Erika Davis-Pitre joins me again this week! I rebroadcast her episode, Unschooling and Diversity, earlier this year and she graciously offered to return and answer listener questions that arose from that episode. The result is this amazing episode with so many actionable steps and layers to peel back for all of us on this unschooling journey as we explore the roles we can play to address systemic racism and biases.
Questions for Erika
QUESTION 1. Hi Erika! Thank you so much for what you shared in this podcast episode and thank you so much for agreeing to come back and share more! I appreciate how you said that the default of our culture is racist. If you don’t do anything, it’s not neutral. You default to the racist biased structure… So how do we “teach” antiracism to our kids without teaching? Since we don’t teach our kids as unschoolers. My thoughts are to start with educating myself about White Supremacy, systemic racism and antiracism work by reading books, listening to podcasts and watching movies and then invite our kids to join us if they want to? Protest and
march and invite our kids? Have discussions about antiracism with my husband and invite our kids to ask questions? What else can I do?
QUESTION 2. I think of how I have read in some Unschooling circles about not wanting to bring in scary news stories because that will stress us or our kids. That we should build a safe Unschooling nest. I get upset and then it makes it hard to stay positive and joyful and connect with my kids. But the truth about our racist society isn’t peaceful or joyful. It doesn’t feel right
to hide behind white privilege and stay safe and comfortable. How do I balance prioritizing staying connected and joyful and following my kids’ passions with actively working to dismantle white supremacy? Things feel particularly urgent right now. There’s important momentum happening with the Black Liberation movement and I want to actively support it,
but I don’t want to check out and leave my kids behind.
QUESTION 3. I feel like we could or maybe even should question the belief that our children are too young or innocent to talk about racism and the death of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and others. What are your thoughts on this?
QUESTION 4. I do see a risk that I’m talking about injustice towards Black people so much lately that my kids are starting to feel sorry for Black people. What’s a good way to counteract that? One of my closest friends is Black and my kids have played frequently with her two sons since they were babies. I remind my kids of our friends when we’re talking about Black people. But overall, our community is very white.
QUESTION 5. I think the question that comes up most often for me is, I’m white and I grew up with the idea that you should treat everyone the same, that treating someone better because of how they look is almost as bad as treating someone worse because of how they look. So, I guess my question is, is it “okay” to purposely seek out diverse playmates for our kids and friends for ourselves? Is it “okay” to be extra nice to the Black family at homeschool group, both because we want them to feel welcome, and because we want to nurture a diverse group where our kids can play together? I think I’m afraid of “using” diverse families to raise anti-racist kids, if that makes sense, I know it’s a twisted-up idea.
QUESTION 6. I’m about nine months into unschooling and am observing, processing, digging/reading, and WORRYING about how this new way of life works. There’s one issue that’s especially concerning right now. I have three beautifully brown-skinned children with “othered” names to match, living in a 75% white community. I worry about my children not having a diploma, especially with these “disadvantages.” In Nevada, from what I understand, I can issue a diploma, but am not sure how it will be received when they begin to apply for work. My husband has expressed his strong concern about them not graduating from school, as he did not, because he feels it was difficult getting a “good” job without a diploma. What can you share that will help me feel better about them not getting a school-issued diploma with the above considerations in mind? I feel strongly that unschooling is the way to live, but I struggle pulling it all together.
Things mentioned in the episode
Erika moderates the Facebook group, Unschooling
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