It can be tough to talk to your kids about racism. It isn’t uncommon for parents to be concerned about exposing their children to common issues like discrimination and racism, especially when the latter are young.
Every family looks at conversations about discrimination and racism very differently. Each person will have a different approach, no doubt, but there is no ambiguity about the science behind it. The sooner you start this conversation with your children, the better.
How children understand the world around them is always evolving. But you should talk to them about racism and equality whenever you get the chance to do so. Here are some resources that can help your children learn about racism and equality.
The ABCs of Diversity have created this 45- minute podcast. In it, they answer questions that kids might pose, helping them get a much better understanding about what racism is all about. One sample question in this podcast –
Question- “What is white privilege?”
Answer- “It’s not necessarily that your life is easy … it’s just that your skin color isn’t one of the things that is likely to make your life harder.”
(The American Academy of Pediatrics)
This article is a discussion on how racial bias works with reference to children and it provides strategies to help them better deal with as well as challenge stereotypes and racial bias.
"Talking about race is not racist. It's OK – and important. From a young age, children may have questions about racial differences and parents must be prepared to answer them."
This United Nations agency is responsible for providing humanitarian as well as developmental help to childrenthroughout the world. It offers actionable and useful advice to parents on how they can raise kids that challenge racism. There are tips on how to demonstrate kindness, and stand up for each individual’s right to be treated with respectfully and with dignity.
An excerpt-“Conversations about racism and discrimination will look different for each family. While there is no one-size-fits-all approach, the science is clear: the earlier parents start the conversation with their children the better.”
Here, Dr. Aisha White shares useful tips to help parents prepare effectively for and start difficult conversations with their children by using activities, picture books and asking questions.
An excerpt-“In this moment, we must choose to have confidence in ourselves and in our children – that we, and they, can handle tough topics and tough situations.
Talking to your kids about racism
This is TV town hall broadcast in two parts which explores various ways in which to combat prejudice and racism and features Keisha Lance Bottoms (Atlanta Mayor) and Abby Cadabby the 4-year-old Muppet character.
An excerpt- “Our children learn anti-racism and racial justice from us. If they watch us look away when we encounter racism, that's what they learn the right thing to do is. So we need to model for them and partner with them as we work in our local communities.”
This is a nonprofit organization that works in areas including education, research, and policy. They have compiled various resources to foster positive racial identity development in young children and youth while promote equality.
An excerpt- “To counter anti-Black bias and racism, experts recommend naming and taking action against racism with kids as early and as often as possible.”
Globetrotting Mama’s Heather Greenwood Davis shares useful tips on how parents can start conversations about racism with children, and how they can open up the lines of communication with them.
An excerpt- “Recent protests are sparking questions from children. Not shying away from those conversations is the first step in raising an anti-racist child.”
As a parent, you are your child’s introduction to the world. Whatever they see you doing, is as crucial as the things they hear you say. Just like language, prejudices are built up over time. You must make every effort to recognize racial bias and confront it in a healthy way.
Consider whether you are biased yourself and when you look towards yourself, you might find that there is some opportunity to challenge racism, stand up for your rights and teach your children to do the same, but in the right way.
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