Names, Racial Bias, and Microaggressions

My mother named me after her younger sister, my aunt Brandee. On the one hand, my name is a representation of my mother’s love for her sister. On the other hand, my name is also an alcoholic beverage, with a unique spelling. 

And for as long as I can remember, people have always misspelled it. 

I’ll never forget the day my kindergarten teacher, Ms. Berkowitz, scolded me for misspelling my own name. I explained to her that everyone else spelled my name with a “y,” so I was just going along with what everyone else did. Ms. Berkowitz told me that my mom gave me my name and spelled it “B-R-A-N-D-E-E” for a reason and to never misspell my name again. The reprimand left an impression and inspired me to always insist on people spelling my name correctly.

In addition to misspellings, some children have names that originate from other languages and cultures and have to deal with mispronunciations, unwanted abbreviations and nicknames. These ...

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Talking to Kids about Skin Color

Research suggests that babies start to recognize racial differences between zero to three months old and begin to show signs of internalized racial bias as early as two years old. As parents and teachers, we must recognize that kids notice race and try to make meaning out of it—even if we avoid the topic. 

When we don’t talk to our kids about race, they are left to come to their own conclusions that may or may not be accurate.

Oftentimes, we adults don't know how to respond to our kids' questions and comments about race. This often leads to shushing instead of opening a meaningful and accurate dialogue about racial differences. For example, children tend to have misconceptions about skin color, especially those raised in predominantly White environments. When children internalize Whiteness as the default race, everything about People of Color becomes viewed as “other,” abnormal, and/or exotic, including our skin.   

In a PBS...

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Why You Should Talk to Your Kids About White Privilege

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, children begin to internalize racial bias as early as two years old and become set in their beliefs by age twelve. This bias shows up for White children as internalized White superiority that is reified by consuming all White books, media, and educational content. As a result, White children are raised to believe that they are race-less and that people of color are “others.” It also leaves them blind to the ways that society is set up to benefit them over Black, Indigenous and other People of Color. 

This is why it is vital that we talk to our kids about White privilege or the unearned advantages that White people receive because of their race.

Peggy McIntosh popularized the term “White privilege” in her 1988 essay entitled, White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack. In the essay, McIntosh uses the metaphor of an invisible knapsack to describe the unseen advantages that White people receive...

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Top 5 Reasons to Talk to Your Kids about Race

Although we may think that kids don't notice race, they actually start showing signs of racial bias as early as two years old. Young children are constantly viewing, understanding, and processing the information they are bombarded with to retain for future use.

Your kid notices race and quickly absorbs information and experiences around them. Therefore, we cannot slack on educating our children about race as early as possible.

To shape the future leaders and problem-solvers of tomorrow, we need to build a strong foundation of knowledge. To help you on your journey to antiracist parenting, here are the top five reasons you should start speaking to your children about race today

#5: Kids notice race very early on

There is a common myth that children are too young to notice race; people often think that we develop conceptions about race as we become more critical thinkers.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, children learn about race pretty quickly...

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