Eps 78: Jasen Frelot and I get real about race and racism

Today’s guest is Jason Frelot. Jasen is a community organizer, father, early childhood educator and social justice advocate based in Seattle, WA.  Along with directing Columbia City Preschool of Arts and Culture, he is the co-founder of Kids and Race Seattle, which has been featured in Parent Map Magazine and on NPRs Seattle Affiliate KUOW; the program has served over 500 people to date and rising every month.  His various actions around race and social justice have made front page news in Seattle and have been featured on local news numerous times. He has 15 years of working with children in various capacities.

“What we are going for here is real change. What we are going for here is a real conversation that is messy. That means diving deeper into that discomfort.”

What you’ll hear in this episode:


•    Racial identity and the inherent problems with color blindness
•     How we are teaching white children to be racist and brown/black children they don’t have value (even though we don’t mean to)
•    How to respond to uncomfortable questions about race and social order
•    Silence and it’s role in reinforcing the status quo
•    The role of parenting in promoting diversity
•    Equality vs equity – what’s the difference?
•    Treating everyone the same and how it perpetuates inequity
•    Acknowledging the reality of now: the problem with discussing racism as history and other’s people’s problem
•    Achievement gaps vs opportunity gaps
•    Fear of being labeled racist and how it detracts from race focused conversation.
•    Acknowledging racism as a problem in order to address it
•    Understanding white privilege – situational power, structural power and individual power.
•    The relationship between privilege and struggle – how they can both be present
•    Race as an ongoing conversation
•    Impacts of opting out of race-focused conversations due to the magnitude of the issue and the responsibility to persevere
•    Recognizing your role in the problem and in how to fix it
•    The role of media in how our children view the world and the value of other people – what kids see and what they hear: which impacts children more in the conclusions they draw about the world
•    Analogy and allegory vs. representation and conversation in media
•    Role modeling respect in our relationships
•    Consciously exposing children to diversity
•    Equipping our teachers to have conversations about race
•    How to be the squeaky wheel about promoting diversity
•    Silence as violence: choosing to be uncomfortable and vocal to incite change
•    Handling pushback and using criticism as an access point to empathy as an ally

What does Joyful Courage mean to you?

Joyful Courage is talking to your kids about race in a joyful way with a smile on your face. There’s a lot of negativity and rage, rightly so, around this conversation and I, in my workshops, really try to have people leave with a smile on their face. It’s never fun to learn we are unintentionally teaching our kids to be racists. No one wants to hear that but what is fun is having a role in solving a big problem – feeling like you have power, that’s fun. That’s good news! There’s a lot of joy in that! It takes courage to acknowledge we have a blind spot -that there’s something I can do better – to boldly go where very few white people have gone before. It takes courage and it takes joyful courage. I can’t say enough how important it is to be joyful in what it is that we are doing. Go forth, joyfully, be happy about it, have some fun, smile, laugh because this is a long haul. If we’re always miserable about it, we are never going to get where we need to be.

Culturally responsive teaching and the brain
Kids and Race Resources

Where to find Jason:
Columbia City Preschool of Arts and Culture, a brand new, social justice based program. Now enrolling for this Spring, and the upcoming school year. for more information go to columbiacitypreschool.org

Kids and Race: Changing the Narrative. March 11th at Epiphany. Tickets available. Contact for future events and information [email protected].

Speaking opportunities:
[email protected]
The Well Queen Anne



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FEED 3,000


I would love to invite you to join me in making 3,000 snack sacks over the next three months and take them to organizations that serve the hungry!!

Not one of us can make all those lunches ourselves – BUT ALL OF US TOGETHER SURE CAN!!

So here is the plan, host a gathering at your house and invite other families over. Have each family bring some supplies and together make as many snack sacks as you can!!

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