Op-Ed: I pushed my kids to succeed academically to escape racism. But it doesn’t work that way.
The week of December 27, my youngest son, Parker, turned 5 and my oldest, Parker, turned 4. Though I loved that he already had the confidence to stand up for himself and speak up, I also knew my daughter, Haley, would be an even bigger girl. My youngest, who was nearly a year apart from Parker, could walk and talk like he was in kindergarten. Haley was a year younger, closer to Haley.
I had been told a few times how difficult it was for kids of darker skin as the struggle to get good grades meant being teased or being made to “go along.”
Parker and Haley were teased about their skin color because that is what we all were raised with. But I also loved that my daughter could have this strength to stand up for herself and for herself.
The issue I wanted to highlight today, however, is racial slurs. The way children with a dark skin tone are treated because they look and act differently than white children, is not just bullying, but racism.
I had heard people say racial slurs were just words. That they were not meant to hurt or hurtful. But you don’t have to be an older person or a person with more experiences with racism to understand what these words do, to be hurt by them and to want to never say them, especially when you know that there could be a lot of people in that area of the country or world who would be ready to use such words.
If this is our past, this is our reality, this is how it is today, this is the future. It was a beautiful day for my son and his family. But even that beauty wouldn’t mean much if I weren’t able to be present for the reality of today.
I don’t have a lot of answers as to why children of a darker skin tone would be targeted based on their race. I don’t have an answer to the way children with a darker skin tone are told their abilities. I don’t have an answer to why the words that are used by some to describe their skin color aren