Sarah Halter Hahes, Raising Race Conscious Children

Negative stereotypes and the danger of students learning not to talk about race

I am a White educator of third grade students in Brookline, Massachusetts. I teach in public school within a very wealthy and somewhat diverse population. Our minority enrollment is 41% (mostly Asian, and only 3% Black). I am also the mother to a one-year-old boy. A few years ago, I took a class called Empowering Multicultural Initiatives (EMI ) that changed my life. This class challenged me to confront my White privilege and find ways to have courageous conversations about race.

Talking About Bi-Racial Families with My Daughter, Raising Race Conscious Children

Talking about bi-racial families with my daughter

My daughter has been playing with her vintage Fisher Price people on a daily basis since she was about a year old.

In one routine game, she puts the “children” (who are slightly shorter) in a circle and sings the “goodbye song.” Then, each“adult” (a slightly taller figure) picks a child up from school. When she first started playing this game, she would assign adults to children randomly, almost never putting them in the same pairs, and with no consideration to their physical appearances. The only thing she was emphatic about was that every child had to be paired with one adult.

How to explain racially-charged interactions (and gentrification) to my daughter, Raising Race Conscious Children

How to explain racially-charged interactions (and gentrification) to my daughter

As a born and bred New Yorker, I expect an occasional terrible experience with a stranger. My worst stranger story involves a White man who spit in my on 5th avenue. So it isn’t always about race…but sometimes it is.

Last winter, I was sitting on the steps in the lobby of an apartment building in my neighborhood, trying to get my one-and-a-half-year-old to put on her shoes. I had just gotten her to sit down and was forcing her feet into the shoes and fastening the Velcro when a Black man entered the building and commented “Stairs are not for sitting.”

Janet Alperstein, Raising Race Conscious Children

My son’s Jewish and Guatemalan identity

Celebrations are a big part of our family: the Jewish holidays, the anniversaries of the day we met and the day we became a family, Guatemalan Independence Day, and National Adoption Day. Each of these celebrations helps us reaffirm our multiple identities.

Just When I Thought My Daughter Wasn’t Listening, Raising Race Conscious Children

Just when I thought my daughter wasn’t listening…

Last month I had a stomach flu and succumbed to my daughter’s request for more minutes than usual of watching videos. First, we watched “Los pollitos dicen,”, a song about chicks and a mama hen.

"If they're both straight" and other thoughts

“If they’re both straight” and other thoughts

by Sachi Feris When my daughter was an infant, a fellow new mom once joked that my daughter and her son (also an infant) were on their first “date.” “If they’re both straight,” I countered, and she laughed. With race,…

My children's complicated identities as White Hispanics

My children’s complicated identities as White Hispanics

by guest blogger Myriam Juarbe I am a Hispanic, White female from San Juan, Puerto Rico, married to my college sweetheart in graduate school. He is also Hispanic and White (but from Spain)—although here in the United States, many people…

“Is that your Mom?”—Children’s questions about families

“Is that your Mom?”—Children’s questions about families

by Sachi Feris Whenever my daughter sees a seemingly unaccompanied child (for example, a five-year-old who is half a block ahead of their adult on their scooter), her immediate question is: “Where is that child’s mommy or papi?” Her assumption…

How to talk to toddlers about stereotypes

How to talk to toddlers about stereotypes

by Sachi Feris On a recent trip to the library, I pulled a book from the Spanish section with two children on the cover, both with light-to-medium brown skin. I showed the book to my daughter and she agreed we…