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Challenge: Open Discussion

What we talk about when we talk about coronavirus with our kids

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Our kids are listening. And what they hear plays out on the playground. If we are talking about the coronavirus at home, our kids are likely talking about it at school.

My friends, these are the days when we MUST be talking to our children about racism because these are the days when racism is taught.

Can I ask you to please consider how you are discussing COVID-19 at home? Our kids are listening closely to try to make sense of what our anxious statements might mean. If they hear the adults they trust making comments about the virus and China, do they understand the difference between our politics and our concern for the people of China? Possibly not. So let’s talk to our kids. They want to understand, and they need us to help them.

Just this week, our three Chinese-American children experienced:

- Adults sharing that they are throwing away anything that was “Made in China”.

- Children touching our daughter and then pretending she was most contagious during a group game of coronavirus.

- Another child discarding items that were “Made in China” on our child’s desk.

- Adults asking if our kids know about the virus because they are Chinese-American.

My friends, these are the days when we MUST be talking to our children about racism because these are the days when racism is taught.

Those kids, the ones on the playground making comments, aren’t somebody else’s kids, they are OUR kids. They aren’t bad kids; they are kids repeating what they’ve heard.

We can’t afford to assume that our kids won’t misunderstand, distort, or repeat what they hear from us. And if they overhear us making racist virus jokes in check-out lines or with neighbors, our kids will likely make racist jokes in their worlds.

So, can we pause here? Can we consider who WE want to be, who we want our kids to be, and then rethink our coronavirus commentary?

For our kids, our words can play out for them through basic addition.

Jokes About the Coronavirus + China = Racism is Funny

Panic at Home = Panicked Kids

Racism at Home=Racism at School

Scary Talk at Home + Virus + China = Kids Scared of Asians

Can I also propose that NOT talking about the coronavirus, or asking your kids to not talk about it, creates stigma too? We need our community of kids to understand the happenings of the world and how it affects the people in it. So, let’s talk to our kids about the facts, about our hearts for people, and about how to handle coronavirus games on the playground.

These are the days when we MUST be talking to our children about racism because these are the days when racism is taught.

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