MOORESVILLE, N.C. — Even at a young age, kids see color. For Lucretia Berry and her husband, Nathan, they wanted their kids to take a close look at their skin color, appreciate it and know how to talk about it.
“Our eldest made this observation that we are all hues of brown. ‘Mommy, you are deep brown, Daddy you are light brown, and I’m medium brown.' And I’m like that’s it. That’s our unity right there,” Lucretia said.
Lucretia’s blended family in Moorseville has been trying to help others see the unity. About five years ago, she founded BrowniCity.
She started hosting a five-week course called “What Lies Between Us” to help educate people about race. Nathan said talking about race, especially now, isn’t always easy.
“I think it’s fear. It’s fear of saying the wrong thing, fear of exposing their own bias or their own, even sense of racism that they do not interact with a daily basis and they are embarrassed by. I think this class helps us be comfortable with the idea that we have bias, and it’s not about whether or not you are racist or not racist, but it’s about us being on an anti-racist journey,” Nathan said.
Lucretia said the wrong kind of teaching is out there, and it needs to be addressed.
“You know the colorblind approach, saying, 'Let’s pretend here,’ and, ‘Everybody is being treated the same.’ It really has robbed us of language and power and of the framework of reality, like understanding what is going on,” Lucretia said.
She said in order to have positive conversations about race, people need to listen, get educated and speak with the right language. She said that’s why in her course, no one speaks for a few weeks.
“You have to come and learn and build that trust, build that foundation of trust of a language," Nathan said. "Then after a few weeks of that, we start to have a more controlled dialogue and a more productive dialogue.”
One way people can start is to look into the history of why we look different. Talk about the melanin in people’s skin and the reason behind it. It’s something so simple, kids can understand.
“It wasn’t very long that our children were coming home, talking to us about us and telling us things us about things because they have the language to do, and they feel safe doing it,” Nathan said.
Lucretia said while it can be scary to look inward, there’s proof that people want to feel comfortable having these conversations.
“We already have over a thousand enrollments, and that shows me people are hungry. People are willing and people are ready to learn. I just sense that when we know better collectively, we will do better,” Lucretia said.
The course starts June 16. Click here for course information.
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