Raising a Racially Sensitive Child: Sadiqa Reynolds
In early June, protests spanned the globe in a unified call to end systemic racism and police brutality toward people of color. Bands of peaceful protestors filled the sidewalks in Old Louisville, downtown, and the east and west ends of our city, locking arms and showing up despite a pandemic, tear gas, and 90-degree heat.
Sadiqa Reynolds, president and CEO of the Louisville Urban League, caught up with Today’s Woman amidst a media storm, a little breathless and exhausted from the week’s traumatic events, to discuss what parents can do to raise a racially sensitive child.
Sadiqa, an activist and mother of two herself, says that the first step begins before your children are even born. Raising racially sensitive children starts with being racially sensitive yourself. Parents need to examine their choices and optics of race — examine their own personal biases and prejudices. Consider who you are hiring to clean your house or do your landscaping and who you choose to be your lawyer, physician, business partner, friend, or neighbor.
Our children need to see diversity in all sectors, including our bookshelves, Sadiqa says. We can read books with black and brown heroes to our children when they are still in the womb, and be intentional in seeking out culturally competent resources like Play Cousins Collective. “We must have a different conversation about race, and stop painting people with broad brushes.”
Sadiqa says we need to understand the media’s role in creating these stereotypes and perpetuating systemic racism. “Above all, we need to teach our children to ask questions. It’s a tough time to be a parent…We need to talk about the news, be honest about where the flaws are, and how African Americans are being portrayed. But we don’t have to pretend to know everything, we just have to keep asking questions ourselves, and dig deeper to look at the root causes [of our city’s problems]. We all need to have a diverse feed of information.”
Ultimately, Sadiqa asserts, being a critical thinker will not only make us, but will make our children, better human beings.