It could be hard talking to your kids about racism. Part of that is because some guardians worry about getting their kids exposed to issues like discrimination and racism at a tender age. Other parents fear discussing something that they are not fully conversant with or feel uncomfortable about. Still, some have experienced racism firsthand and have no choice at all.
Conversations regarding racism will be different from one family to the other. We have to acknowledge that there exists no universal approach on how to resolve racism. All the same, science makes everything clear that the earlier, the better. In this piece, we focus on how to teach kids about racism.
Ideally, kids notice physical differences like skin color as early as six months. According to studies, by the age of 5, kids can show racial bias signs. This includes treating individuals from a specific racial group favorably than another. When you try to ignore or avoid such a topic, you will not be protecting your kids at all. Instead, you leave them being exposed to bias that is present wherever we are.
Why is it Important to Talk about Race and Racism?
You might be wondering why it is so important to talk about racism to your kids. When you teach your kids that it is okay to discuss race, you help them understand, respect, and appreciate the fact that people are different. This also helps to develop compassion and empathy for other people. With that, kids get into a position where they can notice when things in their lives seem unfair and unjust. This will allow them to do something about it should it happen.
What’s the Best Way to Talk About Race and Racism?
Kids facing racism, incredibly racist white people, feel lost as they try to understand why it happens. This tends to impact their long-term wellbeing and development.
Teach Them to Identify Racism
Making discussions about racism as ‘normal’ discussions starts when the kids are young. According to professionals, there is nothing like too early to begin such conversations. Youngsters begin reflecting the bias visible within their society, which is usually a bias towards whiteness.
It is essential to pay close attention to what you have in your house. Toys, books, and even the shows you watch should have diverse characters playing different roles. This helps to balance a narrative from society, only placing white characters at the central point.
Teach Them the Value of Diversity and Inclusion and to Embrace Our Differences
The simple statement that ‘we are equal’ could have the right intentions. However, it perpetuates racism since it does not take regard for people’s identities. As opposed to that, please talk with your kids about how we could honor and celebrate our differences. It would help if you also taught the youngsters how our unique backgrounds make the world beautiful in different ways.
Empower Her to Challenge Racism When She Sees It.
Racism will not always be violent as it exists in so many forms. It is primarily rooted in the false beliefs about how whites’ experience is standard and superior to others. Please take note of what your kid hears at school and who they see in the neighborhood. Often, kids learn a lot from what they see around them.
Some parents take racism as a ‘solved issue’ while in a real sense, it is not. Show your kids that the likes of Martin Luther King Junior took action against social injustices. Let them know that we all have a role, and they too can help make things better.
Talk About Your Day and Current Events
You will also need to talk with your kids about your day and the current events. Talk about bias and racial identity with your kids, which means acknowledging what they are already aware of. Being aware of current events helps you understand what your kids could be aware of and what you are not. In that case, you will be able to offer proper guidance.
Supplement What They Learn (or don’t!) In School With Classes Elsewhere
When kids start attending school, their exposure scope widens. This, therefore, means that they need guidance about racism and discrimination in general. For instance, you can ask them what they hear from the school. Make them understand that they are not any better than anyone in that school. Similarly, they need to learn that no one in their school is better than them. You should also follow keenly to see what they are learning from social media.
Look at The Books On Your Shelves With a Critical Eye
Please take note of what you have on your shelves and how that could impact their views about racism. Consider having books that have different characters from different backgrounds. The contents should help you and the kids have a whole different view on skin color. This lets them understand how the world is beautiful with our unique differences.
Watch Movies and TV That Provide Teaching Moments
For older teens, parents should encourage a movie or TV program that has teaching moments. It will equally be necessary to invite individuals from different races, religions, and ethnic backgrounds. Movies with characters such as Angie Thomas appeals to older teens. Parents should, however, do proper research to ensure that the movies about racism for kids are appropriate.
Learn and Take Action Together
Families from different backgrounds arrive at these discussions from various places. If there is one thing that could help, it will be for caregivers to educate themselves so that they can increase their comfort level and understanding.
If you can comfortably explain racism to your fellow adults, it would be impossible to do so for your kids. Let your kids understand that you are learning as she is. This helps to show the kid that making impactful change takes dedication and patience.
The Bottom Line
This brings us to the end of our discussion. We believe that you are now aware of how to teach kids about racism. Victims of racism can attest that pain comes from words the same way it does for actions. Victims can explain the pain they feel whenever they are subjected to racist slurs. We all have a responsibility to ensure that every child is safe from racism and the associated discrimination.
To do so, we must start with ourselves. This calls for seeing aside time during the day to do individual inventory. Have you take actions that could have contributed to oppression systems? The other thing you need to consider is your family as well as friends. Put their behaviors, jokes, and statements under check. The work against racism should be addressed continually. This is the way to go if we have to resolve racism amongst ourselves.