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Talking Race with Young Children

Posted on January 04 2021

Talking Race with Young Children

 

There are many tough conversations between parents and their kids like: death, divorce, intimate relationships and race. 

Kids are not color blind therefor we can't be color silent. Explain to them what they are seeing and why. Talk about the beauty of many races coming together to support each other. 

  • Babies start to notice at 6 months old 

When a child brings up race, don't shut them down but instead break it down. 

THINGS TO REMEMBER 

  • Don't shut them down when they mention race
  • Don't wait for kids to bring it up
  • Be proactive, helping them to build a positive awareness of diversity
  • When a child experiences prejudice, grown-ups need to both address the feelings and fight the prejudices.
  • You don't have to avoid topics like slavery or the Holocaust. Instead, give the facts and focus on resistance and allies.
     20 min podcast with a quick overview on how to handle difficult conversations about race.  It's important to break down heavy conversations into an age appropriate information bites. For example, when talking about enslaved people, you can say: when European settlers came to build America, there was a lot of work to do and they needed the best, smartest, and strong workers. So they went to Africa to find them, unfortunately, they didn't want to pay them. They kidnapped them and brought them here, and made them work without pay and that was very unfair. 

This way you can give basic facts in an age appropriate way. Moments like this would also be a great opportunity to take your kid to the library and let them chose a book to study more about race and different cultures. 

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In addition to Jeanette Betancourt, senior vice president for Social Impact at Sesame Workshop, check out Beverly Daniel Tatum's TEDx talk as well as her book, Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?: And Other Conversations About Race.

THE EGG DEMONSTRATION

A visual game you can play with children is with the white and brown eggs.

Point out the difference and crack both eggs into a bowl to show that on the outside the eggs looks different but on the inside they are very the same, just like people.  

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