There re­mains a need for cur­rent gen­er­a­tion’s civil rights move­ment

The Commercial Appeal - - Sports -

When I was grow­ing up, my par­ents were in­volved in marches and other forms of ac­tivism on be­half of the civil rights move­ment. I re­mem­ber peo­ple con­stantly be­ing in our home, shar­ing sto­ries of what was go­ing on in the world. I have not been as vo­cal with my chil­dren about what’s been go­ing on in our world, but now things are get­ting out of hand. Rather than be­ing folk­lore, the KKK is back. With the re­cent un­rest and death in Char­lottesville, Vir­ginia, at the hands of white su­prem­a­cists, I have no choice but to talk to my chil­dren about every­thing.

How do I help my chil­dren un­der­stand that their friends are dif­fer­ent from the peo­ple who are es­pous­ing hate? And what do I tell them if one of their friends calls them the N-word, be­cause it al­ready hap­pened?

I as­sume that you are see­ing now that there re­mains a need for this gen­er­a­tion’s ver­sion of a civil rights move­ment. Over the past few months, there has been a groundswell of ha­tred brew­ing, and it seems to be tar­geted at any­one who is OTHER. Some peo­ple have be­come em­bold­ened to be­lieve that they can say and do any­thing they want, in­clud­ing be­ing bla­tantly dis­re­spect­ful to their peers. That would ex­plain the friends who are de­mean­ing your chil­dren. You must tell them that it is not OK for their “friends” to speak to them in that way. In­deed, such be­hav­ior should lead to an anal­y­sis of whether those peo­ple re­ally are friends.

As far as the rise of white su­prem­a­cist ac­tiv­ity, you should be wor­ried, and you should take ac­tion. Learn more about how you can have a voice, in­clud­ing writ­ing to your mem­bers of Congress and to the pres­i­dent. Get in­volved so that you en­sure that this be­hav­ior is not con­doned in any way. The scab has been pulled off the wound. It is past time for real heal­ing to oc­cur.

Ev­ery year at the end of the sum­mer, I re­quire my chil­dren to be­come ac­tive with some form of study so they can ac­cli­mate back to school. This year, my chil­dren are re­belling. I go to work, and when I come home they haven’t com­pleted the work I have given them — from their teach­ers. How can I get them to take these re­spon­si­bil­i­ties se­ri­ously?

Have a fam­ily meet­ing and re­mind your chil­dren of their du­ties. Point out that they have not been hon­or­ing the agree­ments that they made with you. Give them a pun­ish­ment, such as tak­ing away their phones for a day. If the work isn’t com­pleted when they get home, you keep the phones the next day, too. You should pick some­thing to with­hold that will be hard for them to live with­out. This can in­clude hang­ing out with friends, sleep­overs, shop­ping trips, TV, etc. Be sure to ex­plain why you are ask­ing them to do this work so they don’t think of the home­work as a pun­ish­ment.

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