Whether we like it or not, systemic racism in America is real. It has been ingrained in our country for decades upon decades often leaving black families at the short end of the stick. Black America has reached a breaking point and it's time for us as a nation to step in and be the voice of change.
On June 2, Motherly took a stance and participated in #BlackOutTuesday, a movement devoted to observe, mourn and bring about change in racism in America. We also held an important conversation on our Instagram stories with a white mama and a black mama.
Deena Campbell, Senior Lifestyle Editor and black mother to two children, and Diana Spalding, Digital Education Editor and white mother to three children had an honest conversation about motherhood and racism. They discussed their feelings, lessons on what they learned (and unlearned) about race in America and how racial injustice can no longer prevail for our next generation.
Here's a recap and some resources if you're not sure where to get started. You can watch the full video at the end. Also, continue to step up not only in solidarity, but for justice.
Here's a breakdown of our mom-to-mom discussion about racism:
On white privilege:
Deena: White moms should use their white privilege to change the mindset of non-black people. If you see injustice, speak up and do something about.
Diana: Racism is all around us, and we need to acknowledge all of the ways that privilege has allowed us to ignore it. We can choose whether or not today is a day we feel like we can think about racism, while the black community must deal with not only thinking about it, but living it, and all of its consequences, every single day.
On teaching kids about racism:
Deena: Educate yourself. Use resources (see a few below) and talk about racist behaviors when your children are young. Be sure to celebrate differences and teach the importance of listening to black people explain their perspectives. Above all, model the behaviors you want your children to have. Your children will follow the behaviors you display.
Diana: As I teach my children about racism, the message is not "race doesn't exist" or "I don't see color." That messaging ignores reality and is unhelpful. Instead, we should convey that we do see race, and we respect and honor it.
Deena: Black moms shouldn't be afraid to teach their children about how society views them. Arm them with the knowledge they need to navigate this country.
Diana: One way that I am trying to teach my white children about racism is through teaching empathy. When we explained what is happening in our country right now, we asked our kids to talk about how they would feel if someone was mean to them because of the color of their skin.
On feeling sad for the black community:
Deena: I don't want you to feel bad or sorry for black people. I'm proud to be black. I love our music, food, art and overall culture. Use your frustration to motivate you to speak up against injustice.
Diana: One of my responsibilities as a white woman is to make sure that I am listening, and not centering myself in conversations about racism. This is bound to make white people feel uncomfortable, but our discomfort is not what we are discussing.
Diana: My role as a white person is to be quiet, and to be loud. Quietness involves listening—truly listening—to the black community who has been doing this work for so, so long. And being loud is about standing up to injustice and racism when I see it. Silence is incredibly dangerous.
On being an ally:
Deena: The goals is to not only be non-racist, but to actively be anti-racist, and teach your children to speak up against injustice.
Diana: We never arrive at being an ally. The work is never done. This is about making a commitment to doing this work every day, forever.
On Black Lives Matter versus "all lives matter"
Deena : Saying Black Lives Matter doesn't take away the importance from other lives. It's akin to a house burning. The fire department doesn't attempt to put out flames in the entire neighborhood, they just focus on the house in flames. In a similar manner, the black community needs everyone to step up and fight against injustice.
Here’s the full video and be sure to share it with a friend:
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A live conversation between one black mom and one white mom (who are colleagues here at @mother.ly). They discuss systemic racism, how it affects their own personal motherhood and how we can each work to make change happen now. Thanks to @deenacampbell and @gatheredbirth for holding this important, accessible conversation with our community.