Help! I’m White And My Children Are Black - How Do I Support Them?

A question that came up in an anti-racism facilitation session

Hello friends,

When we run Q&A sessions for aspiring anti-racists at Mission Equality, we never know what questions we’ll get. An interesting question came up a while back that I figured other white parents might be interested in, so I thought I’d explore it more here.

The question was: how do I support my Black or Global Majority children as a white parent?

First a caveat: I am clearly NOT a white parent. I do, however, have some insight into what Black kids need. In having conversations, I’ve seen some examples of how to get started on the right track. However, do take time to establish what works in your situation - this is not a blanket approach.

1. Believe your kids when they say they experience racism

First of all, realise that your Black kids are going to have lots of experiences outside your own experience. They are walking through the world in different skin and things that would never occur to you will happen to them regularly. They need you to believe and support them when they say something is racist, even if you can’t fully see it. Sadly, by the time they’re in their teens they’ll likely already have 10 years' experience of spotting racism so they’ll definitely know it when they see it.

2. Make sure they see positive representation

Second, make sure they see positive images of themselves. That means going beyond TV shows with Black sidekicks drawing on old stereotypes - I mean really positive representations. That goes for books too. Find out what other Black kids are reading and watching to give your kids some of the cultural capital they’ll need as they grow up.

3. Get comfortable with their hair

Third, learn about Black hair. And if you can’t do it yourself, find a space where they can get it done. This may be uncomfortable for a while - as all-Black spaces often are for white folx at the start - but learn to live with it. Celebrating their hair the way it grows from their head is priceless. And when they’re old enough, you can wait outside to let them revel in the Black hair care experience. And remember, once they’re past the stage of needing your help, don’t touch their hair unless asked.

Can you help? My fellow writer KS Hernandez worked as a driver till forced to stop because of injury and is struggling to make rent. and buy food. KS has a GoFundMe here.

4. Black spaces matter

Fourth, find Black spaces for them so they can see people who look like them. This will give them a supportive community. That doesn’t mean they can’t have white friends; it just means they can have some spaces where they’ll be able to breathe - this is even more important as they get older.

5. Have “the talk”

Fifth, have the talk. Start early. They need to know how to keep themselves safe with law enforcement because their experience of that will be different from yours, and you won’t always be with them. You can recognise and acknowledge that differing treatment makes no sense but also must recognise and acknowledge that it will happen anyway.

6. Be their advocate, always

Sixth, advocate for your kids in education, medical settings, and justice (hopefully you won’t need that). It’s one place where your white privilege might make a positive difference to them and help keep them safe. Again, this may be less effective as they get older, but it’s a good start.

7. Manage your emotions

Seventh, manage your feelings. There are times when you will feel shut out or that you don’t understand, when your kids are angry about something that happened out there and take it out on you. Know that this means you’re a safe space for them and try to manage your hurt and pain. Because in a world that can make things difficult for them, you need to be a haven they can rely on.

These are just my initial thoughts. If you’re a white parent of Black kids, I’d love you to add your insights in the comments.

Thanks for reading,


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I am an anti-racism educator and activist, Co-Founder of Mission Equality, the author of “I’m Tired of Racism”, and co-host of The Introvert Sisters podcast.

© Sharon Hurley Hall, 2024. All Rights Reserved.

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