Coming Soon...Conversations with My White Child
As my friend and I crossed paths with a white family hiking among the redwoods, we overheard the mother telling her son that he has white privilege that he must understand it; moreover, he must acknowledge it and help others. The son seemed completely engaged. Conversations like this one are an essential component to dismantle the white supremacy that endangers us all.
Conversations with My White Child: Soft on People; Hard on Systems is an educational film in which white parents reveal how they talk to their children about race and racism. Only 10% of us will change when faced with imminent death. Four conditions required for people to change their behavior: visible results, plasticity of mind, a support group, and story. This short documentary offers motivating stories that model how parents talk to their children, educate themselves, and celebrate their successes. Accompanied by a lesson plan that stimulates viewers to create support groups, read more, and keep track of the visible results, it serves as a dynamic complement to the ever growing cannon of antiracist literature like Raising White Kids: Bringing Up Children in a Racially Unjust America. A tool for personal change, it frames these conversations around cognitive engagement combined with messaging and exposure to constitute the trifecta for raising a race conscious child.
Photo id (left to right): filmmaker Carol Swainson,
Roberta Flack manager Suzanne Koga, Roberta Flack,
founder of Shelectricity Anasa Troutman
(© Jeri Jones Photography)
Follow the documentary on Instagram
Conversations with My White Child
receives grant from the Roberta Flack Foundation
Educator/filmmaker Carol Swainson to create a film to help parents and communities teach their children to interrupt the racial narrative that is often found in our music and other media.
This documentary was inspired by my experiences in schools in which educators, parents, and students feel challenged to handle racial bias when it manifests. One particular racially insensitive incident occurred at the end of an academic year where several students, none of whom were African American, sang lyrics from a rap song that included the n-word. Two African American girls who were nearby heard the song and were very upset. The group of students struggled to repair the situation even though they knew they had offended the girls. Moreover, their parents had a difficult time playing a supportive role because they were more concerned with their child being called a racist rather than focusing on the lessons their child needed to learn. This documentary’s key messages will help prepare parents and, in turn, their children to avoid and/or handle missteps such as this. This is particularly critical given the content of our nation’s music, its media, and the racial polarity that keeps us apart.
Carol Swainson, Head of School at San Francisco Schoolhouse, has more than 25 years of experience as an educator and leader at a broad range of independent schools in Washington DC, Los Angeles, Oakland, Chicago and San Francisco. She and her husband founded and run the International Peace and Art Center, which promotes peace and social justice through the arts. Carol is an advocate for experiential education that promotes social justice, leading workshops for parents, students, and educators. With the support of the National Association of Independent Schools and the White Privilege Conference, her documentary will be directed at school communities with the goal of empowering families to feel safe in discussing their racial biases and thereby changing the negative racial narrative through their children and their own actions.
Legendary Artist and Humanitarian Roberta Flack
Congratulates Roberta Flack Foundation's First Grant Beneficiaries
Roberta Flack is not just "an elegant and legendary vocal superstar" (Amazon). She is also a dedicated humanitarian, educational activist and social conscience who recently established her Roberta Flack Foundation to support aspiring creatives and causes she cares about.
The beneficiaries are: Shelectricity, a first-of-its kind, digitally-enabled ecosystem to empower adolescent girls of color in the United States to reach their full potential and thrive; and educator/filmmaker Carol Swainson to create a film to help white parents teach their children to interrupt the racial narrative that is often found in our music and other media.
At a celebration with the recipients on Monday, Flack told them, "Dreams come true. My dream of giving wings to our young people so that they may fly is coming true today. I look forward to hearing from each of you as you take on the challenge of making the world a better place. I believe in you."
About Roberta Flack and the Roberta Flack Foundation - www.robertaflack.com
Flack experienced the support her foundation aims to foster. As a young girl growing up in rural Black Mountain, North Carolina, she was mentored by her family, teachers, church members, choir directors and many others that helped her realize and actualize her talents and dreams. She has never forgotten these people and has always maintained the importance of nurturing young people in realizing their dreams through education and mentorship, which is the cornerstone of the Roberta Flack Foundation.
At the age of 15, Flack earned a full music scholarship to Howard University - one of the youngest students ever to enter the legendary African-American college. She taught music in Washington, DC area junior high schools before being discovered by jazz pianist and singer Les McCann and signed to Atlantic Records. She founded the Roberta Flack School of Music at the Hyde Leadership Charter School in the Bronx, providing an innovative and inspiring music education program to underprivileged students free of charge. Last year Flack was given the prestigious Clark and Gwen Terry Courage Award from the Jazz Foundation of America and in 2017 was presented with the Town Hall Friend of the Arts Award.
She is known worldwide for her #1 singles "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face," "Killing Me Softly with His Song" (which topped the charts for five weeks) and "Feel Like Makin' Love," her hit duets with Donny Hathaway "Where Is the Love" and "The Closer I Get to You," and such other hits as "Tonight I Celebrate My Love" and "Set the Night to Music." Flack remains the first and only solo artist to win the Grammy Award for Record of the Year for two consecutive years, and won two other Grammys out of her total of 13 nominations. She is considered one of the greatest songstresses of our time, effortlessly traversing a broad musical landscape over the years from pop to soul to folk to jazz with a voice the BBC describes as "a molten murmur [that] flexes into a cry as pure as a prayer, heartfelt as a confessional. It is elegantly tender, almost unbearably intimate."
About Shelectricity - www.shelectricity.org
Shelectricity brings together technology, culture, and community to create safe and nurturing online and in-person environments for girls to learn, grow, innovate and lead. It will design, build, and launch programs in its first three hub cities - Oakland, Los Angeles, and Memphis - in fall 2019. Its founder, Anasa Troutman, says, "It is my highest aspiration that our girls continue to grow into the kind of women that Ms. Flack is: Wildly creative, deeply compassionate and intimately involved in the creation of culture with an impact that will reverberate for generations to come."
About Carol Swainson - InternationalPeaceandArtCenter.com
Carol Swainson, Head of School at San Francisco Schoolhouse, has more than 25 years of experience as an educator and leader at a broad range of independent schools in Washington DC, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, and Oakland, California. She and her husband founded and run the International Peace and Art Center, which promotes peace and social justice through the arts. Carol is an advocate for experiential education that promotes social justice, leading workshops for parents, students, and educators. With the support of the National Association of Independent Schools and the White Privilege Conference, her documentary will be directed at school communities with the goal of empowering families to feel safe in discussing their racial biases and thereby changing the negative racial narrative through their children and their own actions.