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Please Do Talk To Your Kids About Race, Here’s How

Photo of guest speaker of the Seattle Academy Parent Education SPARRC Event March 2021.

On March 11th, Seattle Academy parents spent the evening with Dr. Lori Watson of Race-Work who gave a phenomenal virtual presentation on How to Talk to Your Kids About Race. Dr. Watson asked parents to consider WHY it is important for them to show up and have conversations about race—a theme that is central to our host for the evening. For those unfamiliar with SPARRC (SAAS Parents for Awareness, Race Relations, and Community) it is a learning space for SAAS parents of all backgrounds to discuss matters of race and equity. SPARRC regularly holds events like this one and always focuses on our role as parents and community members.

“When we don't talk about race, we allow the status quo to persist. A status quo that perpetuates racism. So if we are not consciously, intentionally and deliberately interrupting racism, then we become complicit in the system that allows it to persist. And we just become part of the problem," explains Dr. Lori Watson.

Dr. Watson started the presentation by saying that before we can figure out what we need to do to disrupt racism, we first have to become comfortable talking about race. The presentation, which was open to all SAAS parents with children in both the middle and upper school, was a unique opportunity to listen and contribute. Parents learned that when entering a conversation about race, it is important to be centered in order to better hear other perspectives and reach a shared understanding. The first thing each parent should do is their own work. Dr. Watson was not handing out homework by any means, but asking each parent to conduct their own self-assessment on how much one’s own life is impacted by race. She emphasized that race-work is humanity-work.

There are multitudes of benefits to kids who are race-conscious and have the tools to talk about race.

Dr. Watson also touched on how race is a social construct and not a biological one. She emphasized the importance for white parents to recognize what whiteness is and how it impacts their life. What this means is that teaching our kids to be “colorblind” poses more harm than good. There are multitudes of benefits to kids who are race-conscious and have the tools to talk about race. These benefits were explored and explained. When to talk to your kids--how to talk to your kids? Parents chimed-in and shared how they have, or haven’t, talked to their kids about race and what approaches have worked well. They even shared about those approaches that didn’t work well. The goal was discussion and so much more was achieved. 

Much thanks to Dr. Lori Watson for joining the SAAS community for this event. For those unable to attend, listen to the recording below on your next long commute. You can also join SPARRC’s next meeting on April 22nd at 6:00 PM via Zoom for a continued conversation on talking to your kids about race.  

SPARRC meets monthly utilizing current literature, media, and events, to build bridges between families of all races, ethnicities, and cultural affiliations. Their next meeting will be April 22 at 6:00PM via Zoom.

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