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StoryCorps In Kansas City — Navigating Race As A White Parent In 2019

KCUR 89.3 / StoryCorps
Amy Drake and Kevin McEvoy talked about how best to teach children to be accepting of different ethnicities and how to navigate racial tension.

KCUR is part of StoryCorps' One Small Step initiative to bring together people of differing political opinions for real conversations. This is one we've chosen to highlight.

Kevin McEvoy, who describes himself as "very conservative," wants to make sure his children grow up without prejudice against people of color. But he's admittedly unsure about how best to guide them.

"They volunteer with the YMCA every summer," McEvoy says. "They've spent time in preschool centers reading with kids of every ethnicity, spent time working in soup kitchens ... but is that the perspective I want them to have that we're always having to do handouts? No, it's more collegial." 

Amy Drake got cancer in her 30s, making it impossible for her to have biological children. But instead, Drake adopted a biracial daughter. 

"Seeing what she experiences when she's not with me made me really open my eyes to the privileges I did have," Drake says. 

Drake, who is white, has had to learn how to embrace racial differences, and has learned a key way to do so.

"Where have you shown them people who are successful and thriving?" Drake says.

"As someone who's in it, how have you done it that I can learn from?" McEvoy asks.

"It's seeking out a cultural mentor for my daughter and a cultural navigator for me," Drake says. 

Drake says the most important thing is to continually seek out ways to connect with people of different ethnicities in positive ways — through a diverse church, black-owned businesses and continual conversation.

"Talking about it (with her), 'You are African American, I am not, let's walk this walk together,'" Drake says. "Because you can pretend that we're colorblind, but it doesn't matter because if I'm not loving and accepting and talking about that part of her, there's going to be a big part of her that feels like it doesn't exist or is less-than."

Matthew Long-Middleton is a community producer for KCUR 89.3. Follow him on Twitter@MLMIndustries.

Ron Jones is KCUR's director of community engagement.

Cody Newill is an audience development specialist for KCUR 89.3. Follow him on Twitter@CodyNewill.

Cody Newill is part of KCUR's audience development team. Follow him on Twitter @CodyNewill or email him at cody@kcur.org.
Matthew Long-Middleton has been a talk-show producer, community producer, Media Training Manager and now the Community Engagement Manager at KCUR. You can reach him at Matthew@kcur.org, or on Twitter @MLMIndustries.
Ron Jones returned to KCUR in September, 2013 as Director of Community Engagement. He is now the program director. You can reach him at ron@kcur.org.
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