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Hate is taught... How do you explain racism to your children?

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Hate is taught... those words have been swarming around in my head for days now. As a mother of two beautiful brown skinned girls, I am shaken to the core by what happened this weekend in Charlottesville. This is the world my kids live in. This isn't some movie clip from WWII; this is now...

Wow... This is now.

My 9 year old asked me about what was on the news. She asked if it was something about the Holocaust or Hitler because she saw the swastika... She has learned what happened in history and knew what that flag symbolizes.

I had no words.

How can I muster together words to tell her that those flags, that symbol that she knows means hate and destruction was flying high this weekend in the USA?

Now please, don't get me wrong, by no means am I naive, I know this isn't new, I know they've always been out there but now they're out in the open for the world to see, for my 9 yr old to see. Now that she knows what these symbolize how do I explain why they're here and how do I protect her?

How do I explain that there are people in our own country that hate us, without even knowing us, solely based on the color of our skin? They don't know us from Steve but because we're brown and have the last name Rodriguez these people don't like us, they think we're less of a human they they are.

Hate is taught...

I sat and thought about this for some time, I'm sure my blank stare caught her off guard but I had to say something important, impact-full especially with a mind that soaks up all of the information we throw at her I had to be careful how I explained things. I looked at those big brown eyes of hers and said "some people aren't raised the way mommy and daddy are raising you and sissy. Some people are raised with different beliefs and they are taught that people who don't look like them or talk like them aren't as good as they are. They are taught to hate people who aren't like them. The people who are out with those flags saying bad things were taught that their race is the only good one. Now before you get upset or before you start to judge them remember that not everyone thinks this way mamas. There are more people in the world that are being taught like we are teaching you. I know it's a little scary but just know that we have to believe that good will always win and love will trump hate. Knowledge is power and as long as we learn from what history has taught us those of us that choose good can make sure it doesn't repeat. We can start a new chapter. "

Hate is taught...
We are teaching our girls inclusion, equality, and love. We are teaching our girls not to judge others no matter what they look like our who they love. We are all human beings with a heart, with a soul and deserve the right to be treated with the same dignity as the person next to them. I am choosing to teach them love over hate and right over wrong.

Is that enough?
If it's not what more can we do?
For my girl's sake, I'm hopeful that there are more people in the world that have more love in their hearts than hate...

Hate is taught.

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