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Explaining the Past to Your Children So They Can Fight in the Present

Posted on Posted in Blog, Raising Children of Color

Explaining the Past to Your Children So They Can Fight in the Present

Do you expect your children to understand everything you tell them? I don't. I gave that dream up a long time ago. I used to waste my breath explaining, trying hard to find analogies and enough of 'that's just like when....’ to help the kiddos ‘get it’ – whatever ‘it’ happens to be.  But then I realized there will be times when they just won't ‘get it’, mainly because they lack the experience and ultimately understanding in order to do so.
I think we finally are getting the teen to understand the notion of discipline and hard work.  It took some convincing but the youngest finally accepts that she has to wait for dessert after dinner – try as she may to still thwart the plan. But, one thing that trips all of my three up?  Repeated reports of biases and stereotypes against people of color.  And who can blame them?  It’s not easy to understand the racial discrimination like the recent incidents in Baltimore and Missouri - especially if you have no point of reference.
The Nations Report card released this week the 2014 eighth grades assessments results for U.S. History, Geography and Civics.  The report found that out of the percentage of 8th grade students that performed at or above proficient in:
  • U.S. history – 26% White, 6% Black, 8% Hispanic, 33% Asian/Pacific Islander
  • Geography – 39% White, 7% Black, 11% Hispanic, 44% Asian/Pacific Islander
  • Civics: 32% White, 9% Black, 12% Hispanic, 40% Asian/Pacific Islander
 If my kiddos don’t understand what happened in the past, where it happened and the impact on society today than I feel like we are in trouble.  How can they take up the fight, passed on by the last generation, for injustices if they don’t understand where the injustice came from and thus how it effects them  today?
I suppose I will have to start giving mini history, geography and civics lessons a little more often.  Riding down the street, listening to the radio and while we watch TV…anyway I can.  At least until they are able to start drawing their own point of reference.


How do you share history with your kiddos, tweens and teens?


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