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Elementary age student playing outdoor

Source: kate_sept2004 / Getty

As parents of Black children, we often wonder how we can shield them from the harsh realities of the outside world– one of the primary ones being racism. Sadly, this worry and wonder, while natural, is generally wasted energy. It is virtually impossible to safeguard our kids from an institution upon which this nation was founded; one that is still very much ingrained in our society. But while we’re incapable of controlling the outside world and the actions of others, we are very much in control of how we respond to our kids, how we interact with others, what we expose them to, and the examples that we set for them.

“Our research revealed that parents are powerful vehicles of ethnic prejudice transmission towards their children,” Giuseppe Carrus of Roma Tre University in Italy told Fatherly of a study he co-authored on how parents’ subtle ethnic prejudices predict children’s implicit prejudice in Europe. “Not only through their explicit communications and actions, but also through their unaware and unconscious beliefs, stereotypes and automatic behaviors.”

As Metro UK points out, “anti-Blackness is the name for the specific kind of racial prejudice directed towards Black people.” And sadly, anti-Blackness is not only perpetuated by people of other races. It is so much a part of our society that many of us, either through our upbringing or personal experiences, have internalized anti-Black philosophies and, perhaps, even projected them onto others. In other words, parents can knowingly and unknowingly project their self-hating biases onto their children. Here’s how.

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