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How to talk to your parents about racism – with Stop Hate UK

Conversations can be difficult, but they need to be had

Written by Liv Grady

March 24, 2021

anti racism fist symbol

If you have been living at home during lockdown, it’s safe to say that there has probably been some conversations about race over the dinner table. Whether you have been discussing issues about Black Lives Matter, Megan Markle or topics you have seen on TikTok, conversations about racism can be difficult to navigate.

We have teamed up with our friends at Stop Hate UK to offer some advice on talking to your parents and family about race.

It’s very difficult when a parent makes a racist remark – how do you react? Do you call them out on it and risk upset or argument? Do you try and make light of it or just brush it under carpet, but that doesn’t feel right to you?

Take a look at the tips from Stop Hate UK to ensure that your important conversations go as smoothly as possible.

Talking to your parents about race- How to call someone out on a remark

  1. Choose your moment
  2. Talk about how you feel
  3. Ask them to clarify what they say
  4. Challenge the behaviour, not the person

Choose your moment

Try not to react angrily if you hear a parent saying something you disagree with. Find a quieter time and place where you can speak calmly and rationally. If you can’t do that, or have to counteract their words straight away, do it without anger.

Talk about how you feel

Telling them how you feel, when they say/do things you consider racist or racially biased is important. No one can be blamed for how they feel but it is important to consider how you act on your feelings and if you need to challenge someone’s words this should be done with the aim of helping them to understand the impact of their words or attitudes. However, it is important to remember that, while it is acceptable to have discussions and opinions about race, outright hate speech, which for example, stirs up racial hatred, and other forms of prejudiced behaviour may be a crime and can be prosecuted.

Ask them to clarify what they say

‘When you say xxx, what do you mean?’ Don’t put words into their mouth, but you might want to ‘reflect’ their words back to them by quoting them directly. This gives them a chance to think about how their words are received by others and to open up a discussion where opinions can be aired and challenged on both sides.

Challenge the behaviour, not the person

Calling someone a racist is never going to produce a good outcome. It will cause someone to become defensive and they may even even try to justify their behaviour. Address the behaviour rather than the person ‘When you say that is can sound racist’ or ‘Do you realise that someone hearing your words might feel you are expressing a racist attitude’. Trying to open up conversation rather than shutting someone down is a more productive and effective way to challenge racist remarks. Ask how someone hearing their words might feel – While we can never put ourselves in the shoes of someone who is targeted by racist or discriminatory actions, we can begin to empathise and understand by thinking about how these actions affect them.

Remember…

Racism is a huge issue that will not be solved overnight. Many racist attitudes and biases are the product of upbringing and a sense of ‘that’s how it’s always been’, and it is hard for people to let go of this and start thinking differently. But everyone taking a stand and considering their own unconscious (or conscious) bias will help to improve the social climate and create a fairer world for everyone.

Missguided x Stop hate UK

missguided anti racism hoodie
missguided anti racism hoodie

We have teamed up with the charity Stop Hate UK to bring you our Anti Racism collection. 100% of all profits made will go directly to Stop Hate UK.

We have worked closely with the charity to design a collection that not only speaks out about racism, but highlights the importance of being ANTI- racist. Wear your t-shirt with pride and speak out about what really matters.

Find out more about the Black Lives Matter movement, with information and resources here.