The racial problems going on in the world cannot be ignored. While it’s understandable that you may have an urge to shelter your child from news on racial issues, it’s important to have open discussions about these issues.
Children are not color blind and ignoring race is not helping them to celebrate diversity. Race is a social construct that affects how one is viewed in society and how one may view the world. Avoiding the topic allows your child to absorb society’s racial stereotypes, which is undoubtedly a negative view of people of color, especially black people.
When you start the conversation, know that your child does not expect you to have all the answers. But, it is important that they feel comfortable asking you questions. It is normal for children to recognize and point out differences. As a parent, it is your responsibility to help them celebrate these differences and understand how these differences may affect our lives.
Below is a toolkit to help mold the discussions on race that you may have with your child. Remember, it’s never too early to discuss race.
- Raising Race-Conscious Children: How to Talk to Kids About Race and Racism (Michigan Medicine Health Blog)
- Talking Race With Young Children (NPR)
- How White Parents Can Talk to Their Kids About Race (NPR)
- Talking to Kids About Racism, Early and Often (New York Times)
- Teaching for Black Lives – includes teaching materials and resources
- Teaching Tolerance – a project from the Southern Poverty Law Center
- Ending Police Brutality: At-Home Family Action Toolkit – resources from the Student Ignition Society and the Raising Luminaries
- Raising Race-Conscious Children
- White Allyship 101: Resources to Get to Work
- List of award-winning children’s books written by African American authors (Common Sense Media)
- Children’s books that support conversations about race/racism
- Adult book recommendations on race/racism
Written by Alanna Nzoma, MD
Updated July 2020