Raising Anti-Racist Children for White Parents

The way you approach the topic of race with your children can have a significant impact on their ability to be accepting of others. To help end racism, these are the most effective ways for white parents to talk to their children.

In the past few weeks, there has never been greater attention paid to social justice concerns like police brutality and systematic racism. Again, this is a battle that many of your Black mom friends have been fighting for years, and the sudden flood of concern can be overwhelming and demoralizing.

There are, however, ways in which we can ensure that everyone’s dedication to eradicating racism continues. In order to help children develop their sense of self-awareness, tolerance, and empathy, it’s critical to be deliberate about how you approach dialogues about race and equality with them. Experts weigh in on how white parents can work to raise children who are anti-racist and proactive against the perpetuation of systems or experiences inherent in racism.

Recognize the existence of white privilege.

Teaching children about the advantages they have because they were born a white person is critical for white parents. Raising anti-racist children requires taking this step. White privilege is not to say that a white person will not have struggles or adversity, but instead, it should be viewed as an inherent advantage that the person has without doing anything other than having white skin. All white people, regardless of social class, gender, geographic region, age, or acknowledgment, are entitled to white privilege.

Contrary to popular belief, color does exist.

It’s important to consider things like race. As early as three months old, research reveals that youngsters can identify between races and classify others by race between the ages of 6 and 8. In order for a youngster to be able to identify another person, she must be able to notice their color. To say that you don’t care about someone’s race is tantamount to implying that you don’t want to know them at all.

Answer questions about race honestly and factually.

When working with parents of white children, a licensed psychologist often hears them discuss times when their child spoke of a racial difference between them and another person in public. She claims that the typical response from parents is to chastise or neglect their children. But there is a better way to handle that situation.

Children’s inquisitiveness is an expression of their desire to learn and understand. Children might be taught that race is something to be feared or ignored by parents who think they are doing the right thing by avoiding humiliation and ridicule. Race and skin tone are seen and experienced differently in this society, and this sets the stage for the erasure of the real differences that exist.

Instead, remain composed when discussing variances in skin tone and facial features with the questioner. And don’t be afraid to listen to what they have to say. The most crucial thing to keep in mind is to react with facts. In addition to highlighting differences, it is also important to point out similarities; this helps avoid divisiveness.

Racism should be brought up with children from an early age.

Early discussions about racism can have a profound impact on the way children see the world and others. Society can’t handle this for you. Don’t hide racism from your children. It’s a hard reality. Make a point of educating them about issues of racism and prejudice.

However, it is crucial to be developmentally appropriate. Educate your child about the history and systematic legacy of racism as a teenager, as well as ways to get involved in making changes, particularly younger children under the age of ten.

The way young children exhibit their awareness is important to pay attention to. React to the situation as well as take proactive steps to resolve it. Whether you’re playing a role in a play or watching a movie, it’s critical to handle physical appearance differences in a proactive and reactive manner. Both can have a substantial impact on the way kids think and talk about race in the years to come.

Find out what kids already know, what they’re learning, how they talk about justice and fairness, and what ideas they have for changing the world.

An excellent role model is someone who sets an example for their peers.

They understand more than you might imagine, and they are always looking to their primary caregiver for direction. They look to you for more than just what you can provide them or teach them; they also watch to see how you respond to conversations about racism.

Observe how you speak to youngsters, as well as the examples you set for them. Even if stereotypes seem harmless, you should be able to pause and ask, “What did you think about that?” or utilize the opportunity to discuss the value of attempting to understand rather than stereotype or judge different groups. Model how you and your family can help people who are being discriminated against or racially profiled. As a volunteer, you can accomplish this by donating or by just showing your support.

Helpful related article: How to Discuss Racism and Race With Children, Dos and Don’ts of Discussing Race with Children, Age-by-Age Guide to Discussing Race in the Classroom