0:00:03 – Speaker 1
Hey, this is Mandy and Kim with nextTalk, where we are passionate about keeping kids safe in the digital world.
0:00:09 – Speaker 2
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0:00:32 – Speaker 1
More than cyber parenting conversations to connect. Today is Martin Luther King Jr Day. What an important moment in our history.
0:00:44 – Speaker 2
Yeah, and you know, it’s a day we set aside to promote civil rights for all Americans, regardless of their background. But, more importantly, we want to say today, even though we set this aside as a day off and a day of recognition, this is a conversation that needs to be happening on a regular basis in our homes and in our community And even though we’re only addressing it today, it’s because we wanted to take some time to highlight a few perspectives and ideas and things for you to think about. We even polled some people so you could hear from someone other than Mandy and I about this topic. So it’s important to us. We really want to dig in here and share a few of these things.
0:01:23 – Speaker 1
Yeah, you know, one of the things that I want to highlight before we get going is Dr King was a preacher, he was a Christian, and so many times today when I see people celebrating him, that is not shared. And when you have an influential person like this, who made history and changed the world literally, we need to think about, like, what were their belief systems and why is that important? And so that’s one of the conversations that I regularly highlight with my kids. This guy was founded on biblical principles and that matters. And you see, that lineup with scripture I mean all over his quotes and his speeches I keep hearing in my mind every tribe, every nation, there will be so many colors and beautiful nations represented in heaven, and we hear that over and over again in scripture. So it lines up to his theology and I think that’s important as we go forward.
0:02:24 – Speaker 2
So our conversation today is kind of going to be propelled by some of the words of Dr King himself. We’ve heard many of his famous quotes, but there are some that I had not even heard as I was preparing for the show, and just some that reminded me of the whole point of what we’re talking about. One of them that I love if you can’t fly, then run. If you can’t run, then walk. If you can’t walk, then crawl. But whatever you do, you have to keep moving forward, and this reminded me that we each need to do our part to continue the conversation that moves society forward. And, of course, as we say all the time at nextTalk, that’s going to start under our own roof.
0:03:05 – Speaker 1
Amen, sister. I mean, we literally change the world by the conversations we have at our dinner table. From a nextTalk perspective, the most important thing we can say here today is that we must talk about race and racism just like all the other topics we discuss at nextTalk. And I want to challenge you today If you find these conversations about race and racism uncomfortable, push into that. What I have learned on this nextTalk journey is that anytime that I’m uncomfortable talking about any subject, that’s a cue that I need to have that conversation.
0:03:39 – Speaker 2
That’s so true, that’s so true. And you’re not alone. We hear from people all the time And, in fact, in preparing for this show, so many people said this is a hard, uncomfortable topic for me. So you are definitely not alone.
0:03:52 – Speaker 1
Well, that’s what we’re here for the nextTalk Village, right, Kim? for those of our listeners who don’t know about your background, I think you should explain it to them, because it’s important for the show.
0:04:02 – Speaker 2
Yeah, my dad is African American and my mom is white and American Indian. Actually, um sorry, and I know that’s the simplest form of describing my background, but you get the picture. Growing up by racial, we didn’t even talk about racism a lot, i think a lot of times, because it was uncomfortable or it felt kind of taboo. At times I talked with my dad about it sometimes, but not a lot. He spent more time talking to my brothers and my sister And then my mom.
I think she didn’t always know exactly how much to talk about it. Was it too scary? Was she saying too much? Was it going to make me feel uncomfortable? And so we didn’t talk as much about racism. We talked about race, but not as much about racism. When I was growing up, i think a major player in this conversation, especially for my mom, is she didn’t want me to feel bad and she wasn’t sure how to handle the topic. For example, when I was a baby, she was rejected by most of her side of the family because I was what they called the ultimate sin, being black and white, like they wouldn’t even touch me, and I think she was concerned that that would be so painful for me that it was hard for her to know how much to share and how much not to share, and so sometimes in those situations, it’s easier not to share, and so I think that was a big part of it. She was protecting me.
0:05:22 – Speaker 1
I mean, that hit me really hard, Kim. What you just said is that they wouldn’t touch you because they thought you were the ultimate sin. I mean, Christians, what, What? This cannot be, This cannot be. You know, I just can’t wrap my head around the fact that people thought that When Dr King is a pastor, his theology comes from biblical principles. We see it over and over again in Scripture. It’s just hard for me to fathom.
0:05:51 – Speaker 2
Well then you fast forward to a couple of days ago, sitting at my table preparing for this show, and I looked across at my daughter and she said what are you writing, mom? And I said I’m writing a show about racism. And she said I still can’t believe that’s a real thing. I really thought you made that up when you told me about it. So generationally, i think we’ve come a little bit down the road. But also it makes you realize how important it is to start that conversation with kids are young because they are not born racist.
0:06:20 – Speaker 1
I love that, Kim, And when your youngest daughter asked you what you were working on, you didn’t avoid the question. You were super honest with her because I know you in your mind you’re thinking maybe this will bring up a great conversation about race and we can talk about it right here.
0:06:33 – Speaker 2
Mom, are you nextTalking this again?
0:06:35 – Speaker 1
Yeah, That’s a perfect example of how not to avoid a discussion about race.
0:06:42 – Speaker 2
Yeah, Well, racism is very much alive and well, even though things have changed I don’t want to pretend that we’ve come so far that it’s not a thing But it is important that the conversation starts very early. I mean, i even read some studies recently. There’s so many out there that talk about kids recognize race as early as two and three years old, and they’ll ask very innocent questions, and if at that time we’re sweeping it under the rug, it makes them think something’s wrong. If we’re not willing to talk about that when they’re little, then they already are getting the impression that it’s not okay to talk about and that there’s a difference or something that’s negative, and so it’s a perfect opportunity when they’re little to answer their questions when they’re easy and start setting the stage that conversation about this in our home is okay.
0:07:31 – Speaker 1
Can you give us some examples of how you would handle this if, say, you’re two or three year old, at the grocery store, made a comment about somebody’s skin color, or they’re different, or whatever? How?
0:07:42 – Speaker 2
would you handle that? Well, I’ve had that question many times, even though my kids are also biracial. they’re kind of K-uns, so they’re in between. you know their kids and they notice differences, everything from eye patches to skin color, And in the grocery store always and at a very loud voice, it’s never like at home. you know what I mean. So you have to be ready for those questions, And what I usually say when it comes to race is yes, they have a different skin color, isn’t it beautiful? It’s usually my first. It’s an open-ended response because I want them to first recognize that there is beauty in other skin colors. And then we go into the conversation about God made all different types of skin colors. The color of our skin does not determine what’s in our heart, And so that’s how we answer it, kind of in the moment, And then it usually brings up ongoing conversation.
0:08:31 – Speaker 1
That’s so good. You know, one of the conversations I’ve been having recently you just shared with little kids. One of the conversations I’ve had with my older kids they’re both teenagers is the fact that I get a little irritated that different movements try to latch on to the civil rights movement and what Dr King accomplished, and what I mean by that is we are to treat everyone with respect and never bully, and love one another Absolutely no matter what, no matter what, no matter what. But the difference is no one is arguing if people are born with different skin colors. There’s no argument there. Everybody agrees you are born with your skin color, right? However, other movements, like the sexuality and gender movement, just are the two that come to mind.
For me, there’s still a debate going on there if you’re born that way or not. There’s still people on both sides of the fence that nature versus nurture argument and psychology. That is still ongoing about that, about those movements. And so for me, i think it’s really important that we stress with our kids how important the civil rights movement is on its own. It shouldn’t be lumped with all the other. I mean, what Dr King did needs to be celebrated in its own way, and I mention this because I travel, i speak at churches, you know, i see all the thing.
I love the church, i love the local church, but I often see people in church avoid the racism conversation because they think then it will lead to gender and sexuality conversations that they’re not ready for. And I feel like it is so, so critical for Christians everywhere to speak out against racism. And if you separate the movements, then they’re their own conversations and you don’t get roped into all the things Now amongst all the movements. Again, we love everybody, default to love and we respect but they’re different and they’re unique and the conversations will vary.
0:10:51 – Speaker 2
It’s important. You say this because you’re speaking from an older kid perspective And, i think, kind of rewinding back a little bit to the age of my kids.
If at a young age you are making it normal to have conversations about race and you’re not sweeping it under the rug, then when you get to these bigger conversations where there’s debates and they’re looking at the world through the lens of social media and this movement and this is happening and there’s all these other facets of the conversation, if you’ve planted the seed and the groundwork that racism is wrong And that they know that, they know that they know that skin color doesn’t determine someone’s worth, then it makes those conversations a lot easier because they trust you and you’ve already started it at a young age.
So they’ll come to you and say, hey, what do you think about this? And you get the chance to speak into that. Because I’m telling you from a young age our kids are little sponges and they’re seeing commercials, they’re watching how people are treated around them, they’re looking at the skin color of their dolls and all these different things that you may not be speaking into it, but the world is speaking into it And if we’re not pouring into that little sponge someone else is, and they may develop viewpoints or discrimination against certain people or things just based on what they’re exposed to. So it’s so important that we begin these conversations young and continue them as they get older.
0:12:14 – Speaker 1
I thought your perspective was so important for this show, but you also wanted to pull some people, which I thought was great, and you wanted to get some different perspectives. Tell us what you heard when you asked people hey, we’re doing a racism show, what do you think about this?
0:12:30 – Speaker 2
Well interesting, of the handful of people that I spoke to. Two of the people, two parents, were like I have no words, like I don’t even know what to say. I know it’s important. I don’t talk to my kids about it, i don’t bring it up because I just it’s scary and I don’t know what to say. And that was really eyeopening for me. But also at the same time, like we brought up in the beginning of the show, we get it.
Sometimes topics feel very taboo, They make us nervous, we don’t know what to say And so we avoid them. But, as we just mentioned, the world doesn’t. They’re talking about it. And so if you feel strongly and you know the truth about something, it’s important to have a voice in your child’s life. So that was the first thing that kind of stood out. But you know, i’m not Asian, i’m not a male, you know I wanted to hear perspectives from other cultures and other people, and so that was the other reason that I did this.
So one dad I talked to he has three kids and he’s of Asian descent. He said we have to unpack our own racism and really be honest with ourselves, ask God to heal and forgive that sin before we can help our kids. And I loved this because, you know, as we were conversing about it, he said I think most of us are fooling ourselves if we said we’ve never had a racist thought. And he said it’s just a part of life. Sometimes We hear something or we think a certain way or there’s a stereotype we lean into. And he said the good thing is that God will forgive that if we’re honest about it and we confess it as a sin, then we can be truthful with our kids and we can walk them through that process. So I really appreciated his perspective.
0:14:08 – Speaker 1
Well, i think I feel like he’s a nextTalk dad, because one of our core principles here is we say look in the mirror, like we have issues in our life that we have to address where we’re maybe wrong or we may think wrong things, and being able to address those is critical if we’re going to change it around for our kids. So I love that word so much.
0:14:28 – Speaker 2
So another guy that I talked to, he’s a white dad of two kids. He had a great quote that I think a lot of us can relate to, especially if you’re around our age. We grew up with this, but I loved what he said. I used to tell my kids to be colorblind. Then I realized that by saying that I was basically suggesting that they should not recognize and appreciate the beauty of differences. People want and need to be seen and loved, inclusive of their skin color, not exclusive. I love that. Now I teach my kids to see, learn and love. I was like I’m gonna quote you, brother. Like that is good stuff, Go white right, go white.
0:15:09 – Speaker 1
That’s it. I love this, too, because I have heard that, growing up, You too, you shouldn’t see color. It’s all everyone’s equal. And even though that’s true, i love the shift that we’ve made now, because you should see color and you should celebrate it. I mean, that is how you were born, that’s how God knit you together in your mother’s womb. Let’s celebrate your heritage and the color of your skin.
0:15:36 – Speaker 2
Yes, it was good stuff. And then the last one what else? Okay, the last one I wanna share is also I guess they’re all kind of my favorite the ones that I chose to share today. This is an African-American mom of four four boys, in fact. She says I talk to my boys about racism because I want to prepare their hearts for the injustices they will face, but also for the grace and love they’ll need to employ to change the world. It’s an equal charge. I take very seriously a balance. If I only teach my kids about racism, they’ll grow up to hate and be resentful. As a believer, we use the example of Jesus to guide our conversations. You will do nothing wrong. You may even do something wonderful, and there will be people who hate you simply because of the shade of your skin or the shape of your eyes. Dust off your feet and move on. Pray for them as you walk away and make it your mission to love. anyway, i was like girl, you are raising leaders Like I have a daughter over here.
0:16:45 – Speaker 1
That is powerful, right there, right The grace and love that exudes from that, in the middle of knowing that her boys are gonna face racism personally, instead of her getting better and wanting to teach them to love and work through it. Man, i am cheering them on, right.
0:17:07 – Speaker 2
You know, what I didn’t share here about her that we talked about is she grew up very differently than how she’s raising her kids. There was not the love and the grace, it was the bitterness a lot of times in her household and she knew that that was a problem. It wasn’t making things better. So she prayed very much before having kids and praise every day that she can raise boys that have a balance and I love that. I think that’s just incredible, amazing. She’s my hero, looks good Like that gave me hope for the future that we’ve got these three people all three different backgrounds, different families, different areas who are taking a stand against racism by raising their kids different. I mean that’s exciting.
0:17:51 – Speaker 1
Well, and let’s be honest, These parents that are doing the hard work at their dinner table every night, they’re not on the news. There are lots of families like them and we need to hang on to that because the ones making the news are the bad ones, the horrible ones, and we need that because we need to call it out and I get that. But sometimes we lose hope because we don’t hear these just normal people making a difference with their kids.
0:18:18 – Speaker 2
And wow, i’m so glad you took the opportunity to ask them It was really encouraging and it kind of ties in with a quote from Martin Luther King Jr What they’ve done in their lives. We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools. And all three of them basically were like we knew we had to do something different in our families. I think that’s admirable.
0:18:41 – Speaker 1
So, kim, we have talked a little bit about some conversations that we’ve had with your young kids and my old kids, but what are some more just practical ways that we can address this? Let’s just go down some, because I just want people to leave this show knowing one how important it is to talk about race and racism in their home and two practical ways to maybe bring this up or answer their kids’ questions.
0:19:07 – Speaker 2
Well, one that I get a lot that I think is just real basic and that we need to be prepared for is that if your child comes home and makes a negative racial comment, ask him or her in a non-judgemental tone. This is, we need to have the mom or dad filter on What makes you say that, because I have failed at this. My kids have said something before and I’m like what You know? because you’re just taking it back Like you don’t say that. How could you say that word? Or how could you think that?
No, we need to take a breath for a minute and then say what would make you say that Or where did you hear that? And then listen. And I think that’s the hard part, because sometimes we want to jump in and we want to give the sermon and the speech and give the rules, and we don’t do that. Really, listen to what your kid has to say, because then you can take that information and you can help them to process what they’ve heard and then counter it with truth, not in a judgmental, argumentative way. But here’s what we believe in, why, if you’ll never get to that, if you respond badly and you send them to their room or scare them, and they’ll never keep asking you questions about it if you freak out.
0:20:20 – Speaker 1
Well, and a lot of times too, when you ask the question I love this, what makes you say that? Or where did you hear that? If you come back with that, you’re just gathering more context. So you’re figuring out where their little brain is and what they’re processing, and then you can formulate like what do I need to cover with my child? What are the lessons I need to give them?
Otherwise, we do go into the 20 minute lecture and they may only need the two minutes but they miss it because then they tune us out. So I think that’s why it’s so important. One of the things that I’ve noticed kind of a trend in is kids saying things like maybe they’re using white paper at school and they’ll call it racist, so anything white or black they’ll be like oh, that’s my guy. I’ve kind of seen that trend with kids and I’ve heard about it from other parents And you know I use that as a teachable moment to talk to my kids about overusing the word racism, because that is a powerful word and it needs to be called out when it happens. But if we use it for everything, then people become numb to it And so, again, this is more of an older kid conversation, but I think it’s an important one.
0:21:33 – Speaker 2
It is. That’s really true And that kind of fits with what I was thinking about in terms of overusage or desensitization A lot of times with what our kids see and hear online or even in their cartoons or in their social interactions. they are not sensitive to injustice because it happens very casually sometimes. So you can use books, stories, experiences that you have, your own sharing of what’s happened in your life to help your kids develop empathy by walking them through a situation or by recognizing. maybe you’re watching a news story. It’s so easy to glaze over it and move on, but we can take those moments to help your kids develop empathy that they can then apply to people who are different than them. So take that moment to say, oh my goodness, i can’t imagine what that would feel like. Or put yourself in that person’s shoes. What do you think you would be thinking in that moment? These are great little tools you can walk them through to develop that empathy muscle that can be used to help them be kind and thoughtful to others who are different.
0:22:38 – Speaker 1
So, Kim, what that looks like for me with two teenagers on social media is a viral story on social media that’s trending, something like that We’re able to talk through it, especially on race, reminding them we need to judge this person on the content of their character, not the color of their skin. That’s another great quote from Martin Luther King. Just these one-liners that you can throw out can be helpful.
0:23:03 – Speaker 2
Something that a lot of times we think we don’t have to say, but we do, is that there’s a clear family guideline that it’s not acceptable to tease or reject someone based on their race or identity. We have to say that Sometimes we assume with these things, with raising our kids, that they just know better. We do that with all kinds of things like taking nude pictures or just different things that you’ll come across as your kids are getting older. We are here to tell you you must assume they don’t know, and we’re not saying that your kids not brilliant. We’re saying that these are things you have to clearly state and have a conversation ongoing in your household about, and this is one of them that we don’t judge people for their race or identity.
0:23:45 – Speaker 1
Well, that comes straight from Scripture, right? The Golden Rule Treat each other the way you want to be treated. Great one-liner that you can throw out all the time. It’s the Golden Rule.
0:23:55 – Speaker 2
A lot of schools use it, but it’s actually in Scripture And they remember those one-liners because they’re easy. It’s not some long speech that we’re giving. If we can throw those one-liners that make sense to them, it really does stick.
0:24:07 – Speaker 1
Another thing kids tend to view people as all good or all bad. They stereotype and they put in boxes. We need to help our child recognize human complexity and learn to consider similarities and differences between people and appearance, feelings, preferences, behaviors, everything. Just creating that awareness, I think, is you can’t put this person in a box, You can’t assume this.
0:24:38 – Speaker 2
Again, those are little one-liners that you can use, Yeah that’s really true, And earlier when we were talking about the mom of the four boys and earlier when we were talking about the African-American mom who has four boys and she’s found that balance between preparing her kids and talking to them about racism but empathy and love. This is really a charge for that Balance your acknowledgement of the reality of racism with messages about hope for change. Because if we only talk about racism and how awful it is and scary and all the different things that we can lump underneath it and they are all true our kids can feel hopeless And we want to encourage and empower them with the truth that, yes, racism is real and it still exists, But there is hope for change and it starts with them. It starts with us, under our roof. It starts with conversations, And I don’t mean that in a cheesy way, I mean that in the sense that it’s like a grassroots movement. It has to start with each family making a decision to not be racist and raising their kids that way.
0:25:40 – Speaker 1
Well, and the other thing, too is if your kids come home and they say so-and-so at school, said this and it is a obviously a racist comment. You know, one of the things is talking them through why that’s wrong, praying for that person and maybe even contacting your school in an anonymous way just to say, hey, this happened. I need you to know and be aware of this, that way the school can know. We need to work on this a little bit more. We need to train, we need to speak into that Again, each person just doing what we need to do when it’s right.
0:26:14 – Speaker 2
Yes, You’re basically saying another Martin Luther King Jr quote. The time is always right to do what is right, And that’s when we actually have on our desk here. There’s never a wrong time to do the right thing, basically, And so even a little step like that is a part of change.
0:26:30 – Speaker 1
Well, the other thing too is you’re never going to regret loving someone You know. You’re never going to regret that. And that reminds me of another quote from Dr King where it says I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear. Amen, that right there. I mean I see scripture all over that. It flashes in front of my eyes the way Jesus dealt with the woman at the well who had five husbands, the woman caught in adultery, like all these things. How he loved so well. And those weren’t skin killer, those were behaviors. They were choosing that right, but race, race born that way. He would celebrate that. He did celebrate that.
One other thing that I want to add here in just little conversation starters we had a mom reach out to us recently and her child had been subjected to racist comments at school And it just completely broke my heart. But at the same time I was so glad the mom was wanting to address it and wasn’t sweeping it under the rug. I mean she was like I need to tell my son something. I’m struggling because she was really upset and mad and hurt, right Obviously. And, kim, i asked you for like a list. We kind of went through and we had some conversation starters to tell her. But one of the things that you said that I loved and it was just a little one liner that you’ve said to your young kids was everyone’s insides are the same, we just come wrapped in different packages. I just think that’s a great little one liner to tell your little kids too.
0:28:06 – Speaker 2
Sometimes it’s something very simple that sticks with them. That can change everything. The important thing is talking. Don’t sweep it under the rug. And if you’re one of those people that I interviewed like one of those people that I interviewed that said we don’t talk about it because it’s just scary, we don’t know what to say, it’s OK, don’t beat yourself up. But we hope today some of these conversation starters encourage you to take that first step and start the conversation in your home, because that’s the real way that we’re going to change racism.
0:28:36 – Speaker 1
Let’s end by a quote from Martin Luther King, and again this has scripture written all over it, and it’s one of our favorites Darkness cannot drive out darkness. Only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate. Only love can do that. Above all, y’all, love others.
Transcribed by https://podium.page