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Nov 25 2014

In Light of Ferguson, How Do We Talk to Our Kids About Race?

By at 9:40 am
michael brown ferguson how to talk to kids about race

Photo via Flickr/Jamelle Bouie

I’ve been following the Mike Brown case from the beginning. I’m sad for his grieving parents and for the citizens of Ferguson who want justice. I support the sentiments around the currently trending meme “#BlackLivesMatter” but I can’t bring myself to tag it on Facebook for fear someone will call me out as a “clueless white person” trying to attach myself to a movement I don’t belong to.  I’m empathic, but I’m searching for a way to articulate that respectfully.

My best friend Rachel has always been involved in social justice and is my go-to person on days like today. When I asked her what kind of reaction I should have to all I am witnessing from my comfortable upper middle class life here in Los Angeles, she reminded me that I’m a parent, and I have a responsibility to respond to this in the way I raise my kids.

Rachel explained, “I think the best thing that you can do right now is raise your children to be race conscious–not color blind, but race conscious. Talk to them about the different experiences people of color have. Buy books and dolls and movies with lead characters that aren’t white. Talk about how people aren’t always treated equally and how that is not OK. Teach history and how it impacts our lives today. Be conscious and teach them to be as well.”  Read the rest of this entry →

Jun 2 2014

How to Be Respectful to Your Racist Grandparents

By at 2:52 pm


My husband and I have a rule for ourselves: We don’t argue with old people.

This rule applies primarily to our parents and their friends, but also old people in general.

We also have a rule for our three kids, ages 14, 10, and 7: You will respect your elders. Whether you agree with them or not. Especially when you are a guest in someone else’s home. That’s just Etiquette 101 in our book. Read the rest of this entry →

May 14 2014

Rabbi Julie Greenberg, Single Mom of Five, Explores Race, Class, and Unconventional Families in New Book

By at 2:00 pm

Julie, as a new mother, with first born Rosi.


Rabbi Julie Greenberg is a mother of five, the founder of Mountain Meadow, a camp for children with LGBTQ parents, and was one of the first rabbis in the world to do same-sex weddings, to welcome interfaith couples and families, and to work closely with clergy from other faiths in co-officiations. We recently discussed her latest book, “Just Parenting: Building the World One Family at a Time,” about raising her five children by and large as a single parent with the help of sperm donors, adoption, women lovers, former lovers, and a gay male parenting partner.

She is graciously offering Kveller readers a discount on the book: just use the code “KVELL” at checkout here.

How is this book different from all other parenting books? Read the rest of this entry →

Mar 20 2014

Why Did NYC’s Top Public High School Admit Only Seven Black Students This Year?

By at 10:24 am


The Ides of March in New York City bring high school placement results for thousands of 8th graders. This year, Stuyvesant, the city’s most selective public high school, accepted only seven African-American students out of a class of 952. Last year, that number was nine.

Had they counted my son, they could have gone into the double digits, but they didn’t that year because he was coming from a private school, and they won’t be counting him as attending this year because he checked both the Black and White boxes on his forms, and the public school system just can’t deal with that kind of ambiguity and so chooses not to slot him at all. (I only mention this because it’s very possible similar scenarios exist in the 2014 incoming class. It also doesn’t mean that all seven will choose to attend. I know of three African-American kids who turned down Stuyvesant for scholarships at private schools.)

In any case, however, the number is ridiculously low for a school system that’s majority Black and Hispanic. Read the rest of this entry →

Mar 12 2014

Since Discovering My Family’s History, I Am More Than an American Jew

By at 9:22 am


“What are you?”

When asked this question, I always say that I am an American Jew. As the fourth generation to be born in New York, I don’t align myself with other countries. Many European nations expelled their Jewish populations. If they didn’t want my family, why would I claim them now? But my answer masked a simpler truth: For most of my life, I didn’t know where I came from.

Relationships with my father’s family were strained. I didn’t want to hurt him by dredging up a past best left buried. Details trickled out over the years, and I had to be satisfied with those. I had lots of contact with my mother’s side, but my mother never asked about our immigration story. This completely baffled me, but she lived her life surrounded by a large family. She never wondered about those that were gone. Read the rest of this entry →

Jan 20 2014

Seven Things to Tell Your Kids About Martin Luther King, Jr.

By at 7:45 am


How do you get your kids to understand the meaning of a holiday, and not just the fact that they get a day off from school? Well, we were wondering the same thing, so we asked our readers on Facebook to share how they were planning on translating the importance of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day to their kids.

Here are the five most thoughtful answers we received to help you celebrate MLK Jr. Day with your kids in a meaningful way:

1. Make them listen to his “I have a dream” speech. It’s wonderfully captivating!

2. There is a great book called My Brother Martin, written for young kids by MLK’s sister. It is beautiful and well written. I heartily recommend it!

3. I told my kids that MLK was a person who wanted everybody to be friends. Some people don’t think everybody should be friends; they think you should only be friends with people who are like you. But he really wanted everyone in the world to be friends with each other, even if they were different. Read the rest of this entry →

Jul 15 2013

Causeless Hatred Can Only be Fought with Causeless Love

By at 2:27 pm

trayvon martin protestThe thing about “causeless hatred” is that it sounds like something that other people do.

Causeless hatred is something other people do–because it’s something that is obviously wrong. And we aren’t people who would do something obviously wrong. We’re thoughtful most of the time. We have people in our lives that we love. But causeless hatred–hating someone else for no reason? That’s something other people do, people who are bigots, idiots, war criminals, or terrorists.

This is a convenient emotional shorthand that we all adopt from time to time: we assume, in the big scheme of things, that we are the “good guys.” I’m sure most of us are “good guys.” And I’m equally sure that we are all guilty of instances of causeless hatred. Read the rest of this entry →

Jun 4 2013

That Cheerios Commercial That Has Everyone Up in Arms, and What They’re Missing

By at 3:28 pm

alina adams responds to interracial cheerios commercialThis weekend, my email filled up with people sending me links of the interracial family Cheerios commercial, and articles about the controversy it triggered. I wonder why. (Full disclosure: I do not wonder why. Please see family photo on the right.)

The people who sent me the links wanted to know what I thought.

Here is what I thought:

I get it.

I totally get why a 30-second ad spot featuring a white mom, a black dad, and a biracial little girl would prove offensive to so many people. Read the rest of this entry →

Oct 10 2012

Kveller Writer on NPR!

By at 11:13 am

alina adams interview npr tell me moreWe’re super proud of frequent Kveller contributer Alina Adams, who was just interviewed on NPR’s Tell Me More as a result of a piece she wrote for us this summer.

Alina’s piece “When to Hide Your Race & Religion” definitely sparked some debate on our site, as it’s all about raising interracial, interfaith kids and teaching them that sometimes, it might be of benefit to hide part of your heritage. Alina talked with Michel Martin about how she came to this perspective, and their conversation is definitely interesting no matter what race or religion your family happens to be. Here’s the interview:

You can read the full text of the interview here and read Alina’s original piece here. Way to go, Alina!

Oct 5 2012

All People Are Not The Same

By at 11:30 am
Alina's chlidren

Two of Alina's kids (on the outside) with a friend in the middle.

I really enjoyed (and appreciated) Erika K. Davis’ piece: Do You Talk to Your Kids About Race.

I was all set to answer her question with delightful and pithy anecdotes about how we do things in our interracial, interfaith and intercultural household (dad: African-American, mom: Soviet-born Jew, three kids: all of the above), when my eyes fell on some of the comments both on the original article, and the Kveller Facebook page:

I am not sure that it’s necessary to have a specific talk about race unless your child brings it up or encounters or observes some type of racist behavior….

Yes, but not unless it brings itself up naturally. There’s no reason to address it otherwise…

It should be a non-conversation….

Kids don’t notice it until you tell them about it…

First of all, the latter comment is blatantly untrue. Read the rest of this entry →


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