TODAY show host Craig Melvin addresses comments about his 'well-behaved' children
TODAY show host Craig Melvin. (Image via Getty Images)
TODAY, show moderator Craig Melvin talks about his experience with microaggressions as a black parent.
On Monday, Melvin hosted a virtual discussion for NBC News entitled "Growing Up Black". Melvin, who shares six-year-old Delano and three-year-old Sybil with his wife Lindsay Czarniak, showed what it feels like when people say that his children are "good" when talking to other black parents.
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"They either look black or they are racially ambiguous and I'm always impressed when someone, a stranger, says to me," Oh, your children are so good, "said Melvin." And you know they probably won't would say if there were two white children of the same age sitting there. Didn't you expect my kids to behave well? "
Melvin's views were confirmed by Kim Gautier, a black father, who added that he believes that many of the comments are based on the stigma that black children are "loud and ignorant and exaggerated and generally only bad".
"We always joke about it with our friends. We'd go to a store like Target or a restaurant or something and we'll get a lot. People will say, "Oh my god, your children are so good, they speak so well," Gautier said to Melvin. "And I will say: 'Yes, they are not doing anything crazy, they are not out here as if they were building a small model airplane in the middle of the shop, they are not solving world peace in the middle of the shop. They are just well-behaved children in the shop. '"
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Earlier this month, Melvin shared how he and FOX Sports reporter Czarniak are raising biracial children as protests against Black Lives Matter continue around the world. Despite having a black father and a white mother, Melvin said that the way his children present to the world will affect how they are perceived and treated.
"The reality is that my kids are black," he said. “And at some point they have to become aware of the fact that society sees them that way. I think for some children it is a little more difficult because you both see yourself and have these identity problems. "
The introduction of identity talks was of paramount importance to Melvin and Czarniak. He admitted that this is new territory for both.
"So let's start talking about how we can help them solve problems that we didn't have to deal with," said Melvin. "My wife is white, she grew up white, I grew up black, that was it. It is a strange thing. "
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Melvin added that it is more important than ever for parents to raise children who are aware of race and bias - and not avoid difficult conversations.
"We like to think that we live in a kind of post-racial America, and the reality is that we are constantly reminded that we don't," he said. "I think we're celebrating racist ambiguities more than anything. I think a lot of people are convinced that we are much further. "
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