As a lighter skinned Multi-ethnic family in a predominantly African American community (Seriously Check out the awesome local school Timbuktu), my children have gotten to see some issues with racism up close and personal. Something they never faced when we lived in predominantly white communities or over in Mexican Town. In fact, teaching our children about racism was limited to teaching them to treat everyone as equals and studying history from books. Trying to explain why the man next door keeps pointing out what we look like and well generally trying to make us miserable took a little more explaining. Living in Detroit we have a lot of opportunities to dive deep into the history of racism along with visiting multiple historical locations. While racism is alive and well to this day we will teach our children to take a stand for themselves and others.
Rosa Parks is one of the most influential leaders in the civil rights movement. One of my favorites as an overall role model. You see Rosa Parks didn’t wake up that fateful day thinking “I am going to go change the world today.” No, she woke up, went to work, and did what she had to do. She was a regular person just like the rest of us. She is just like the rest of us and if she can change the world so can we.
Learning Activities to teach about racism and Rosa Parks.
Grab a copy of I am Rosa Parks my Brad Meltzer. The publisher sent me a copy of this book to enjoy with my children and I love how it helped me show my kids what was going on and why it was wrong in a kid-friendly way that helped them understand and see the outrage without instilling fear in the young kids. The full-color illustrations and honest text help parents teach this difficult subject.
Teach your child that everyone is the same on the inside. Grab a white egg, brown egg, and if you are lucky enough to find one a colored egg from an Easter Egger Chicken. have your child examine the outside of the eggs. The shell is a different color. What about when you crack the egg open? Show them how inside both are the same. Explain that is this the same with people. Ask them how they feel about some people being treated differently.
Teach your children that the world would be a boring place without diversity by giving them the black paper with black crayons and white paper with white crayons. The only way to make something beautiful is to combine the two.