Racist Violence and Broken Social Trust

Hello Friends. My mind and my heart have been reeling this last week. As a society, we have a lot of racial and class injustice to contend with. Access to care disparities, financial disparities, housing disparities, infection risk disparities, health disparities, food disparities and more, all being amplified by global crisis. Our vulnerable and minority communities are already shouldering so much burden and marginalization; witnessing the horrifying public murder of George Floyd has broken the dam of grief. Communities across America, including ours, are flooded.

There is a huge and gaping wound in our society. Our kids know it, they need to understand it, and the best way to understand is to take in the experiences and perspectives of the folks who have most directly lived this pain. Racism has clear, significant, and lasting impacts on the health and well-being of children. I, as an adult, am overwhelmed with the enormity and persistence of racial injustice in this country. This is my community–my friends, my patients, my family. My grief runs deep as I’m sure many of you also feel. Know that I am holding grief with you. But now, more than ever, is a time to amplify Black voices and minority experiences.

This blog post is short because I really want you to read this blog post by Jaqueline Douge, MD. Dr. Douge is a bi-racial pediatrician who helped write the American Academy of Pediatrics policy statement on racism’s impacts on child and adolescent health. She also helped author Healthy Children’s article helping parents talk with their children about racial bias and this article about racism. Dr. Douge has a podcast and blog called What is Black, a platform to discuss and address the systemic obstacles that black children face, with the goal of helping black children thrive. As a white parent dedicated to anti-racist efforts and seeking out resources to better understand my own role in perpetuating racial disparity, I found Episode 40 of the What is Black podcast to be particularly poignant.

-For more anti-racism resources click here.

-If you are seeking out ways to inspire conversations about race and racism, here are two book lists, with recommended ages: Coretta Scott King award winners, EmbraceRace.org

-For more BIPOC-centered perspectives on parenting, listen weekly to the Fare of the Free Child podcast.

-For a concise article around conversations by age, check out this article by The Children’s Community School.

Before I sign off, I want to normalize how much this hurts. This is a painful, complex, and overwhelming time. Anxiety, depression, anger are all normal human responses to trauma but they can also be overwhelming. We are here for you and your children. Call us.

EDIT: Dr. Jackie Douge is hosting a LIVE event tomorrow June 3rd @ 10 am discussing how to talk with children about racist violence. Here’s a link.

ADDITIONAL EDIT: CNN is teaming up with Sesame Street to conduct a kids town hall on racism. Saturday, June 6th @ 10 am EST.