, and I can’t be that sad.
I am proud of my children for speaking up, for understanding and grasping the realities of being a person of color in America. I’m proud of them for not being afraid, but standing taller and even more proud than before. Sometimes my heart breaks that their reality is vastly different from their white peers, but then I watch them talk about their blackness, about what they love about America, what they want to change, what they want to do, and I can’t be that sad.
I encourage parents to talk to their children about race. About gender. About immigrants. Talk about all of it. Don’t shy away from it, or point fingers at anyone. Do the work that is needed. If my 6 and 7-year-old can sit with adults and talk about these issues, so can you.