How I’m Teaching My Child About Racism While Educating Myself
Written by Heidi Borst
Featured on The Mighty
Recently, my family relocated from the Northeast to the Southeast, and we joined our neighborhood country club, located on a road ending in “plantation.” My 7-year old son asked what the word meant — he’d never heard of a plantation before. I considered my response carefully; should I tell him it was a type of farm, and leave it at that, saving myself from an uncomfortable conversation? Or should I take this opportunity to teach my child about a malicious aspect of our history many of us like to pretend didn’t exist?
I chose the latter, knowing it would lead to a much more complex discussion. I also knew, finally, that avoiding these difficult conversations only contributed to the perpetuation of racial bias, and I had a responsibility to speak up.
I took a deep breath and began, “Well, a plantation was a type of farm that grew different kinds of crops, like cotton and tobacco. The owners used slaves to work the land, and they were treated very badly, like property instead of like humans.
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