Talking about race with children
Today marks the anniversary of the murder of George Floyd. I have such mixed feelings about the conversations and action around race over the last year. In one hand, the last year has felt positive. When George Floyd was murdered, I was working as the head of Race Equality in a central Govt Department. It was a time of intense pressure and emotion. All staff calls, senior staff calls, staff network calls. We did a MFF event in June last year where we had speakers from all over the world (including a black police officer in Texas!), giving their perspectives on what was going on and how they are talking about race with children. All of which involved tears and an outpouring of emotion. And we got some action done too and it felt, for the first time in my lifetime, that a REAL shift was taking place.
But it all that changed very quickly. I knew there would be a backlash but I didn’t expect it to come so soon. From the racism in football to the Government’s discredited race report to the brandishing of BLM as a political movement – it feels like we took 10 steps forward and 15 steps back.
Some progress has been made
Of course there has been some progress and many individuals have become more enlightened but the work continues. And that work must continue with the next generation and with our children. As a black parent, I feel like I don’t have a choice as to whether or not I talk to my daughter about race. It would be negligent of me not too. I have a duty to prepare her for her experiences now and in the future – I have to get her ready for life. But at the same time I want her to stay innocent, I just want her to be. It’s a difficult balance to strike and one that many of us are battling with. And I know many of us battle with this when it comes to talking about race with children.
Have you had conversations about race with your children? How did you approach them and how did they go?
MFF x BBC documentary
We discussed these questions in a mini documentary for the BBC with Eddie Nestor. The video features MFF dads Alec, Will, Arion, Danny and myself. There’s a short version on the BBC website that you can watch here. And the full length programme is on BBC iplayer here. I fully recommend watching the full programme, it’s an emotional watch that captures perfectly the sensitivities and complexities around talking to our children about race. To follow up the programme, MFF dads Matt and Cal-I were on BBC Radio London last night giving their perspectives, you listen back here (from 2hrs30mins).
Today also marks one week until our book, DAD is published!! I got a message from Rachel from Educating Matters who has an advance copy of the book and she said she cried reading some of the stories. I didn’t know what to say, it’s so surreal that this is actually happening and these stories are being shared with the world and touching people so deeply. Last week, myself and Kieran from Dad Matters were interviewed on Radio 5 Live about the book, new dads and post natal depression – you can listen back here (from 1hr43mins)
That’s it from me for now! I hope you have a great rest of the week. My weather app is predicting sun for the next 2 weeks so fingers crossed!
Founder and Editor-in-Chief, MusicFootballFatherhood
About the DAD book
Supported by various organisations, charities and football clubs including Pregnant Then Screwed, Carers UK, Kidscape, UN Women UK and QPR FC and with pre-publication coverage on Times Radio, BBC Radio London and The Guardian, DAD is set to be THE defining book on modern fatherhood.
Including 20 powerful and defiant stories about postnatal depression, becoming a new dad during the pandemic, miscarriage, widowhood, stillbirth, co-parenting, childbirth trauma, work-life balance, new dads at work, shared parental leave, being a stay-at-home dad, gay fatherhood and surrogacy, being a stepdad, black fatherhood, raising a child of dual heritage, being a single dad, faith and fatherhood, raising a child with autism, gender stereotypes and more.
This is a ground-breaking book. A movement. Never before have a group of men come together to bare their souls and speak so openly and honestly about their fatherhood experiences. This book aims to encourage better dialogue between colleagues, friends, and especially within families; between husbands and wives, brothers and sisters, dads and children. We know that men and dads don’t always have the space to speak openly about their experiences.
We believe DAD can change the world and move forward the conversations around fatherhood, masculinity, mental health and gender equality.
Please help these voices be heard and preorder the book.
The book will be published on Tuesday 1st June.