Today I will take time to reflect about my privilege. I will think of how lucky I am and what I have gained in life because of things entirely out of my control. There are many ways we are privileged. For each of these ways, there are others who are not privileged in those same ways. Today’s activities may be a bit less ‘fun’ than usual, but they are extremely important activities to engage in and make into fun.
This may sound like a simple activity, but this time when you do it use a variety of skin colors. Check out the 24 new skin color tones from Crayola. These come in markers and crayons. Likely, if you have a large pack of crayons you probably already have these colors. So go ahead and explore the true colors of ‘nude’ and draw some people. Draw them having fun, doing things together, helping each other. If we all drew more pictures like that – and taught our children to do the same – the world would be a much much better place. Check out these simple step by step guides to draw people that encompass a variety of what ‘people’ means because after all, “You can’t just draw their skin purple and call it diversity.”
Today’s children are living through a social movement called Black Lives Matter. You might remember some social movements from your childhood. Your kids don’t remember those movements because they didn’t live through them. Frankly your parents probably don’t think about the same ones you lived through because they lived through their own social movements as children. So take some time to think, reflect, and talk about the social movements that have shaped your childhood and culture. Make sure to include modern social movements, even ones – or perhaps especially ones – that you might be unfamiliar with. The social movements we live through as children help to shape who we are and what our culture is like when we are adults. Our conversations with each other help to shape how we interpret and internalize these movements. It’s fun to reminisce and important to do so.
Helping kids understand probability and statistics as young as preschool will help kids better understand base rates when confronted with random statistics – adults too. When you hear a statistic about something, also known as a base rate, that statistic automatically has credibility and sounds impressive. 79% of people agree. But the problem is that statistics, like that one, can easily be fabricated out of thin air. Even when statistics are based on research studies, there is an entire context to the study. Among things to consider when understanding a statistic:
- who the studied population is?
- who sponsored the study?
- what were the goals of the study?
- how was the study conducted?
- what was the context of the study?
- how many people were studied?
- how was the data collected?
- how was it analyzed?
- there is much much much more context to any single statistic.
The answers to these questions is important. Consider the statistics found at “People of Color and the Criminal Justice System”. For example, if you find out that “While people of color make up about 30 percent of the United States’ population, they account for 60 percent of those imprisoned.” Statistics like these can in themselves be used just as much against a particular group as to help them. However, no statistic exists in a vacuum. Statistics can only be interpreted within their context. For example, to understand the statistic above you need to know that the “war on drugs” targets people of color disproportionately. Most importantly when it comes to base rates, it is important to understand that one statistic doesn’t give you any information about a single person. It’s either 100% true about one person or 0% true about that person. So the base rate does not help in understanding any particular person with whom you come into contact. Check out this site for some basic tools for explaining probability to kids so they can begin to understand the limitations of base rates.
Try incorporating role play into your quality time with your kids that gives you an opportunity to answer questions from the police. This way you know and your children know just what to do to keep everyone as safe as possible. The police are here to help us. They risk their lives in situations when most others of us would run away or hide. That’s what police sign up to do. I am ever and always grateful that police officers (and fire fighters and military and health professionals, etc) are willing to place themselves in these situations. Just a couple of weeks ago there was a person who climbed to the top of the Brooklyn Bridge and was planning to jump. For three hours fifteen police officers stayed with him at the top of the bridge, having had to climb up their themselves, and calmly and carefully handled the situation. They did this despite that all they probably wanted to do was go home to their own families and hug them. Considering the high stress and high responsibility of the police force, it’s important that we know how to respond when approached by the police because these moments are fraught with fear and risk on all sides. Additionally, it is equally important that we know our rights in a situation in which we are questioned by the police (similar information translated into additional languages). While you role play, you’re likely to be asked why do we have to answer questions this way. Why would it matter? Take the opportunity to talk to your family about privilege and how your privilege impacts your expectations of and interactions with police officers differently than others. All people should practice how to respond to questions from the police. No one should need to worry about how they respond to these questions.
Sometimes bad things happen to good people. Take the opportunity you have while work may be slow and you might not have much else to do to get involved in your community. Websites like Volunteer Match.org, Change.org, and Brightest.org for opportunities to help the issues and organizations you care about. To start you off, consider attending this event. Not able to be there in person, consider signing this petition
235-1. FUN ACTIVITIES
For more great activities check out the 235 ideas we posted yesterday! Read the full post here.
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