This session is the first in a series designed for parents to honestly and openly explore some of the issues raised in ‘Talking to Children About Race.’ You may like to provide, or encourage participants to get hold of a copy of the book to enable them to read beyond the issues you are able to discuss during the sessions.
This first session sets the scene for the series and explores some of the issues raised in chapter one; exploring our own prejudices. Before discussing some of the issues we may encounter about raising our own children to be anti-racist, we must first be real and honest and face up to our own reality, prejudices, beliefs and experiences. This session will give parents the opportunity to come to grips with some of these and challenge them for themselves.
You will probably find it helpful to let people know the title and theme for this series in advance of the first session to give them time to come prepared for discussing the themes and perhaps to get hold of and have a look at the book for themselves.
As you begin this session, introduce the idea of some ground rules for discussion, acknowledging that different people’s previous experiences will make some of the issues raised more difficult, whilst for others, acknowledging our ignorance may well be a helpful first step and so agreeing ‘what is ok,’ within the context of this conversation will help to make the conversation both respectful and constructive. Rules or guidelines should cover things such as confidentiality, language choices and opportunities for time out as needed, for instance.
23 Search me, God, and know my heart;Psalm 139: 23-24
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
24 See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.
Encourage the members of the group to have access to their own Bibles and read together Psalm 139:23-24, and explain that we can use these verses as a prayer as we begin this session, as we examine ourselves, asking God to examine our hearts.
Read page one and the first half of page 3 (down to diagram).
Invite the group to enter into a time of silent reflection and encourage them to take this time to confess privately to God those things which have come to mind, during this discussion. Re-read Psalm 139:23-24 and encourage them to walk in this prayer this week.
Give everyone a copy of the diagram:
Invite them to put it somewhere they will come across it often, in the week ahead. As they do, encourage them to use it as a prompt to address some of their own biases, as they may occur. Encourage everyone, reminding them of the affirmation on page 3; ‘you’re a person who wants to know better, and do better.’ If you have a Whatsapp group, you could send this out as a reminder during the week, before you meet again.