On April 18, 2019, Dr. Mathangi Subramanian turned to Twitter to describe the time her daughter became a victim of playground racism. Sadly, it’s still relevant.

You see, two girls refused to play with Dr. Subramanian’s daughter because her hair wasn’t like theirs. It wasn’t blonde. And the whole situation might’ve gone unnoticed if it wasn’t for Dr. Subramanian. While the parents of the two girls didn’t intervene to teach their children about race, she did.

Using the conflict as an opportunity for growth, Dr. Subramanian took her time to broaden the worldview of all three kids. Naturally, being an award-winning writer and educator, she handled the tough situation perfectly.

More info: mathangisubramanian.comTwitter

Image credits: mathangiwrites

Image credits: mathangiwrites

Image credits: mathangiwrites

Image credits: mathangiwrites

Image credits: mathangiwrites

Dr. Subramanian said the exact words she told the blonde girls are a bit fuzzy now, but she explained to them that they weren’t allowed to exclude people in a public space like a playground. “I don’t know if they understood the message — I don’t think they did, because they didn’t actually let my daughter play with them,” the mother told Bored Panda.

“[Me and my daughter] have had a lot of conversations about race,” Dr. Subramanian continued. “I told her [on our way home] that sometimes people are mean to each other because of differences and because she and I have dark skin, we might be treated differently. She has faced racism since then, and we’ve revisited this conversation often.”

Here’s what people said after reading the story

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According to Erin N. Winkler, an associate professor at the University of California, Berkeley who specializes in racial socialization, research shows that kids are noticing racialized patterns in the world around them from a very young age and they are trying to figure out those patterns. “Those messages are getting to them from a whole variety of sources, not just from families,” Winkler told EmbraceRace. “They’re getting it from media, books, cartoons and so on and so forth… even if you try to limit your child’s exposure to some of these things, those messages are really getting in from these other sources.”

“We want them to match their shapes and their animals and, you know, match things and learn patterns but they’re trying to figure out the rules from those patterns that they see around them. So families often think that they alone control what children learn. But these messages come from all over,” Winkler said. And that’s why it’s so important to talk to kids about race, to help them navigate these messages.

Dr. Subramanian thinks some white parents don’t initiate these conversations with their children because they’re not faced with it daily. “They don’t think about race because it doesn’t affect them. I don’t talk to my daughter enough about class, for example, because my family is middle class. We all have our blind spots, and it’s important to examine what they are and address them,” she explained.

The mom added that she really appreciates everyone’s support and hopes that now people focus on the words of black mothers and activists and contribute to the Black Lives Matter movement however they can.

All of the positive responses really cheered the mother up

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Image credits: mathangiwrites