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Anti-Racism For Kids

What’s the difference between being “not racist” and being “anti-racist”? At a glance, they seem like the same thing, but they really aren’t. 

Being “not racist” may mean that you see all human beings as equal, but it doesn’t mean you’re doing anything about incidents of racism. And it doesn’t even mean you’re learning about the systems that help support racism. In other words, being “not racist” is passive, and it’s not enough.

In contrast, being “anti racist” is about action. It’s about doing what you can in your own sphere to ensure equitable treatment for everyone. It’s about taking responsibility for learning more about racism in all its forms (like in this learning block about hidden history). And sometimes it’s about actively interrupting racism to help keep Black and Brown people safe.

Watch The Video…

History is made up of stories, but only some of them get told…

Now Choose an Activity!

Activity #1: Research The Indigenous People Who Lived Where You Live Now

Use these maps to figure out which indigenous people lived where you do now:

Things To Consider:

  • One stereotype about indigenous people is that they are dark-skinned or at least ‘non-European’, but almost everywhere has indigenous people. There were people in what is now Britain before the Romans, the Celts, the Angles and the Saxons, though not much of their DNA remains in the population. Do you know the make up of your DNA? (You can take tests to find out your genetic origins).
  • Common stereotypes about indigenous people can be positive or negative (grounded, in touch with the earth, not very smart, savage, warlike etc.). Do you have stereotypes about people based upon where they come from?
  • People are more complex than the color of their skin, their origins and where they lived, don’t you think?

Reflect:

Check in with your assumptions of Indigenous people. Why are Indigenous people usually considered more warlike than the people who stole their land?

Activity #2: Central Park

Central Park is well known as a tourist attraction in New York City. It’s one of the biggest urban parks in the world with 843 acres of land. BUT do you know its true history?

  • There was previously an existing village called Seneca Village.
  • The land was seized by the government to create the park. 
  • The original residents were ⅔ Black, ⅓ Irish.
  • Many were landowners but they were described as squatters to enable the government to get their land from them.
  • They didn’t receive adequate compensation for their land.
  • A safe haven for Black people was destroyed.
  • The true history of Central Park was wiped out.
  • The community was destroyed forever.

Learn more:

Before Central Park there was Seneca Village…

Read:

New York destroyed a village full of African-American landowners to create Central Park.

Reflect:

How do you think it’s possible that iconic landmarks, such as Central Park, can be so well known and also have a history that very few people know about?

Activity #3: Black Wall Street

Wall Street is well known as a major financial center, but did you know there once was an area called Black Wall Street?

Black Wall Street was:

  • A relatively prosperous Black community in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
  • Created by a Black landowner who sold to other Black people to create a safe space after the American Civil War.
  • It had an upper-class lifestyle and education that had previously only belonged to the city’s white residents.
  • There was a lot of resentment.
  • A false accusation of a crime (rape) led to race riots.
  • 9,000 people lost their homes, and they never received adequate compensation.
  • This process was seen as a way to put Black people back in their place.

Watch:

The history of Tulsa’s ‘Black Wall Street’ massacre…

 

Consider:

Imagine Black Wall Street continued to be a thriving Black community, what effects might that have had on the country, outside of Tulsa, Oklahoma. How might your own world today look different?

Listen:

Click here to listen to an excerpt from 6 Reasons to Raise your BIPOC KIds in a black majority country.

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