I Understand I Don’t Understand, But I Stand

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As a thin, white, heterosexual, educated, upper middle class, suburban, stay-at-home-mom-by-choice, I’m very aware of my privilege (the only discrimination I’ve ever faced was when I brought non-organic juice boxes for my daughter’s preschool snack—there were a LOT of disapproving looks from the other moms that day…). I understand that I can’t ever truly understand what black and brown Americans face every single day. 

#BlackLivesMatter has been trending for years, and yet racism is still very much alive and well (unlike my Philodendrons, which usually last an average of 6-8 months before slowly dying from neglect). Houseplants aside, I try to “stay woke”—and I’m not just talking about the middle of the night when my toddler creeps into my room. I support women, the LGBTQ community, and people of color. But I can and will do better. We all can do better. Like most kids of the 90’s, I was raised to be “colorblind,” taught that differences shouldn’t matter and that we’re all the same on the inside. I know I have a lot to learn about how I can be better. And how I can raise my kids to be better. So I’m taking the first steps on what I know will be a very long journey.

As I often do in times of crisis, I turned first to Sesame Street. Should I be concerned that most of my best parenting advice comes from TV muppets? Probably. But, you’ve got to admit, Abby Caddaby and Elmo often have some pretty compelling things to say… And the latest Sesame Street Townhall is no exception. From how to explain #BlackLivesMatter, to how to talk with your kids about racism, they cover the basics and help you get the ball rolling. My husband and I have also started reading—Raising White Kids: Bringing Children Up in a Racially Unjust America—to give us more insight into talking to our kids about our own white privilege. I don’t have all the answers. I will never have all the answers. But I’m choosing to stand. Are you?

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