A Journey Into Anti-Racist Parenting

Kristine Sostar McLellan

We lose followers every. single. time. we share about racism.

And the truth is I can’t presume to know why. Sure, it could be because it rubs people the wrong way for all the wrong reasons.

It could also be because that’s part of Instagram *shrug*

But maybe it’s because I’m a white founder of a company that didn’t say much on this topic until someone called us out.

I’m so grateful to that individual who called us out. I was sitting on my hands, wondering if we were supposed to say something, or not. One message – a message they didn’t owe me, by the way – was the catalyst for understanding that I have been complacent.

When I’m honest with myself, I see that I didn’t say something because I was agonizing over how it would look: would it make this business look opportunistic? Would it look like we were making it about us? Would I say the wrong thing?

Maybe. Maybe. Maybe.

I let that ego dictate action. But I was pushed to do better. So I humbly accept.

Whether you’re pregnant, or your baby is two months or 17 years: we’re trying to make the world better for them.

Within the past year we marched for climate change. And now we’re finally, so many more of us, seeing the residual damage of centuries of our history: we may have said it but we haven’t acted like black lives matter.

I consider it kismet that I discovered @momletstalk run by Vancouver mom Sia Foryoh. She’s truly a generous soul who created a space for Moms from all backgrounds to unpack anti-racist parenting.

Her long-term vision is “to one day have parents be able to take their younger children to a space where they learn about a specific culture/race’s food, language, story, song and dance in a 30-45min window taught by a representative from that culture. Every week it will change so that the children can see and appreciate other people that don’t just look like them.”

And her Zoom session this past week was illuminating. She gave space to everyone to speak, to connect. And she gave us homework.

We all need that. The homework. So that’s what I’m vowing to do here.

Because I’ve noticed that my personal conversations around the Black Lives Matter movement have been met either with quick agreement, hostility or silence.

This is uncharted for too many of us.

During Sia’s Zoom session, one of the questions she asked us was what we would commit to doing. These are the three commitments I made:

  1. Let go of ego and be willing to embarrass myself and be called out when I’m wrong. The fear of “getting it wrong” or “looking bad” is not an excuse to stay silent.

  2. Parent my children in anti-racism.

  3. Think critically about how to build a business through an anti-racist lens.

So this series will document my journey as a white Mother who is learning and unlearning.

Yes, I also agonized over whether to do this. I by no means want to make this movement ABOUT me. And I don’t hold some belief that my voice or perspective is important or critical to this conversation.

My only hope is that by candidly sharing this journey, other parents – particularly white parents – will be more willing to have these conversations and explore within themselves, too.

Because, like climate change, anti-racism is a parenting issue. And much in the same way, we cannot be afraid to address it.

So to be clear: we’re not teaching anti-racism. We’re not qualified nor are we the right resource for that. We’ll continue to defer to the appropriate sources for guidance, like @momletstalk, and share and amplify them (I encourage you to follow Sia and join in on the Zoom sessions, too!)

But we are committed to putting the conversations and thoughts that may be uncomfortable for some, front and centre. Because making the world better is not just for our own children. ALL children deserve a better world and it starts with us as parents.

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