Teaching Kindness. Standing Together.
There’s no question: talking about race can be sensitive, and yes, even a bit messy. And “choosing” whether or not to talk to your kids about race is an option many parents, specifically those of color, don’t have; some children may inevitably learn about it by confronting racism in their everyday lives. There’s no “one way” to dive into this topic. There’s no such thing as “quick tips” or foolproof advice when it comes to discussing the complexities of race. But, there are better ways to go about it and each parent will have to decide for themselves what makes the most sense for them and their family. Above all, it’s a conversation all parents need to have, no matter your background or experience. So if you are curious about starting this conversation…let’s get to it together!
Talk About It.
For some families, talking about race is a regular part of daily life. For others, it’s a subject that can be difficult to discuss. But for everyone, it’s an incredibly important conversation and shouldn’t be avoided. Parents, in order for you to talk to your children about racism, you need to understand first what you know.
What should I read to help?: CLICK HERE This author spent two years studying 30 affluent, white families in a Midwestern community, during which she found, “kids are learning and hearing about race regardless of whether parents are talking to them about it.” This isn’t a discussion reserved for white parents and their children. While ensuring we raise children who are aware of other people’s experiences is important in the overall conversation, parents with children of color need to talk to their kids, too.
Due to historical practice and present biases, in some communities and schools kids of color have a profoundly different experience than white children do. Parents and caregivers need to learn about their community in which they are raising their kids, talk about the racial differences and how people are sometimes treated unfairly on the basis of race, and prepare their child to be self-aware, smart and safe out there.
Set The Example.
So, where should parents and caregivers begin? In order to have thoughtful and productive conversations about race with children and youth, parents and caregivers need to be comfortable discussing it themselves.
How do we discuss?: Take some time to choose one of the books suggested on the front page. Join in on the Racialized Trauma Care training or sign up for the Conversation of Racism with Parents when the date is announced soon.
Help Your Child Or Youth Navigate Their Curiosity.
When children and youth begin growing curious about the world around them, they usually look to their parents to explain. But, what if you honestly don’t know what to say? It is okay not to know. It can be natural to want to have all the answers, but sometimes the best answer is, ‘I’m not sure. But let’s look into it and learn about it together.” Here are some suggested books for different ages that introduce different cultures and perspectives.
Littles Board Books:
Drawn Together – Minh Le, Dan Santat
The Boy & the Bindi – Vivek Shray Crossing Bok Chitto: A Choctaw Tale of Friendship & Freedom -Tim Tingle
Contact Minister of Social Justice & Advocacy for CYF – Kelly Sherman-Conroy for more details. firstname.lastname@example.org