For many parents, talking about race with children is a difficult concept. Adults often question how much children already know and how much information is appropriate to share, while balancing a need to protect children from the United States’ complicated (and often violent) racial history.
It is important to note that children are perceptive, and often pick up the nuances of race even without direct commentary. Adults need to realize there may be awkward moments, but by engaging children in conversations about race at an early age and continuing to do so throughout adolescence, parents have an opportunity to shape children’s self-esteem as well as perspectives in regards to race. Each moment is a learning opportunity to affirm children’s questions, challenge stereotypes, and teach children how to navigate an increasingly racially diverse community in positive, productive ways.
In the radio show linked above, Sonia and Natalie also mention three books that may be a good starting point for families:
- The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt
- Happy to be Nappy by Bell Hooks
- Makes Me Wanna Holler: A Young Black Man in America by Nathan McCall
How are families in your community talking about race and racism?
– Today’s blog post was written by SCAN MSW Intern Chamone Marshall