This is How One Staten Island Mom Talks to Her Kids About Race
Natasha D’Anna, creator of Twindollicious, shares how she talks about race, racism, and current events with her children.
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These days, and as a result of the current events, I am sharing more positive insights on the culture and history of Black people. I include our personal family history. I also talk about oppression in the most child-friendly way, explaining about injustice and underserved communities. I am sharing the good actions being done to make the world a better place to live in for everyone, which starts by standing up for our friends.
When we talk about racism, we say it comes from ignorance and that it is a disease. If anyone allows racism and ignorance to affect them for a long period of time, they will become alienated. No one wants to be an alien. This is perhaps the simplest way for a child to remember this lesson.
In our house, we entertain our children with Latin music, as well as classical, rhythm and blues, reggae, and Italian music. When we travel with our children, we go beyond the resorts and into the local neighborhoods. We eat the local food and learn the culture. When learning about art, we discuss Peter Max as well as Romero Brito. When we watch television, which isn’t often, we watch The Wiz and The Wizard of Oz.
Children learn by experiences and by what they see—more so than what they are told or taught to do. In general, if something feels normal, it will be accepted. Our children have dignity, respect for themselves and others; they treat others as they would like to be treated. And they know how to learn from their own experiences.
Main image: Natasha D'Anna with her husband and three children in Rome.
Courtesy Natasha D'Anna