by Anastasia Higginbotham:
While watching the morning news, a young White child sees a report of a police officer killing a Black man. While the mother explains that there is nothing to be scared of because “you are safe” and urges her to not “see color,” the young girl is left confused and wanting answers. Why would a Black man be shot by the people that are supposed to keep us safe? When she visits the library, she begins to understand the truth about racism and white supremacy and realizes that it is her responsibility as a person of privilege to help dismantle these systems. Written by a White woman for white parents, this book introduces families to topics related to privilege. Speaking on both systemic and individual racism, and white supremacy (e.g. “White supremacy has been lying to kids for centuries. White supremacy is pretend, but the consequences are real”), this book is especially tangible for White families just starting out with these topics.
Using this book as an educational tool:
Not My Idea opens by explaining that sometimes, parents don't talk about things with their children because parents feel scared or confused too. This is a great opportunity to start racial conversations with your children while acknowledging that these topics can be difficult, and you might not have all the answers. When you can, prompt you children to connect the examples from the book to their own lives, and ask them to reflect about things like fairness and the feelings of people who are treated unfairly by the world around them. Some questions might include
Is it fair for the security guard to only pay attention to the Black child instead of also being concerned about the White child touching the bowls?
Do you notice differences in people around you? What do you see?
How does talking about this make you feel? Remind your child that discomfort, confusion, and mistakes are normal when discussing race and racism.
You can also talk about ways that we can work towards fighting racism in our world, and making the history we create different than that which came before us.