Race and Racism

Race and Racism

I want to discuss the pink elephant in the room.  I want there to be open and honest talk about race and racism.  Regardless of where your opinion lies regarding the outcome come the George Zimmerman trial, there needs to be more talk about race relations in this country.  Not only do we need to have this conversation, but our children also need to hear it.
It boggles my mind that so many news outlets are saying, “It’s not about race.”  We will never know to what extent race played a role on the night of Trayvon Martin’s death. However, the race discussion is going on as we speak.  It is evident in the L.A. riots from last night.  It’s evident on Facebook.  Everyone is talking about race.  However, everyone is tip-toeing around the issue.
Now is the time to be open and honest about all the possible ways race and racism are factors in everyday life.  Race and racism exist and existed.  Why not take the opportunity to talk about Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr? Malcolm X? President John F. Kennedy? Robert Kennedy? Assassinations? Civil Rights Movement?  Let’s analyze the past and the present.  Let’s talk about how far we have come.  Let’s talk about how far we still have to go. No matter what, let’s talk.  The pink elephant of race and racism cannot and should not be ignored.  This is a great time to talk to our children about race and racism.
Our children will not know about history if we are unwilling to share it.  Lessons learned are important to review.  It is important to have these discussions as a family.  Consider starting this conversation by discussing the history of segregated schools.  Your child may have learned about Brown v. The Board of Education. However, talking about it as a family will leave an indelible mark on our children.  
Consider taking them to a museum that shows artifacts from that time period.  Seeing is believing and feeling, especially for children.  I know when I went to the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, I was moved by their exhibit on Ruby Bridges.  She was a 6-year-old girl who was the youngest to integrate and attend a “white school” in 1960.  The exhibit is called “The Power of Children: Making a Difference.”  Pictures of the exhibit are available online (http://bit.ly/1oxlajs). Use the website as a tool to help you have an open dialogue with your children; the museum has a family guide available in PDF format. Race and racism are important topics to discuss; our children need to hear it from us, not just school or the TV.
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About Nancy M. Silva, MD, FAAP

I'm a Board Certified Pediatrician. I've been in practice since 2000. I'm happily married with two children. I graduated Medical School from the State University of New York (SUNY) Downstate College of Medicine in Brooklyn, NY. My Pediatric Residency training was at University of South Florida, College of Medicine. I've been in private practice since 2000. As a medical student, I had the privilege to care for children at Kings County Hospital & Downstate Medical Center in urban Brooklyn. As a resident, I cared for children at Tampa General Hospital & All Children's Hospital in St. Petersburg, Florida. These experiences helped shape the Pediatrician I am today.

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