When kids experience racism, what can their parents do? Here are some resources and tips from an experienced adoptive parent.
Editor’s note: Some of these tips are aimed specifically at white parents. AFABC recognizes that adoptive families are incredibly diverse, and that transracial adoptive families include parents from all backgrounds, heritages, and experiences, including parents of colour who have firsthand experience with racism.
- Dr. Lisa Gunderson is an award-winning educator and equity consultant and trainer. She does presentations in schools across Canada and the USA
- A Child’s Song provides consultation, education and therapy to families joined together through adoption. They offer a number of workshops, including one workshop for teachers and other school professionals
- Teaching Tolerance is an excellent resource of articles, programs and webinars designed to help teachers and schools educate children and youth to be active participants in a diverse democracy
- Here are some really interesting articles on racism and children: Children Are Not Colorblind | Are Kids Racist? (Not) talking about race with your children | Teaching your kids not to “see” race is a terrible idea, studies have found
- These two resources may be helpful as they deal with bullying: daretocare.ca | Canadian Red Cross: Violence, Bullying and Abuse Prevention
Racism in the community or school
Most police departments have a hate crime task force, and the use of racial slurs should be investigated.
- Visit hatecrimebc.ca to learn more about hate crimes, and how to report them.
It is your child’s right to attend school, work, or activities free from discrimination. If they are not, this is a violation of their human rights as set out in the Human Rights Code and in the Ministry of Education’s requirements for all schools’ codes of conduct.
- This PDF is a great teaching guide on how to create a safe environment in schools: Safe, Caring and Orderly Schools: A Guide
- The Human Rights Tribunal takes discrimination against minors very seriously, and you can also apply for legal aid regarding a case at the HRT
Hate speech has to cross a threshold to become criminal and there are only a few offences in the Criminal Code that are specific to hate. Each case has to be investigated based on its own merit. Unfortunately, sometimes people can use vulgar language or make racist statements without any criminal consequences.
Often police can handle situations with an education and preventative mindset. They can do presentations in schools, letting teachers and parents know the laws and at what point hate speech becomes criminal or a violation of the Human Rights Code.
How white parents can be allies
There are lots of resources online on how white people can be effective in the fight against racism. Here are a few options:
- A good course on learning about racism: Hard Conversations: An Introduction to Racism and Its Undoing
- Whiteaccomplices.org is also an excellent resource for being effective in racist situations.
How does your family deal with racism? We’d love to hear from you at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d especially love to hear from Black, Indigenous, and POC parents—your voices matter.