How do you talk to your children about racism while protests continue to form?

Updated: Jun. 2, 2020 at 12:04 AM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - If you talk to your kids about what’s going on with recent protests, how do you do it? When is the right time? Do you hold back, or are you 100 percent real?

The reality is, conversations about social justice and racism look very different if you’re black, white, brown, or anything in between.

That’s one main reason behind these protests.

There are black families who desperately want you to get it. They want you to understand the pain tied to these protests.

“They can’t imagine what we go through. From the time my children leave my womb, I have to prepare them for this evil demonic world,” said Shantette Lincoln, one of many protestors marching in uptown Charlotte on Saturday.

She is not alone when she says she starts talking to her kids early about the discrimination and struggles that come with being black in America.

Many black parents want their children to be fully aware the future will sometimes be unfair just because of their skin color.

These protests have allowed productive conversations to happen between black people and men and women of different races.

Lincoln just hopes non-black parents are taking these conversations back to their kids.

“When they learn to talk about it at the table, accept it and acknowledge it, then I think we can move forward,” Lincoln said.

Sarah Havas, a white woman, is talking to her children.

Havas didn’t start as early as Lincoln but knew a conversation was needed with her son Cash after it was clear he was noticing how people can look different.

“He walked up to a family and was being like, ‘Man you guys are really brown did you know that?’ I was like, ‘Hey, let’s talk about that," Havas said with a cringe.

Cash is eight years old and has Autism, but his mom says that doesn’t stop her from being real and unfiltered when it comes to the fight for justice and equality in this country. Havas says the discussions she has with her friends about the idea of white privilege are the same with her son.

“I might get some judgments from some parents, but it’s not that different because I feel like if we hadn’t watered things down ... if we hadn’t dumbed things down as much as have, we could be further along,” Havas said.

For Vanelle and Kourtney Hogan, a bi-racial married couple, they say they lead with love and don’t promote labels like black or white with their children.

Valnelle is Vietnamese and French. Kourtney is black.

Despite their own house rules, the world forced them to be open with their children earlier than they would have liked about race and hate.

“Our conversation came because [our oldest] had an incident where she was getting off the school bus and was pushed down by some boys and kicked in the head and called the N-word and that was devastating,” Vanelle said.

The two don’t want to fill their kids with anxiety or worry, but the nature of our country, plus the protests in Charlotte make it where the Hogans also don’t want to dismiss something that can be a teaching moment – especially knowing that someone else in the world could potentially judge them for how they look.

“It’s tough to have with them, and it’s scary especially as a mother, but you can’t sugar coat it,” Vanelle said.

The same topic with different families means different perspectives.

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