How Should I Talk with My Kids about Racism and the History of Slavery?
- 2017 2 Oct
I think it's critical to talk about those things, but I would say the first step is to take action if you want to be a role model for your children. Why don't you invite a family of a different color over to your home for lunch or dinner, and sit around the table, and just talk? Don't talk about the big issues, don't talk about history and all those things, just have a normal discussion with friends. I think that's a great first place to start, and then from that, building with your kids about, these people are no different from us, other than the color of their skin. They have the same desires, the same hopes, whether you're black or white or Latino or Asian, it doesn't matter. That's one of the things I'm looking at with my own boys, is putting them into culturally rich, diverse situations, and talking to them about that.
Of course, we're talking about Charlottesville, Jean and I with our teenagers, what's happening in that context, why the angst? I think their initial reaction as children is to say, "Why do they want to pull down statues?" They don't get the whole context of that. I think we can all have differences of opinions on these things, but where is the love of Christ? How do we treat each other with the respect that Jesus would desire from us? I think the church has a lot to atone for, historically, because we were rather silent during the civil rights marches, etc. God's scriptures were twisted to use slavery in a way that was evil.
The other side of it though, is an understanding I think too, that when you're talking to your kids, I think I saw a survey where 100% of high school students in the US thought slavery started and was only in the United States. So that is a tragic misunderstanding of global history. And the fact that slavery was really a modality that most conquering nations, tribes, etc used to build their own economies, whatever it might've been. Even the native Americans in the United States had slaves within their tribes, so it was a part of human history. Today we still have sex trafficking, another form of human slavery today. So there's just something in the heart of humanity that leans in that direction, but we are making progress. I think we gotta continue to build on the progress that was made, even though we will have difficulty getting further ahead.