I was very hesitant and nervous to write anything about such a sensitive topic like racism. I have never personally experienced racism and to be honest I am afraid that if I speak out about it I may accidentally say the wrong thing and end up hurting or offending someone. This fear and intimidation made me realize that this is exactly why we need to talk about racism. Reflecting on my own thoughts made it clear to me that a lot of other people must be feeling the same and staying silent because they are afraid. Silence changes nothing. As a mom I have a responsibility to my children to teach them to be kind, loving and accepting human beings. I have a responsibility to teach my children about different cultures, races and to not tolerate racism.
I know I don’t have all the answers, but I also know that what is happening in the present day is not okay. Change needs to start somewhere and I truly believe children are the future.
After a lot of thought and consideration I have decided that I wanted to share how I intend to teach my daughter about racism. I hope that as a parent figure reading this article, you too intend to make changes for a brighter future where racism doesn’t have to exist. I also hope you find these resources useful to teach your young children about racism.
How to teach young children about racism
Teach your child that not everyone is “equal”
I know when I was little I was taught that we need to “look past skin color”, “race doesn’t matter” or “when you look at someone, don’t see color”. Thinking back on this I have realized that this is totally backwards.
All children are not colorblind, they are aware there are differences in peoples appearance. They can see different skin colors, hair color, eye color, gestures intellectual, physical and cultural differences.
Teaching children to ignore the differences in people or label everyone as the same or equal doesn’t seem to be beneficial to anyone. It is important that we teach our children to be aware of these differences, teach them about cultural diversity, and to make them aware that these difference are what makes each individual special and unique. How can our children put a stop to racism, if they do not understand that people are different and that it is okay that not everyone is the same?
Teaching our children about race and the importance of diversity gives our children the tools they need to feel confident when talking about race. It will eliminate that “sense of fear” that has been so ingrained in society. Giving your child the tools they need to talk about race will allow them to recognize social injustice and racism, hopefully giving your child the ability to take action for change.
Include Diversity in your children’s environment
Did you know that children have a natural tendency to seek out sameness or others that look the same as them? By not including diversity among your child’s toys, books or even television shows you might be sending the subliminal messaging that different = scary.
Buying dolls, action figures and books that include different races will help your child to know that it is okay to be different. Being different isn’t a scary thing, but only exposing you child to things that are the “same” as them, can make different feel scary rather than something that makes you unique.
Children’s Books that Celebrate Cultural Diversity and acceptance
Any profits made through the sale of these books will be donated to organizations supporting the end of racism. If you have any suggestions please leave me a comment below or submit a message through my contact forum.
1. All Are Welcome by Alexadra Penfold
2. We’re Different, We’re The Same by Bobbi Kates
4. Be Kind by Pat Zietlow Miller
5. One Love by Cedella Marley
Look for Opportunities to get involved with other cultures
Involving your family in situations where you are the “different” or where you can experience a new culture together is a great way to promote acceptance and awareness in your children. It also allows you to observe your child with different races and cultures and see their reactions. This can open the door to starting a discussion with your child about how they feel, what learned or what they think about different races and cultural experiences.
Observe and talk to Your Child
Going off the last point, observe your child and watch how they play and who they play with. Encourage your child to play with other children even if they are different than them, whether the difference is skin color, gender, a disability or physical difference.
Be there to talk with your child, and let them know that you are a safe haven for them to express their feelings and thoughts too. It can be hard for young children to process these differences and what they mean. This is your opportunity as a parent to guide them to accept people with differences from themselves and understand that different is not a bad thing, but something that makes each individual or culture unique and beautiful.
Lead by example
Children learn so much from what they see. From a very young age they copy their parents, so what you do and how you act really does impact your child’s behavior and mind set.
Take a look at yourself. Do you have any racial bias? Think about the language you use and the jokes you make. Eliminate this behavior, especially in front of your child.
Do other family members or friends use stereotypes or racial slurs? Speak up and simply say that it is inappropriate. Stand up for what is right and do not tolerate racism. Your child will see this and learn from your actions.
That’s a wrap! These Are All the ways I intend to teach my children about Racism.
Like I said, I am not a perfect person or parent. I have never experienced racism personally. All I know is that what is happening in the world needs to stop. Teaching our children about racism is just one way to take action and these are the strategies I will be using.
For Even More Tips on how to teach your children about racism,
Head over to Learning To Live Light where Lucia shares more great tips on how to talk to your children about racism!
If you have any other tips on how to talk to and teach young children about race and racism I would love to hear them in the comments!
Want to learn more about me? Read more here!