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Happy Black History Month: A Call To Action for Parents Raising White Children

My passion is to work with parents and caregivers to build the confident, calm and connected experience they deserve with their children so that they can flourish and thrive.

But today I come to you with an urgent call, an ongoing heartbeat that must be addressed immediately and is even bigger than our parenthoods. I come to you with a call to parents of white children who are committed to dismantling systemic racism. I have a call to action that begins in the home.

We might not know a lot.

We might feel we do not know enough.

We might not know where to start.

But it is imperative that we no longer remain silent or ignore. For that silence is complicity.

So for me, one small step forward in this work is for all us parents who are raising white children to stay informed, in conversation, proactive, and ready to act despite discomfort. So for all those who have long wanted to lean into this work but haven't been sure how, here are some thoughts for how to start:

Then, in celebration of Black History Month, I am inviting you to join me in a very special and free forum that is dedicated to holding space for the necessary ongoing learning about how to confront our own privilege and complicity, and be able to then clearly, lovingly, and calmly discuss racism (and the other isms) with our white children.

We are in a unique time in the history of our nation. Economic and racial disparity have led to staggering devastation and the infuriatingly invisible oppression of many of our black and brown neighbors has become increasingly visible simply by virtue of the fact of what some are calling a blind pandemic. But this pandemic is far from blind. It is rather making it abundantly clear that we have reached a tipping point. And I desperately hope that we are finally waking up to the criminally unequal state of our nation.

It is tragically clear, in the wake of 16 million new unemployment claims and disproportionate death rates among the POC community not to mention the violence, that if we don’t shift now, much like our climate catastrophe (which is a direct cause of this pandemic), we might move beyond a point of no return. It is up to us, as parents of the next generation to expose our children to these disparities so that they might have a fighting chance in doing things differently.

I believe that if our children are able to grow up in a world where these topics were the opposite of taboo they would then be truly equipped with the resilience, vulnerability, critical thinking and collaboration that are the keystones to shifting things as they are. I believe that if we raise our children in an environment where the uncomfortable necessity of hard conversations are the norm then maybe hard and necessary acts will happen too. 

Like the separation of capitalism from our political system, for one. Imagine how the legal landscape might look and feel if political and special interests were to play no role.

Like a mindset of sustainability, access for ALL, where fair is everyone gets what they NEED, and the care of our sick mother earth were of the utmost importance. 

Because we’re maybe too scared to have the conversation, instead we live in a chasm of inequity. The past few months have shone a glaring light on the disparities in health, economic wellbeing, educational opportunity, and access to sustainable jobs that have always existed. This global ordeal has further highlighted the indecencies of disproportionate imprisonment of marginalized populations and the promises that have been broken over and over and over again by those in power. 

 And that is why it is more so than ever the responsibility of us parents of white children to learn to move past our white fragility and fear and to speak up. We must learn to hold hard and ongoing conversations with our children, and create a culture where talking about the violent and horrific truth of our nations history is no longer taboo. So that the history may build a different path from here on out.

Our children, our white children, must be shown a different path to forge. One where we are no longer silent. One where we speak up against any small or large injustices we witness. One where our children might guide us towards TRUE integration because they have watched their parents act and fighting for justice is in the air we breath.

Now is the time to get better at calling each other out when we inevitably make a misstep. We need to model the reflective nature of doing it better and trying again. Black and brown families do not have the luxury of deciding when they are going to have "the talk” about race. And neither do we.

As long as police brutality and our school to prison pipeline exists, we must talk. As long as economic and educational disparities continue to be be the system, we must talk. As long as marginalized populations remain more at risk of a pandemic, of poverty, of hunger, of lack of access, and all of the God-given rights that our country claims to uphold, we must talk. 

So here comes my invitation:


 This is a call to action to parents of white children to join together with me to dismantle our inherited colonialism and forge a new way.

Some ways to get started:

  1. Listen to my podcast episode on the topic.

  2. Then, register for my ongoing forum for Race Conscious Parenting held in marco polo. This is an app that is essentially like a video walkie talkie. The beauty in this is that we get to share in real time and whenever we are moved to listen or speak. Someone shares a quick video and the others watch whenever they are moved. They respond when they are able and so on. There are no meetings or deadlines, simply ongoing support, discussion, relearning, dismantling of our biases and growing together. And because it is with video, it adds a special intimate touch that I believe is crucial to this work.

Have a question to pose to the group? Do it. 

Want to share a triumph or have the need to hash out a hard moment? Post a video. 

Anyone in the group can view and respond whenever works for them.

And in between this, we can hold more formal zoom get together whenever we wish to cover topics like:

  • how to partake in our own antiracist healing

  • building a more inclusive home environment

  • what to do when someone calls us on our privilege

  • what is white fragility

  • creating access to genuine connection and integration

  • how to foster true inclusion

  • how to move towards stage 5 of multicultural transformation

And more.

Let’s ban together and learn how to wade through our fear and vulnerability so that we may model a different possibility for our children to inherit.

Here’s the way I see it: our generation already has one foot through this door. If we raise them the right way, our children will already be two feet in. And then imagine what may happen if they are!

Join me!

Register HERE.

With light,

Sivanne Lieber

The Joyous Parent

Talk to our children BECAUSE of rather than despite our white fragility. 

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