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

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 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.

Copyright 2021 KCUR 89.3. To see more, visit KCUR 89.3.

Cody Newill was born and raised in Independence, Missouri, and attended the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Cody won a Regional Edward R. Murrow award for his work curating kcur.org in 2017. But if you ask him, his true accomplishments lie in Twitter memes and using the term "Devil's lettuce" in a story.
Matthew has been involved in media since 2003. While hosting a show on his college radio station, he quickly realized the influence, intimacy and joys of radio. After graduating from Kenyon College he had a brief stint as a short-order cook in exotic Gambier, Ohio. He then joined Murray Street Productions as the marketing manager. At Murray Street he also conducted interviews, produced podcasts, wrote scripts for Jazz at Lincoln Center Radio, and made the office computers hum. In addition to working at Murray Street, Matthew has done freelance radio production and his work has been featured on Chicago Public Radio’s local news program Eight Forty-Eight. He has also worked as a marketing assistant at WBGO in Newark, NJ, where he helped to grow audience through placing advertisements, managing the station social media, improving the website, building email campaigns and doing in person promotion at jazz events throughout New York and New Jersey. Matthew has won several awards for radio production including a Gold and Silver from the Kansas City Press Club in 2017. You can find Matthew bicycling around the city and the globe.
Ron Jones returned to KCUR in September, 2013 as Director of Community Engagement. He leads a team that will focus on the arts, entrepreneurship, neighborhoods and community diversity. Its goal is to coordinate community conversations about important issues on-air, online and in person.