Parents’ Association Presents: Parenting in the Age of Isms, Featuring Dr. Sandra Chapman


Parents and faculty from St. Hilda's & St. Hugh's attended an April presentation and discussion facilitated by Dr. Sandra “Chap” Chapman (Director of Equity and Community at Little Red School House and Elisabeth Irwin High School) on “Parenting in the Age of ‘Isms.’” 

Dr. Chapman examined the ways that people from different racial backgrounds approach race—as individuals and as parents—and discussed the foundation of how children learn and develop their racial identities.

“White children are typically taught and socialized to not think about race or color,” she says. “But while white people can disengage from race and put other parts of their identify first, people of color cannot.”

The goal for children from all backgrounds, Dr. Chapman says, is to help them build relationships across racial lines. “If you expose children to a variety of differences, that becomes part of their repertoire.

“Parenting with a racial lens is active work, not passive,” Dr. Chapman said, urging parents to help children understand the impact that skin color and other differences can have.

This is an ongoing process, she says, for parents and children of all races. “Racial identity is a journey, not a destination. Each of us needs to ask ourselves continually, ‘Where am I in my understanding of my racial identity at this very moment?”