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PBS did a poll about the state of race relations in America. What they discovered wasn't too surprising.

We have some work to do when it comes to race relations. Photo from PBS NewsHour, used with permission.

It seems most people, regardless of skin color, think we can do better.  Taeku Lee thinks so too. He's a professor of political science and law at the University of California at Berkeley. Other than being a ridiculously brilliant dude, he spent years studying race relations and is one of the most respected thought leaders in that arena. 


Here are five things Lee suggests to raise racially conscious children.

1. Focus on teaching empathy. If you can imagine yourself in the shoes of a another person, your kids will too.

As parents, it's up to us to set the example of empathizing with others, and it's easier than we may think. When we teach our kids to share and to take turns and when we model that behavior ourselves, that teaches them empathy. They'll learn it by watching us.

We could probably start and end with that. If we all treated others the way we wanted to be treated, the world would improve instantly.

Classy kids. GIF via KBSEntertain/YouTube

Lee said in an interview with Upworthy, "By teaching children the simple acts of sharing and taking turns, they will learn to see the world through the eyes of someone else. When children develop into adults who value dignity and respect, they will better understand these as universal values if they first have moral foundations in the value of empathy."

When we have empathy for other human beings and recognize the value of their unique experiences, things tend to go better. 

Just ask a former white supremacist

2. Talk to your kids before everyone else does. Ask them lots of questions and encourage them to do the same. If you remain open-minded, your kid will too.

Stop me if you've heard this before, but parenting is hard.

Many of us are overworked and overtired and adding the "race relations talk" to our endless to-do list isn't exactly something we look forward to doing.

GIF from "Old School."

But, if we don't suck it up and have the racism talk with our kids, even if we reeeeealllly don't want to, Lee is quick to point out that someone else will: 

 "Children are endlessly curious and coming to their views about how to read and represent race. Left alone, there are enormous everyday forces — in the entertainment our children consume and in seemingly innocuous classroom and playroom interactions — where implicit biases begin to set their roots."

What happens if we wait too long to have the discussion with our kiddos about race and we start seeing them displaying those biases? 

Lee states, "One of the most powerful ways to counter implicit biases is to call them out, question the unconscious associations we make about what and who is 'good' or 'bad,' and by doing so, take a fresh new look at things. From this standpoint, parents should talk about race with an open mind to learning from their children as much as they convey learning to their children."

3. Words are great, but if you tell your kids one thing, you better make sure your actions reflect what you've told them. In other words, you gotta practice what you preach.

Kids are smart and extremely observant. Just as easily as we notice the not-so-pleasant aroma of a blowout diaper, our little ones notice when our words and our actions don't jibe. 

According to Lee, "Children are frighteningly good at picking up cues that you don’t even know you are giving. It's one thing to discuss all the reasons why you should not judge, hate, celebrate, respect, but those reasons go deeper when they are embodied in your actions. It's not just about explicit things, like using epithets to describe groups or publicly voicing negative stereotypes, but also subtler things, like reacting to microaggressions."

From the mouth of babes. GIF from "Modern Family."

Put simply, it's easy to refrain from saying really horrible things. It's more challenging to stop the seemingly innocuous comments (known as microaggressions) that our kids could pick up on. 

"Well, you definitely don't act black."

"C'mon, you're Asian, you must be good at math."

"Puerto Rican, Mexican — you know what I mean." 

Be warned. Our kids are always watching and listening. 

4. Venture out of your 'hood and expose your kids to different people and places.

According to the Pew Research Center, close to 40% of Americans have never moved away from their hometowns. 

It makes it pretty challenging for kids to learn about different cultures if they rarely leave the comfort zone of their neighborhoods. 

There's a beautiful world out there. Experience it. Image from the Daddy Doin' Work Instagram feed.

How do you expose your kids to other cultures and races and tradition if you don't have the budget, time, or patience to travel the globe with your kids? 

Take advantage of the things in and around your community that will help your kids experience things outside their comfort zone. 

"That could be anything from spending a weekend afternoon at a neighborhood flea market or going with your children to a Black Lives Matter protest or walking around an 'ethnic enclave.' Experiencing difference is much more powerful than just reading or talking about it. One of the enduring conditions under which genuine learning about the 'other' happens is through deep, meaningful interactions and experiences with other groups," says Lee.

You don't have to travel the globe to get beyond your community and introduce kids to things they don't normally see on an average day. 

5. Help your kids learn how to identify racism, and teach them how to deal with it when they see it.

This is huge.

Teaching our kids to be "colorblind" or to not "see" race can be detrimental because it makes it harder for them to identify discrimination when it does happen.

Instead of raising our kids — regardless of what race they are — to see colorblindness as a solution to racism and discrimination, we need to teach them how to identify it when it happens and how to appropriately address it when they see it.

Should they tell a teacher or should they wait and tell you about it when they get home from school? Should they try to stop a bully themselves or should they find the person being bullied and offer them a hug?

Riley Curry requesting wisdom from her amazing dad.

There are no simple answers. However, there are some resources to help you have those talks

In the meantime, we'd love to know, what are you doing to help guide your kids down a better path? Let us know on Twitter and Facebook.

Joy

1991 blooper clip of Robin Williams and Elmo is a wholesome nugget of comedic genius

Robin Williams is still bringing smiles to faces after all these years.

Robin Williams and Elmo (Kevin Clash) bloopers.

The late Robin Williams could make picking out socks funny, so pairing him with the fuzzy red monster Elmo was bound to be pure wholesome gold. Honestly, how the puppeteer, Kevin Clash, didn’t completely break character and bust out laughing is a miracle. In this short outtake clip, you get to see Williams crack a few jokes in his signature style while Elmo tries desperately to keep it together.

Williams has been a household name since what seems like the beginning of time, and before his death in 2014, he would make frequent appearances on "Sesame Street." The late actor played so many roles that if you were ask 10 different people what their favorite was, you’d likely get 10 different answers. But for the kids who spent their childhoods watching PBS, they got to see him being silly with his favorite monsters and a giant yellow canary. At least I think Big Bird is a canary.

When he stopped by "Sesame Street" for the special “Big Bird's Birthday or Let Me Eat Cake” in 1991, he was there to show Elmo all of the wonderful things you could do with a stick. Williams turns the stick into a hockey stick and a baton before losing his composure and walking off camera. The entire time, Elmo looks enthralled … if puppets can look enthralled. He’s definitely paying attention before slumping over at the realization that Williams goofed a line. But the actor comes back to continue the scene before Elmo slinks down inside his box after getting Williams’ name wrong, which causes his human co-star to take his stick and leave.

The little blooper reel is so cute and pure that it makes you feel good for a few minutes. For an additional boost of serotonin, check out this other (perfectly executed) clip about conflict that Williams did with the two-headed monster. He certainly had a way of engaging his audience, so it makes sense that even after all of these years, he's still greatly missed.

Noe Hernandez and Maria Carrillo, the owners of Noel Barber Shop in Anaheim, California.

Jordyn Poulter was the youngest member of the U.S. women’s volleyball team, which took home the gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics last year. She was named the best setter at the Tokyo games and has been a member of the team since 2018.

Unfortunately, according to a report from ABC 7 News, her gold medal was stolen from her car in a parking garage in Anaheim, California, on May 25.

It was taken along with her passport, which she kept in her glove compartment. While storing a gold medal in your car probably isn’t the best idea, she did it to keep it by her side while fulfilling the hectic schedule of an Olympian.

"We live this crazy life of living so many different places. So many of us play overseas, then go home, then come out here and train,” Poulter said, according to ABC 7. "So I keep the medal on me (to show) friends and family I haven't seen in a while, or just people in the community who want to see the medal. Everyone feels connected to it when they meet an Olympian, and it's such a cool thing to share with people."

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Hold on, Frankie! Mama's coming!

How do you explain motherhood in a nutshell? Thanks to Cait Oakley, who stopped a preying bald eagle from capturing her pet goose as she breastfed her daughter, we have it summed up in one gloriously hilarious TikTok.

The now viral video shows the family’s pet goose, Frankie, frantically squawking as it gets dragged off the porch by a bald eagle—likely another mom taking care of her own kiddos.

Wearing nothing but her husband’s boxers while holding on to her newborn, Willow, Oakley dashes out of the house and successfully comes to Frankie's rescue while yelling “hey, hey hey!”

The video’s caption revealed that the Oakleys had already lost three chickens due to hungry birds of prey, so nothing was going to stop “Mama bear” from protecting “sweet Frankie.” Not even a breastfeeding session.

Oakley told TODAY Parents, “It was just a split second reaction ...There was nowhere to put Willow down at that point.” Sometimes being a mom means feeding your child and saving your pet all at the same time.

As for how she feels about running around topless in her underwear on camera, Oakley declared, “I could have been naked and I’m like, ‘whatever, I’m feeding my baby.’”

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