HELP: I’m a White, Minnesota mom and I want to talk to my kids about George Floyd
To all the other moms, parents, or just humans who have no idea what to say to make our world better...I'm right there with ya.
This past year, with all that has happened up in the Twin Cities area with the murder of George Floyd, the protests, riots, the recent shooting of Daunte Wright, the trial...throw in the COVID pandemic where people are throwing out phrases like "china virus" as if that is ok...it is too much. Maybe it's not for you, but it is for me. And I'm supposed to be the "MOM" who has the answers for my kids and I just have no idea and am struggling with what to say. I'm not seeing any mom groups or books clubs that are like, "Hey, let's talk about race this month!". What I am seeing are people shelled up in their houses and NOT talking about it because any time that they do on social media they are slammed.
What I'm going to say next about racial inequality may make you send hate mail.
I've had people tell me to shut up about this topic of racial inequality because what I'm saying is wrong. I put one post on social media last year that was nothing but an image because neighborhoods, where I used to work, were burning and I got slammed because in their perspective, I didn't write the correct word. After that, my vehicle was vandalized in broad daylight for some reason at the time the riots were taking place. No matter what I say or don't say is never going to be correct in someone's eyes. As a mom though, I can't continue on in this world raising my kids not being brave enough to talk about it. Why? My kids, your kids, they are the ones that can help make choices to love everyone and I believe they can do it in their generation. They just need us right now to make those conversations happen.
What do we say to our kids about George Floyd, the riots, and racial inequalities?
I have struggled with knowing what to say for a long time as a parent. Racial inequalities and injustice are things I'm not an expert in. If you haven't noticed...I'm a white mom living in Rochester, Minnesota and I don't want to have conversations with my kids based on the lens that only I am seeing through. I want my kids to learn, lead, and grow and help be part of the future where change can happen, but I can only do that with the help of others.
My friend, Tierre Webster, was willing to have a chat with me. We are boxing friends from back in the day, our kids have been involved in extracurricular activities together, and I respect him fully. I also knew that when I asked him a question, I would get an honest answer and no matter how ridiculous I sounded as a white woman living in Rochester, he would be honest with me and help me understand and guide me with some next steps. We connected via Zoom and had a heart-to-heart...and around 20:10 I basically broke down when he started talking about his kids.
Resources that might be helpful for you as you talk with your kids about race.
After Daunte Wright was shot, I waited...and waited...and was hoping that someone would hand over a list of places where I could go as a mom to help my kids, once again, understand what just happened. I wanted a teacher or a school, church, someone to say..."Hey, we see what is happening in our world, once again, and we are here to chat AND here are some helpful things that might benefit you and your family too.". I saw resources I could pay for and classes I could take in a few months about the topic but I wanted the input NOW. I'm a mom. My kids are seeing this stuff at school on CNN 10 and if they are seeing it and that input is going in their minds, I need resources NOW.
Resources to help talk about trauma and race
I reached out to Rochester Public Schools to see what they recommended. Shortly after that, all families received an e-mail with a list of trauma-related tips to help. After the trial for George Floyd was done and the verdict was announced families received additional resources in their inbox related to race. Both of those lists are below for you:
- How to Talk About Traumatic Events and Tragedies (MDE)
- Helping Youth after Community Trauma: Tips for Educators (NCTSN)
- Helping Children and Adolescents Cope with Disasters and Other Traumatic Events (NIMH)
- School Climate, Safety, and Crisis (NASP)
- What To Say To Kids When The News Is Scary (NPR)
- Parenting a Child Who Has Experienced Trauma (Child Welfare Information Gateway)
- How to Talk with Kids About Racism and Racial Violence
- 100 Race-conscious Things You Can Say to Your Child to Advance Racial Justice
- The Conscious Kid Resources
- Talking to Children about Violence: Tips for Parents and Teachers
If you are an individual or group in the area that would love to speak with me, help me as a mom in Rochester, MInnesota learn and have a respectful conversation around the topic of race, please reach out to me. You can find me easily on my Facebook page - Jessica On The Radio - or on Instagram.
Listen to Jessica Williams weekdays from 6 am until 10 am on the Y-105FM Early Morning Show with James and Jessica.