Preparing My Children to Face Racism

Preparing My Children to Face Racism

These last few weeks have been extra hard. Processing the level of injustice and pain in this world is overwhelming for adults, yet, as parents, it is our job to help our children know how to face a harsh world. We must model courage for them in the midst of chaos – a kind of courage that only comes from knowing and trusting a God who made us all in HIS likeness. We believe that Courageous Girls is making a mark in the world – one that is helping restore what is good, pure, and right – by reminding us all that God created us all equally and whole. God is building up a mighty generation who trusts Him and His ways. He is love. He is just. Racism is neither of those. We asked our friend and co-laborer, Joi Hailey, to share from her mama heart what it’s like to be a woman of color raising her children in a world where racism still exists. Read with an open heart and ask God to show you what your next steps might be as you lead your daughters (and sons). We trust His movement in your life.

Co-Founders,
Jeff & Terra Mattson

Preparing my children to face racism

Everyday I wake up and gaze into the beautiful faces of my children, made in the image of God: vibrant eyes, infectious smiles and beautiful brown skin. And still, I know that their joyful laughter, kind hearts, and love for other people will be overlooked; all someone will be able to see is their skin color and discriminate against them for it. I grieve that day. I have grieved that day.

I have prepared my children to face racism at a very young age; I knew it wasn’t “if” they would experience discrimination or racism, but “when.” They have experienced racism on multiple occasions, and they don’t understand why, because they see themselves just like any other child. For them, their skin color doesn’t make them any less than their peers. And it shouldn’t. And yet, it does. At least that’s what the world will tell them.

We have a community of people who love and support our family not just for being black but simply for who we are as human beings. And my children need to see that support and love from others; especially from those who don’t look like them. My children need to know that they don’t have to be in fear of white people, that they are allies. My children need to know that they don’t have to be afraid of police officers, but that they can be a friend. Above all, my children need to know that they are loved by God. The One who created them and made them in His image. And they need to know that this same God who created them, also created those who look completely opposite of them.

To be honest, I don’t know when is the best time to tell your children about racism. Is there ever a good time to talk to your children about the hate in this world? It’s hard, but it’s necessary. Our children need to know how to love others as Christ has commanded all of us to do. Our children need to be given the opportunity to live in the fullness of Christ — to repent of sin, to love God, and love others.

Our aim as a body of Christ is to build one another up and not tear one another down. And in the process, we defend and stand up for those who have faced injustice. To talk to your children about racism is to talk to them about standing up for those who experience it. Encourage your children to boldly defend and speak out against racism when they witness a friend or peer being discriminated against due to the color of their skin.

Teach your children that silence can be hurtful, but that boldness and love are ways to fight against racism. We fight racism, which is derived from hate, by teaching and modeling to our children what it means to love.

“Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.” – Romans 12: 9-10.

Joi Hailey
Courageous Mama and Recording Artist
Associate Worship Pastor at Rolling Hills Community Church
InCourage 2020 Worship Team Lead

Resources for Courageous Mamas who are ready to learn, listen and lament

Divided by Faith: Evangelical Religion and the Problem of Race in America by Christian Smith and Michael O. Emerson
The Color of Compromise by Jemar Tisby
White Awake: An Honest Look at What it Means to be White by Daniel Hill
White Fragility by Robin Diangelo
Woke Church: An Urgent Call for Christians in America to Confront Racism and Injustice by Eric Mason
Roadmap to Reconciliation by Brenda Salter McNeil
I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness by Austin Channing Brown
Healing Our Broken Humanity by Grace Ji-Sun Kim
Waking Up White by Debby Irving
Be the Bridge: Pursuing God’s Heart for Racial Reconciliation by Latasha Morrison
“Letters from a Birmingham Jail” by Martin Luther King Jr.
“Listening Well as a Person of Privilege” by Christena Cleveland

LISTEN

Pass the Mic podcast by The Witness

WATCH

13th A documentary on Netflix
Just Mercy – movie released this year that is currently free to stream during the month of June on Amazon Prime Video, AppleTV, Google Play, Redbox, Vudu, Microsoft, and YouTube
Selma – movie available to rent or stream
The Bible Project: Justice

LEARN

“A Hidden History” by Walidah Imarisha, Oregon Humanities

FOLLOW ON SOCIAL MEDIA

Dr. Crawford Loritts
Dr. Bryan Loritts
Jackie Hill Perry
Dr. Tony Evans
Jemar Tisby
Priscilla Shirer
K.A. Ellis
Dr. Eric Mason
Dr. Derwin L. Gray
Lecrae
Mika Edmondson
Walter R. Strickland II
Ebenezer Endiryas
Shai Linne
Anthony Bradley
Leo Dunson

*Thank you to Rolling Hills Community Church for this list of resources

Be Loved, Love Well