When protests broke out after George Floyd's death, Craig Melvin and his wife started talking about race with their children.
NBC anchor and reporter Craig Melvin makes it a point to teach his biracial kids about Black history. While February might be Black History Month, the host says he doesn't limit his teachings to just the month but looks for teachable moments in everyday life to touch upon important topics. Melvin is Black and his wife Lindsay Czarniak is white, a Fox Sports anchor. They are always having conversations with their children about race and the world out there. In an essay for TODAY, Melvin recalled hearing his son say, “Sibby is white like Mommy, and I’m brown like Daddy.” Melvin knew it was time to talk to them about race.
Melvin and Lindsay spoke to their children about their parents being white and Black. Melvin talks about teaching them about the reality waiting for them in the outside world. “How do you explain to two bright-eyed, multiracial kids who live pretty charmed lives that there was a time in this country where people who look like Daddy would have been shackled and working for people who look like Mommy?” writes Melvin. The NBC host says he doesn't limit Black history to just MLK Jr.'s 'I Have A Dream' speech and also touches on America's dark past. Melvin's essay comes at a time when GOP is working overtime to ensure children never get to learn about America's dark past with slavery.
Melvin said that George Floyd's death and the subsequent protests that broke out proved to be a wake-up call for them as parents. He says that it forced them to confront the topic of talking to their children about race. "My son is seven; my daughter is five. They’re still a bit young to have those serious conversations, but we know that we’ll have to have them eventually," wrote Melvin. He got a pleasant surprise when he heard his son singing "We Shall Overcome." When Melvin asked about it, his son asked him how he knew the song and Melvin replied, “Well, that was the anthem during the civil rights movement.” He had apparently learned it in a music class.
As America discusses the importance of teaching future generations about its dark past, Melvin considers it to be an important lesson. "To be clear, I firmly believe that we still need a month devoted to Black history in this country, because there are clearly people who are unaware of our history. There are movements in our country that are devoted to whitewashing history, and nothing good comes from that. It’s not about promoting white guilt; what it’s about — or what it should be about — is making sure that the story of our country is complete. And that hasn’t always been the case, because there are parts of our history that are uncomfortable," he wrote.
Melvin said he has already spoken to his son about civil rights and what it was like for Black people in the past. Melvin and Lindsay haven't spoken to their kids about slavery yet and hope to teach them about it as they get older. The couple believes the best way to educate them is to expose them to different people and cultures as they grow up. "I have long believed that exposure is our best tool to fight racism, hatred, and xenophobia," writes Melvin. According to the US Census, the multiracial population in the U.S. continues to grow year by year and was recorded at 33.8 million in 2020. One in seven U.S. infants was multiracial or multiethnic in 2015, according to a Pew Research Center report.