Doing the Work
Updated: Apr 14, 2021
We founded The Spitfire Club because girls, and particularly girls of color, don't see themselves in books. This is harmful to everyone (those who are most represented and those who are not). And yet, despite the undercurrent of racial justice in our mission, it's been incredibly difficult to find the right words for this moment in time.
We believe that Black Lives Matter. We de-center whiteness in our curriculum, we actively work to teach empathy, we build curiosity around culture and identity, we affirm pride of heritage, and we work to build a sense of belonging in our clubs. But that's not enough. Cultivating habits of kindness is not enough. Hoping that our girls desire to be good people is not enough. Saying Black Lives Matter is not enough.
It's hard to talk about how terrible our world can be with kids. It would be easy to keep them blissfully ignorant for as long as possible. There have been a number of times when I was sure that our Spitfire girls would want to discuss current events, usually a police shooting or a school shooting. During our "check-in", I floated a few test balloon questions, trying to take the temperature of the room. The girls seemed so confused. What could be wrong in the world, Ms. Amanda? ...Should I tell them?
Our kids, and especially our White kids, need to be taught about our country's history (and its present). They need to proactively learn about racism, and about how they can choose to not be a part of it. And we, the adults who care for them, need to do this same work within ourselves in order to safely and effectively equip and empower our children. It's hard and uncomfortable, but it is necessary work.
And we also need to do this work in a way that doesn't negatively impact our girls and parents of color -- it is not their job to open our eyes, to teach us how to speak or what to say, or to listen to our sorrow or discomfort.
There is an abundance of information available on racism and antiracism right now, so we've organized good resources we've found into sections. (Note: links to books and other products are NOT affiliate links; Spitfire does not profit from purchases made through links on this page)
One of the most important things I can say in this post is that this is a journey - one book, one conversation, one protest, one donation, one black square on Instagram will not solve this problem.
Calls to Action For Grownups
Article Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack | Book White Fragility: Why It's So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism | Book I'm Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness and author Austin Channing Brown on Instagram | PushBlack social media education project | Why I'm No Longer Talking to White People About Race article and book | Stamped from the Beginning (or Stamped for Young Adults) and author Dr. Ibram X. Kendi on social media | The Conscious Kid on Instagram
Talking with Kids about Racism
Article and Resource List From Christian Cooper to George Floyd: A Letter To White Parents | Book Raising White Kids and Article How White Parents Can Talk About Race | Article and Resource List Your Kids Aren't Too Young to Talk About Race: Resource Roundup | Event airing on June 6 at 10am Coming Together: Standing Up to Racism. A CNN/Sesame Street Town Hall for Kids and Families
Grownups Continuing their Antiracist Journey
Book How to be An Anti-Racist | Writer/Thinker Ally Henny on Facebook | Article First, Listen. Then Learn: Anti-Racism Resources For White People | Article and Resource List 75 Things White People Can Do for Racial Justice | Article Performative Allyship is Deadly (and what to do instead)
In March of 2020, The Spitfire Club began working with an independent consultant to evaluate our organization, our curriculum and training, and our community outreach from a Race/Equity/Inclusion perspective. This work is incredibly timely and also ongoing. In the coming months, you will continue to hear from us about this -- it doesn't stop here.
Thank you. Be safe, be kind, and speak up.