‘Two blonde girls at the playground told my daughter she couldn’t play with them because she doesn’t have blonde hair. The girls’ parents did not intervene.’

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“Still processing this, but two days ago, two blonde girls at the playground told my daughter she couldn’t play with them because she doesn’t have blonde hair. The girls’ parents did not intervene. You better believe I did.

On the walk home, my three-year-old and I had a heart-to-heart about race and exclusion. It wasn’t our first time. The first time was when she was two, and she came home from preschool saying that her skin was black, and we talked about how dark skin is beautiful.

Here is the point: parents of color talk about race with our kids all the time. We have no choice. It’s there, everywhere, and we can’t avoid it. I told the blonde kids at the playground that they can’t exclude people. I did it calmly and politely, while their parents watched.

But those parents should have intervened. They should’ve said something. My daughter was watching. Their daughters were watching. White parents: TALK TO YOUR KIDS ABOUT RACE. I know it’s uncomfortable. But the rest of us do it all the time. We need you to do it too.

Also, please don’t tell me that I imagined this. I am a dark-skinned woman who has been on this planet for almost 40 years. I know racism when I see it. And I definitely know it when it happens to my kid.

Here is our kiddo today at the park with my husband, being her resilient self. This girl is not about to let racism steal her joy. I’m not either.”

This story was written by Mathangi Subramanian. Follow her on Twitter here.  Visit her website here.  Do you have a similar experience? We’d like to hear your important journey. Submit your own story here, and subscribe to our best stories in our free newsletter here.

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