Julie Lynthcott-Haimes, author of “How To Raise An Adult and Real American: A Memoir,” spoke about discrimination to the HM Parent Institute over Zoom on Wednesday. Lynthcott-Haimes described her experiences of people being racist towards her and her family, especially when she was at school.
The Parent Institute is a two-year-old program founded by Director of HM Parent Institute Wendy Reiter. The program aims to form a greater sense of belonging for the parents of the school community and to educate the parents on topics useful for the upbringing of their children, Reiter said. This year, the program has a goal of addressing the themes of anti-racism, diversity, equity, and inclusion because of the recent events concerning racism, she said.
Reiter reinvited Lynthcott-Haimes to the school after she presented to HM faculty, administration, and staff three years ago on her book. “[Lynthcott-Haimes] has a commanding presence about her that captivates an audience,” Reiter said. “You come away feeling like you’ve got a lot more resources, a lot more [parenting] skills in your toolkit.”
All parents, Nursery Division through Upper Division, could attend the presentation via Zoom. “In a way, [having the event virtually] offers us more flexibility because we don’t have to limit the number of attendees,” Reiter said.
Lynthcott-Haimes, who had both white and Black parents, went to Stanford for college, and was the Dean of Freshmen at Stanford. She is well-educated and has had incredible academic success, Reiter said. When she tells the story about her struggles with her relationships and with her struggle of developing her own identity, she has a powerful, personal story to tell, one that people will be empathetic toward, Reiter said.
Lynthcott-Haimes spoke of a high school experience when her classmate’s father questioned her how she got accepted into Stanford but his son hadn’t. He said that she stole his son’s spot at the school, and that somehow she was less deserving of it because of her ethnicity.
This is one of the many events that the Parent Institute has scheduled on racism for this year. “[Lynthcott-Haimes] is in many ways a kickoff event for parents to start to hear and be part of a conversation about how you talk to your children about race,” Reiter said.
The HM Parent Institute hosts Lynthcott-Haimes again in late October to speak about her book, A Real American: A Memoir, Reiter said.