10 Ways White Parents Can Talk About Race & Racism With Their Kids

Race has been a point of contention in the U.S. since its inception. Parents of black and brown children already understand the importance of instilling a sense of racial identity in their children, and discussing how racism will inevitably affect them, are essential tools for survival in America. White parents and children on the other hand, have a more disconnected relationship with race that often allows them to ignore the harsh realities of how racism lives and thrives here in the U.S. 

But as racist violence and the fight to combat it continues to dominate our daily lives, the necessity that white parents discuss racism with their children has reached a tipping point. As a white passing Latina, I can attest to the fact that unpacking these issues and our role in them, both conscious and subconscious, is tough stuff. But this work is ESSENTIAL. We have to recognize the ways in which we participate in these structures and how we benefit from keeping them in place. We’ve got to teach our children about race and what racism looks like so they can recognize it and learn to stand against it from a young age.

Common Sense Media, an excellent resource for parents to review the media their kids are consuming, has put together a list of ways we can discuss race and racism with our children. Television, books, movies and other media can be powerful tools in starting meaningful conversations that kids can understand. 

Below are 10 suggestions for how white parents can use media to start talking to their kids about racism, via Common Sense Media.

Protests in Painesville, OH. Photo via John Kuntz, clevland.com

Diversify Your Bookshelf

If you grew up reading Little House on the Prairie, you can still share these stories with your kids. But don’t stop there! Look for stories featuring and written by people of color. Here are some places to start:

Point Out Racism in Movies, TV and Games

It can be easy to let stereotypes fly by when watching the minstrel-show crows in Dumbo or exaggerated accents in The Goonies. But by pointing out when something is racist, you’re helping your kid develop critical thinking skills. These skills will allow conversations about race and stereotypes to deepen as kids get older.

Watch Hard Stuff

As kids get older, expose them to the harsh realities of racism throughout history and through the current day. That doesn’t mean nonstop cable news replaying gruesome details of violence but carefully chosen films like The 13th or McFarland, USA. You can also watch footage of protests to kick off conversations about anger, fear, oppression, and power. Be explicit about racism and discrimination being hurtful, damaging, and wrong.

Seek Out Media Created by People of Color

As you choose your family movie night pick or browse for books online, specifically look for authors and directors of color in lead roles or as fully developed characters. With older kids, take an audit of how many movies or books you’ve recently watched or read that were created by people of color. Discuss the reasons for any imbalance and the importance of a variety of perspectives.

Broaden Your Own Perspective

Follow and read black and brown voices and media outlets. Use what you learn to inform conversations with your kids. Some places to start –  but by no means a complete list:

Protests in Mt. Pleasant, MI. Photo via Eric Baerren

Discuss Hate Speech and Harassment Online

Ask kids if they’ve seen racist language in YouTube videos or comments. For social-media using kids, talk about racist memes. Ask them to show you examples  and aim to develop empathy without shaming them. Help them understand how following or sharing racist accounts helps spread hate. Brainstorm ways they can safely and responsibly speak out against racist imagery and messages online. Adapt this lesson on countering hate speech for your conversations.

Understand the Online Landscape

Read this account of a white mom parenting through her son’s exposure to online white supremacy. And read the son’s perspective. Learn more about places where white racist groups congregate and how they recruit, and keep discussions open and honest with kids who socialize on sites like Discord and Reddit.

Explore the Power of Tech Tools

Use recent examples of how phones, video recordings, and editing tools effect our understanding of race and racism. Discuss how the release of video evidence can spur action, like in the case of Ahmaud Arbery. Explore together how photos and videos can both reveal truth and hide it – especially when context is edited out. 

Build News Literacy

Besides sharing news articles from different perspectives with your kids, use opportunities like protests in Minneapolis to discuss how news is presented. What kinds of stories get the most attention? How are language and images used differently to depict people and incidents depending on the news outlet, the people involved, and the topic? Look at news coverage of incidents where white people commit acts of violence and compare to when people of color do. Identify the differences and explore the realities of why the same situation is presented so differently.

Teach Your Kid to be an Ally

Learn how white people can support people of color by being allies and then integrate these ideas into your conversations and actions with your kids. Talk through scenarios your kid might encounter online and discuss (and model) when it might be best to just listen, to call someone out, to amplify someone’s voice, to share resources, etc. Share mistakes you’ve made around race and racism – in person or online – with your kids so they know it’s ok to not be perfect and that we can correct our behavior and do better in the future. 

Protest in Dallas Tx. Photo via LM Otero, AP

Original words & links brought to you by Sierra Filucci, Editorial Director at Common Sense Media.

XO, Fake Mom

Step Mom Acronyms and Their Meanings

We just wanted to share a quick post today about something helpful we recently learned, that has made it easier to move through some of the online communities relating to motherhood.

Motherhood can look very different depending on your situation, but there is a community out there for you, whatever your motherhood looks like. One of the subcultures we relate to the most here at Fake Mom, is the Step Mom community. As with any group, they’ve developed a language that allows them to communicate effectively with each other. As an outsider, some of these words and acronyms can be confusing or hard to decode. It took us a while to wade through alternate definitions before we found the meaning behind the word that helped us to realize that this was actually a community we could relate to. That being said, we want to share with you what we’ve found, so that if this is your community and you just haven’t realized it yet, you can find your village.

TermMeaning
BDBiological Daughter
BSBiological Son
BFBiological/Birth Father
BFBoyfriend (alternate)
BMBiological/Birth Mother
CACustody Agreement
COCourt Order
CPCustodial Parent
CS/CSOChild Support, Child Support Order
CPSChild Protective Services
DDDear Daughter
DHDear Husband
DSDear Son
EoWEvery Other Week
EoWeEvery Other Weekend
FILFather in Law
FHFuture Husband
FWFuture Wife
FSD/FSSFuture Step Daughter, Future Step Son
FSKFuture Step Kids
GALGuardian Ad Litem
GFGirlfriend (alternate)
GF, GM, GPGrandfather, Grandmother, Grandparents
HCBMHigh Conflict Bio/Birth Mother
HCBFHigh Conflict Bio/Birth Father
LGLegal Guardian
MILMother in Law
NCPNon-Custodial Parent
OHOther Half
PPO/PO(Personal) Protective Order
SAHMStay at Home Mom
SDStep Daughter
SK or SKIDSStep Kids
SOSignificant Other
SSStep Son
TFThe/Their Father
TMThe/Their Mother
TOWThe Other Woman
TOMThe Other Mom
XFILEx Father in Law
XMILEx Mother in Law
XHEx Husband
XWEx Wife
#Age of subject (i.e. SD9)

XO, Fake Mom

Sources:

2020 Tastemakers You Should Know

Welcome back, mama! And once again, Happy Black History Month! This week, we want to introduce you to some of our favorite people. You may know these individuals as influencers, but for us, their influence goes way beyond hawking Amazon items on Instagram. These people are free thinkers, movement starters and radical doers. They’re actively working to push the culture forward, everyday. Our list is far from comprehensive but here are some of our favorite tastemakers you should get familiar with in 2020.

Ericka Hart

@ihartericka

Erika is a non binary, black femme educator and cancer survivor and they will school you in the best way. Erika speaks on everything from sexual and social justice to being a plant bae and giving yourself regular breast exams. Plus they’re usually on IG with they’re partner Ebony who is hella funny and insightful. And Eb’s from Oakland so you already how much love we have for one of our own.

Shayla Bang

@shaylabang1

Shayla is one of my favorite people on social media. She is hella funny, hella stylish and hella motivated. She’s building an amazingly authentic brand, SoOakland that focuses on bringing authentic energy and engagement back to her community. She’s easily on the funniest people on the internet, freestyling about what it’s like to date in the Bay Area, or ranting about the struggles of entrepreneurship and encouraging her audience to take time to heal and feed their soul. She’s unapologetic about who she is, and her energy is infectious. BONUS: She’s an avid thrifter and some of her best looks cost less than $20! Do i need to keep going?

Chidera Eggeru

@theslumflower

Chidera is an author and activist who’s movement centers around body acceptance, specifically, with regard to saggy boobs. Chidera’s movement, #SaggyBoobsMatter hopes to end the stigma placed around women’s breasts and the tendency of society to put them into a hierarchy of desirability. She bravely uses her own body as the face for her movement and fearlessly represents. She’s also the author of What a Time to be Alone, a book about the endless joy and possibility of being alone. She encourages her readers to heal themselves, live with purpose and shake off the background noise. A body positive, 21st century guru. 

Jennah Brittany

@missjaydmv

We here at Fake Mom are suckers for a good laugh and Jennah Brittany knows how to make people laugh. Her original sketches are creative, relatable, and often go viral. Her videos vary between hilarious cultural critiques and fully developed characters. Our personal favorite: Victoria Chase the 90’s vocal coach. You heard it here first, there are big things coming for Miss Jay. Saturday Night Live, Nickelodeon, only time will tell, but she is seriously funny and destined for greatness.

Demetria Lucas

@demetriallucas

Demetria is like that good friend that you call when you’re feeling weak and wanting to text that trash dude you know you need to leave alone. She posts videos giving her insight and critique on relatable celebrity situations – cheating, toxic relationships and the like, and answers questions from followers in an advice column format where she tries to help steer women away from self destruction and towards self love. 

Ellen Ector

@ellenectorfit

Ellen Ector has changed the face of fitness in many ways. At 67 years young, Ms. Ector is force behind the fitness movements #BlackGirlsWorkoutToo and Gymnetics Fitness, along with her daughter Lana. Ellen promotes a plant based lifestyle and has encouraged millions of women to achieve their dreams through fitness. A pioneer in fitness representation for women of color and women over 50, Ellen Ector has reshaped the face of fitness and shows no signs of slowing down any time soon. 

Cacsmy Brutus

@mamacax

It is with a very heavy heart that we must share the news that Cacsmy Brutus, known online as Mama Cax passed away in the last part of 2019, as this article was being written. Mama Cax was what the world needs more of, beauty with depth. As a cancer survivor and disability activist, Cax was making waves in many different industries, disrupting beauty standards, modeling in major campaigns, and always centering the most vulnerable among us. While she will no longer be physically present with us, her work will transcend time and has helped to redefine our society’s standards of what is beautiful. She will be sorely missed.

It’s a Look

@itsalookwith.us

Podcast creators are clearly creative geniuses. It’s a Look, hosted by @yesfredia and @jena_dominique is a dope podcast thats insightful and funny and touches on a variety of relevant topics for young women. They originally started in the  fashion space but have expanded their universe to event hosting. They’re feed is a mosaic of styled photoshoots, motivation to go after what you want and announcements about their ever expanding brand. They’re poised for continued growth in 2020 and we can’t wait to see what they come with. 

Billy Porter

@theebillyporter

Billy Porter has been turning heads and making statements since 2013 when he won a Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical. But the moment Billy really showed up on our radar was his iconic pink cape moment at the 2019 Golden Globes. Bold fashion choices would become Billy’s hallmark on the red carpet, subsequently stunning in gender bending gowns at the 2019 Met Gala the 2019 Academy Awards and again at the 2020 Golden Globes. Billy has referred to his fashion choices as ‘political art’ and given the cultural conversations that follow his red carpet appearances, we’d have to agree. 

India Monae

@_indiamonae

If you had to choose just one of these people to follow, it should be real estate investor, educator and serial entrepreneur, India Monae. India’s focus is on creating financial literacy for her audience, something she’s extremely passionate about. Her latest venture, Land Over Labels teaches “black millenials how to build wealth from the ground up” and she’s constantly sharing tips and insight on how to make money work for you, instead of the other way around.

Paola Mathé

@findingpaola

Paola is a mom, entrepreneur and creative who shares her insights on living a purposeful life with passion. Her social media posts typically detail the drive it takes to make her busy world spin. Her instagram feed profiles her growing business, her colorful world, love of fashion and dedication to her family. Her brand, Fanm Djanm celebrates sisterhood, self love, strength and freedom. 

Destiny Lavonia

@momcrushmonday

Destiny is so inspiring! She’s the only blogger I’ve ever seen who has been open about their co parenting journey and that shit is really real and more people should be speaking on it. Plus, she’s got amazing style and the aesthetic of her blog is inspiring. 

Sonique Saturday

@soniquesaturday

When we first discovered her, her bio on Instagram read: “Outcast my whole life, so I decided to dress like André” I mean come on, I don’t think you can make much more of a statement. Her online persona has evolved and she runs House of Saturday now but her energy and style are still at the center of her brand.

Compton Cowboys

@comptoncowboys

Using horses as a vehicle for healing, the Compton Cowboys are rewriting several cultural narratives at once. Their team and their mission are unique, inspiring and more than anything, encourage you to live without limiting yourself.

Christianee Porter

@thechristishow

If you’re not familiar with viral sensation, Shirleen, stop what you’re doing and go watch her on Youtube or Instagram. Shirleen is the pios, petty and perpetually outraged church lady. But her creator, Christianee Porter, known online as The Christi Show, has developed several other characters as well. Young Velvetta, Shirleen’s nephew and aspiring rapper; Dr. Jenn, the doctor we all need to gather us; Honesty and Prosperity, best friends who call each other for everything; and Karen Don’t Care, the news anchor with the beat on the street. She began touring comedy clubs around the country and you can catch her performing near you! 

One Six Eight

@onesixeightpodcast

Originally a podcast, we found these lovely ladies on Instagram and we’re so happy we found them! They’re sassy, fun and have a knack for creating really engaging content without making it feel too contenty. Our favorite thing about them? Their motto: Kill the week, bitch! We’re trying, ladies.

Icon Billingsley

@icontips

A style legend. The mastermind behind some of our favorite girls’ most ICONIC looks. Zendaya, Dej Loaf, Megan the Stallion and more. His instagram feed is more inspiring than a lot of fashion magazines. 

René Daniella

@ownbyfemme

A creative who’s passionate about travel, René Daniella showcases her love for fashion, hosts a travel show, and encourages her follows to find their heart’s passion. She shares travel tips and snaps from some of the most beautiful places on earth.  

Aerin Creer

@aerincreer

Aerin is a fashion model who loves to share her love of fashion and style tips. Not only is she major muse material, she’s also become an activist for epilepsy, after a major seizure led to her out-of-the-blue diagnosis, she’s been pretty transparent about her struggles since diagnosis, which is inspiring considering she’s still pretty young.