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  • Chris Wharton

Raising Anti-Racist Kids

To my fellow parents,

It may not be our fault, but it is definitely our problem, and one of the simplest solutions is talking about it with our children. And we can all start today ...

I have kids in middle school and high school, and listed below are some of the more noteworthy examples of intolerance, racism, and hatred that I’ve heard about this fall:

- On the first day of high school, a large swastika was drawn in black permanent marker in the boys’ bathroom.

- On September 30, National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, a boy in grade 6 passed by the table to get an orange ribbon and said “I’m saving my loonie for the veterans”.

- There was a fight just off the high school grounds. Two boys were fighting, and then the parents of one of the kids jumped in to help beat up the other boy. Of course, this was all captured on video (and bystanders notified the authorities).

- There have been multiple stories of kids in grade 6 making fun of the different accents of lunchroom supervisors and/or substitute teachers.

- A boy in grade 5 confronted one of his classmates with “Were you born in South Korea or North Korea?” The other boy said “I was born in Calgary”. The first boy replied “Your face doesn’t look like it!”

These stories are sickening, and while I’m glad that my children feel safe sharing these incidents with us, I’m also heartbroken that these kinds of things are happening on a weekly, if not daily, basis at our kids’ schools.

As we look to build a more diverse, inclusive, and anti-racist society, we cannot ignore the children of today, who are only a few years away from adulthood. If we don’t tackle this issue now, we’ll be dealing with far worse examples over the next decade.

My small ask today is for you to engage in some good old-fashioned family discourse around one, two, or all of the above stories. Do your kids have similar stories to share? What do they think about these incidents? What can they do going forward, and how can we support them?

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