But they did it anyways.
Mic talked to 10 parents of color in the U.S. about what they told their children about Tuesday’s election results and the terrifying uncertainty they feel compelled to hold back.
Heba, 33, a black and Arab-American mother to an 8-year-old son in Virginia
“My son told me he was scared and asked if we would now have to move away, He was in tears when he found out. I told him that we would not have to move anywhere because the USA is home. I said, Trump is one man and doesn’t have the power to do that.’ I also let him know that there are more good people than bad in this world and all of us were on his side.”
Larry, 43, Mexican-American father to an 8-year-old son in California
“My son is convinced cops are going to come to the school and take some friends away because they are Mexican. I tried to calm him down by telling things I only kind of belief: ‘Trump isn’t an evil man, he was just raised differently than us and has different ideas about what’s best for the country.’ While I am happy to talk to him about current events, like this presidential election, I feel issues of immigration and forced deportation are problems an 8-year-old shouldn’t have to worry about.”
Lucy, 39, African-American mother to 7-year-old son and 4-year-old daughter in Texas
“I told them, ‘We all worked hard and we should continue to do so.’ I told them their lives are important and valuable. I told them being a bully and being unkind is not OK and if anyone says anything to them in my school, they shouldn’t respond, shouldn’t tell anyone, but just tell me. My husband also told them, ‘But at the end of the day, they should know to be a good citizen, to go vote, to pay attention to the truth and to always ask questions.'”
Sameena, Muslim American mother to two children in Texas
“I told them kind of flippantly that we would move to Canada if he won, because I thought he had no chance of winning. My son was less concerned about his personal safety, and more about saving face with his friends since he had already told them we would move. There were other kids crying in his school because they thought all the Muslim and Mexican kids would have to leave the country. I expect we’re going to have difficult conversations every day, since we listen to the news together.
Chanté, 39, an African-American mother to a 4-year-old daughter in Vermont
“Will I have to explain burning crosses to her? Images of nooses hanging off of trees? Am I just freaking out or is there a real threat to our family in our community? The fact is that I do not know what I will say to her over the next four years now that Trump and Pence represent the highest government officials. How do you teach acceptance and equality in the U.S. now?”
Lewis, 33, Mexican-American father to an 8-year-old son in New Mexico
“I told my son what happened last night can happen in this world. I told him mean people sometimes win, but that I will always be here for him, to protect him. I told him that just because a man like that won, it doesn’t mean he needs to take any mean thing he hears or happens to him. I told him he needs to speak up and should speak up if it happens to anyone else.”
Saira, a Muslim American mother to three children in Texas
“I told my kids, ‘I want you to think about the people you know who voted for Trump. People in our family, people we’re friends with, our neighbors. They’re good people and they love us. Not everyone who voted for him hates us. We have to remember that all people have good and bad inside. But if you see anyone getting picked on or being hurt, especially by some one’s words, I want you to help that person. Take care of each other today.
If you feel scared, I want you to talk to me. And I also want you to always pray to Allah. Sometimes things happen that are good for us, but we can’t see that right away. Trust that Allah has a plan for all of us that is for the best.'”
Afreen, a Muslim American mother to three children in Chicago
“My 6-year-old daughter asked ‘so are we going to have a mean person for president for the next for years?’ I told her: ‘yes, but we’ll be fine and we will still be nice to people.’
We never discussed Trump’s rhetoric too much with them during the election, but they picked up some info from kids at school and had questions. We are Muslim, but I never mentioned any specific comments he made about particular ethnic and religious groups. They just knew that Trump said mean rude things about people and wanted to kick some of them out of the U.S.”
Ramon, a Muslim Mexican-American to two children in Mississippi
“I spoke to my 7-year-old son this morning. I started to get teary eyed, ashamed that I couldn’t do more to protect him from this. I felt broken that I disappointed him.
I told him: ‘Walk into school as a proud Muslim and Mexican. Our people are not of despair. We are a people filled with unwavering hope. We are of the ummah of Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him). Know that millions of children just like you, will walk into school afraid. But they’ll find comfort in knowing that you too choose to go to school today. They are proud of you just like you are proud them. You aren’t alone. Together we’ll defend and uplift one another. I Love You for the sake of Allah.”
Fawad, 43, a Muslim American father to two children in California
“My eldest son, who is 9, came into our bed this morning and asked about the elections. I had to explain to him that [Donald Trump] is going to be or next president. He started crying, ‘but dad he’s a racist who doesn’t like Muslims, and wants to build a wall. Why did we elect him?’
I didn’t have a lot of good answers for him. All I could say was that this is democracy at work, there are people who are upset at how the country is changing, and a lot of these folks went out and voted. It was not a very satisfying answer for either of us.”