Don’t let political hate speech harm our kids

July 2019

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by the NC Child staff 

As parents, we teach our children that they have inherent value, no matter the color of their skin or place of birth. And we teach our children to treat each other with kindness and respect, whatever their differences. The messages our kids are receiving from politicians today are very different.  

Yesterday’s rally in Greenville was a stark example of how politicians like President Trump can use racism to drive us apart and even stoke violence. While it may be an effective political trick to turn people’s prejudices into votes, the harm to our kids is palpable.  

For children watching these events unfold, the messages they hear and the images they see have a corrosive impact. Children are shaped by their environments. When they are exposed to racism, xenophobia, and white supremacy, they hear that they are not valued by our country’s leaders because of the color of their skin and or their place of birth. They learn that its okay to hate and dehumanize others who are different. 

So what should we do? First, people of conscience across the political spectrum should come together to condemn the hate on display at yesterday’s Trump rally in Greenville.  

Next, we fight, not with violence and hate, but with rigorous, unceasing advocacy. We fight for policy changes, like the restoration of numerous immigration policies that allow immigrant children and their families to thrive in our country; we fight against the family separations happening not only on our nation’s border, but also here in North Carolina; and we fight to ensure that not one more child spends another night suffering from child abuse at the hands of the federal government.  

Finally, we talk about these issues with our kids. We respond to children’s fears and questions about white supremacy and xenophobia with love and honestyMost of all, wnever let hate go unchallenged in our own community.