Dear White Moms, What I need you to know…

Dear White Moms,

You are my friends. You are my sisters.

We are the same in more ways than we are different, but there are a few things that I need you to know.

I have three black boys. They are the sweetest and most amazing humans I’ve ever met. They are incredibly intelligent, creative, artistic, caring, thoughtful, compassionate, friendly, and respectful. These aren’t just the characteristics of my three black boys, but of black boys all over America.

My heart aches when I think of anyone not being kind to my children. I so desperately want them to be treated fairly, and to be able to live their normal lives in peace. I want them to be comfortable and confident in their own skin. I want them to reach every single dream they have and to live safe lives where no one tries to bring harm to them because of the color of their skin.

I need your help.

I so desperately need you to have conversations with your children about racism. Racism isn’t always blatantly expressed. It can be very passive and subtle through messages conveyed in our culture. These types of messages have been communicated throughout our entire lives, with their true intent often going unnoticed.

As parents, you can completely change this through intentional conversations.

You see…I grew up in a predominately white area, and attended a small conservative Christian School. The amount of racism and ignorance I dealt with from white privileged children was tremendous. I learned to be very passive in my friendships, and to not make anyone feel uncomfortable.  As my peers spoke, I could hear their parents’ voices loudly above their own. I could hear the messages from dining room tables and living rooms, and could see values they were being passed down. They hadn’t interacted with other black children; I was the one and only real friend they ever had.

I was called horrible names; no one was allowed to date me. This was not because they didn’t like me, but because of their parents saying “NO”. I wasn’t even allowed in one of my close friend’s house until her parents felt I was “safe.” My stories could go on and on. 

I grew up not seeing many black actors in TV or movies, unless they were supporting roles or slave movies. The only black people I saw on the news were associated with reports that dehumanized and villainized. 

I grew up in a generation that has still remained pretty racially separated. We can’t afford to hand that down to our kids.

So please…

Talk to them about racism. I hate the conversations I have to have with my boys about it. They are extremely heartbreaking. It’s difficult to explain to them reasons some people won’t like them, think they are scary, or even try to harm them because of the color of their skin.

Please, talk to your kids, so together we can make the world better for all of our children. 

Teach them to stand up to injustice whenever they see it. Teach them compassion, kindness, and love. Teach them not to passively ignore or avoid the trials of others, but to always stand up for what is right. Teach them the TRUTH and don’t sugar coat it or encourage your kids to be color blind. “Color Blind” creates passivity. 

Watch what you say and what they hear. Be careful watching shows in your home that vocalize harmful comments about racial differences, economic status…or even racially harmful political commentary.  I need you to listen carefully for those messages. Make sure you aren’t supporting them in conversation or in things you allow around your children. I need you to be careful of how you speak about minorities, making sure you are valuing them the way you value your white counterparts.

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Your children need to hear that you enjoy shows that feature black characters & movie actors. They need to hear that you listen to music with artists that look different than you (more than just hip-hop), and that you read books by black authors.  

Your kids need to have positive minority experiences in their own homes and churches. It is important they see that you are intentionally building friendships with minorities and regularly have them in your home. Look to befriend black moms. If you wouldn’t say it to a white friend, don’t say it to a black friend. Simply treat them the same. Your kids will do this as they see you model that behavior.

All of these things will shape and develop your children’s world-views. These intentional acts will change how they view entire groups of people because interaction with different people will be intertwined in their lives. Your children will see them as their peers and appreciate all of their many similarities while embracing their differences.

We are the same as mothers. We don’t want our kids to be bullied. We want them to live successful lives. We want people to give them grace, and love. We want them to make great decisions. We want people to be kind to our kids. We want to protect them. We want their childhoods to be magical, and to set them up for the best lives possible.

Your children are part of the hope I have for the world to change.

Your children are the next generation and the children my boys will grow up with. If you can model inclusive attitudes, and ideas that one race is no better than another, then you will raise kind-hearted children. They won’t automatically label any kids as “threats”, “incompetent”, or “thugs” just because of the color of their skin.

The hope is when they see my kids, they will see their hearts, amazing personalities, and make judgments in a fair way…after getting to know them. 

People always ask me how I instill confidence with all this negativity that comes at them…Jesus. They love Jesus. We love Jesus, and His word is our truth above anything the world says. Their hope is in the Lord. Our hope is in the Lord, and I pray this post will encourage you to make a difference in your children’s lives, in our children’s lives, and in this next generation so the world will truly be a better place.

If you see one of my sons at night with a hoodie on…they are probably cold. Don’t act fearful. Smile at them when you see them at the store. Say “Hello.” When they come to your home, welcome them with love, and no awkwardness or weird questions. Just treat them the same as you would any other children in your home. Judge them on their character, not on their looks.  Always assume the best, not the worst. Shower them with kindness and love.

And you will truly make the world a much better place.

With so much love for you,

Jehava

Onlygirl4boyz

***

I am so incredibly grateful to my friend Jehava Brown for writing this piece for Wonderoak. This is quite possibly the most important thing I have ever published. It is so incredibly critical that we listen to our sisters who have to deal with things that they should NEVER have to. Hava, thank you sister, we are with you.

Please share this piece with the world. You can follow Jehava on Insta, Facebook, Pinterest, and her website.

For more like this you can follow Wonderoak here, on Facebook, and on Instagram.

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20 thoughts on “Dear White Moms, What I need you to know…

  1. Keri Alexander

    YES!!!!! Please share this everyone!! I love this blog. I am a white female with a mixed child that does not look mixed he looks more African American and we had to deal with this by my own family!! thank you for sharing!!!

  2. wonderoak

    Thank you so much Keri, I agree her words are so so important!! Thank you for your perspective ❤️

  3. Lanie

    Hi Jehava thank you for your bravery and for stepping out and speaking the truth. I come from a very white privileged background with almost no exposure to other races/cultures, plus I have a very racist father. I would love to address my unconscious biases and become friends with people who dont look like me, but I have no idea how to start. I have heard of some churches starting Racists Anonymous but we don’t have that in our area. I now live in an area with 60% Hispanic 40% white and it’s very much us vs. them mentality. I speak Spanish and try to reach out to Latina moms but I feel like they’re always looking at me like I’m being patronizing. I want so bad to have my preschool children grow up with a multicolored multicultural perspective and be comfortable making friends with anyone but again, I’m at a loss. If you have any ideas I would appreciate it!

  4. Brother John

    What a brave, courageous, and amazing woman to speak out on something so important. Where I grew up in a small community, we had a single black family, but the were the nicest and most respectful i have met, and they even allowed my brother and I to play with their kids.
    I have seen over the years that hate is taught, but love is naturally in us, and children are the first to show this love.
    I agree with unbiased love because I am going to be a husband and father to an amazing Spanish woman and her daughter, and that is possible all because of Jesus.

  5. deepasthoughts

    That was so beautifully written. There is always a us vs them no matter which part of the world you live in. Some places it is based on the race, in some others it is based on the religion. In some places it is based on which part of the country you belong to and in some others it is based on the language you speak.
    The onus of how the next generation becomes is completely depended on what we speak and do in our homes today. Like Jehava rightly said, what kids talk in class is what they hear in their homes.
    I have been on both sides of spectrum and completely understand the importance of what we talk to our kids at home.
    Thank You Jehava for writing this post and thank you wonderoak for sharing it here.

  6. Amy Schisler

    My best friend in elementary and middle school could have been you. She was head over heels in love with a boy in our class who told her outright, “my parents won’t allow me to take you to the dance or to dance with you.” I just couldn’t understand why and felt so foolish when she had to spell it out for me. Children are blind to race. They learn what they are taught and what they see. I pray for you, for your boys, and for all of our children.

  7. 21flavorsofsplendor

    This is so beautiful and filled with so much truth. I love it when Hava said ““Color Blind” creates passivity. ” Because it really does. I love that God created us all uniquely different in so many ways, including color. Truly loving everyone regardless of our difference is so important.

  8. Maggie H-G

    Yes, more of this!! Keep it coming! I am trying to do the work to be an ally; I’m recognizing privilege, I’m having discussions with my kids and friends, and I’m meeting new friends that look differently than me. Thank you for this article. I’m going to check out Jehava’s website now!

  9. Tracey

    Loved the article. I am just a mother who loves her son and wants only the best for him like any other mother, regardless of our color. Nicely put Hava!

  10. sharon

    I totally agree with the article. Not sure if I’m color blind. Have to stop and think who of my friends aren’t caucasian. They are my friends first and color is secondary or 3rd or 4th. My neighbor is black and my granddaughter runs to hug her so we’re good as far as inclusive. :). She is one of my closest friends. Very well written and so true. Thank you for educating us from your experiences. I am naive to seeing that with my friends. My perception of people is to look at their hearts and if they are loving, honest, kind and know God. God bless you and thank you.

  11. Jason

    Unfortunately most white mothers and teachers will reject this article and be old-fashioned. But anyway, this was a very brave article and I wish to show this to my mom (I most likely won’t) 🙂 *thumbs up*

  12. Tanya

    Thank you Hava for writing something so beautiful and incredibly thought provoking! This is a discussion that needs to happen in all households across the globe! My 6 year old son reminds me everyday just how wonderfully inclusive children can be. We will pass people in a store and he will spontaniously say hi to someone or tell them he likes their shirt or dress. We have always had a conversation in our home about loving everyone no matter what. My husband and I are dedicated to teaching him to give, whether with his time or donating to a cause, to love and to respect everyone. Nothing breaks down barriers like a kid saying hi with a smile! 🙂

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