The murder of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor rocked me and our nation last spring. I felt an additional responsibility as I sat home watching the atrocious news unfold. What am I supposed to say to my three year old son? How early is too early to start talking about race and racism? How can I raise my son to be actively anti-racist? This is important to me, but these are not conversations that my parents had with me growing up, and I have no idea what, when, or how I’m supposed to talk to my boys about racism in America. That’s why I’m grateful for parents like Alexandria and resources like Ditto Kids Magazine. These conversations to directly address racism can and must continue for ourselves, and our kids.
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As a Black mother raising multiracial children, Alexandria always knew that she’d have to talk to her kids about race and racism. And yet she was shocked when it started so early – her daughter was just 3 years old when a racist comment from another child sent them both spinning. Starting in on these tough conversations, Alexandria realized that even though she was a Black woman and mom, she was lacking the experience and framework to know what to say to her young children. What was developmentally appropriate? How much could she share while still shielding them from the cruel world of systemic racism? Answering those questions, for herself and for others, inspired Alexandria to take an actively anti-racist approach to parenting and create Ditto Kids, a magazine to help other parents do the same.
What inspired you to start Ditto Kids?
It was my own kids. I have three kids- an almost six year old, a three-year-old and a one-year-old. When my oldest daughter was barely three, she was home with me and we had a little play date with a new friend. I wasn’t aware but our new friends daughter who was five or six was going through some challenging things. I was helping click them into the car seat and this young girl said something that was in fact racist to my daughter. She’s only five or six so she’s obviously hearing it from somewhere. I spoke with the child’s mother and she was mortified. My friend said- her daughter goes with her dad on the weekends and these are things she’s picking up from him and she really just didn’t know what to do. I think we’ve all been raised in the colorblind generation. And so now everyone who’s a parent they’re kind of like frozen- whether or not a person of color. No one knows how to openly talk to their kids about race and racism.
So after that happened my daughter was having trouble parroting some of these things. As a Black mother parenting Black biracial children, I’ve always been really cognizant about where we spend our time, how we spend our time, what I’m teaching them, when I’m teaching them, you know as many particulars as I possibly was able to cover myself. But I realized after that one incident that I needed to be better about teaching active anti-racism and not just diversity and in doing it in a way where I was covering it in a developmentally appropriate way and also doing it with fair regularity, but that is a huge task.
What advice would you give to your pre-mom self?
I would tell myself- Actually Alex, you’re really going to love this. There are going to be hard moments. But parenting is going to be your greatest joy. I’m just as surprised as anybody else- but I just love being a parent. I love being a mother. I feel like when it comes to parenthood, but especially motherhood, people tend to tell horror stories. And it’s important that parents often share the realities of parenting- 100%. But I feel like maybe as a culture we’ve stopped sharing the highlights, the beautiful parts. Maybe it’s because they’re almost too special to share.
Co-founder & COO
Bridget is mom to two little boys, Hudson and Brooks, and a champion of working moms everywhere. NeighborSchools itself was borne out of Bridget’s challenge to find high-quality yet affordable child care, and the realization that so many parents struggle with these same issues every day.