HOW TO DISCUSS RACISM AND RACE WITH CHILDREN
Some families discuss race and the negative effects of racism on a regular basis. When it comes to discussing racism and discrimination with their children, some parents choose to avoid the subject at all costs.
However, if parents remain silent, their children may be taught that racism is not important or that it is someone else’s responsibility. Everyone may play a part in the fight against racism if they want it to be eradicated.
Is Racism and Racism Important to Discuss?
Teaching children that it’s okay to talk about race from an early age is an important step in helping them appreciate and respect the distinctions among individuals.
This cultivates empathy and compassion for others so that children are better equipped to recognize injustices in their own lives and take action to correct them.
Race and Racism: What’s the Best Approach?
There is no one way to approach the topic of race and racism with your children. Depending on your ethnicity, nationality, and past encounters with racism, the content of this discussion will vary from family to family.
Some ideas for starting and maintaining a discussion are as follows:
Get the facts first. You’ll be able to report problems more effectively if you’re aware of them. Learn about the history of racism and civil rights by listening to a podcast, watching a television show, or reading a history book.
Define the core values of your family. What you believe in should be communicated through your words, deeds, and example to your children. Justice, sticking up for those in need, and appreciating everyone regardless of skin color, language, or other disparities are just a few of the principles that may be emphasized.
Speak clearly and concisely. Don’t overburden them with knowledge. Clearly and succinctly present the facts. Give them only what they need to know about a story you’ve seen in the paper if you wish to bring it up with them.
Respect the audience’s maturity level. Younger students may struggle to appreciate the scope of concerns around race and racism.
Do not be afraid to ask questions. Questioning them like “What do you think about what happened on TV?” or “What have you heard?” might help your child explore their thoughts and feelings. Your child’s understanding will be assessed, and you may then fill up any knowledge gaps or underline the family values you hold dear.
Foster open communication by creating a safe space where people can openly express their emotions. Anger, despair, and a host of other strong emotions are evoked during difficult discussions like this. This may be especially true for children who’ve been the victims of racism or whose relatives have been. Let your youngster know that their emotions are valid and significant. Sharing your thoughts and feelings in a healthy manner is beneficial. Use a phrase such as, “I’m unhappy right now, but that’s just fine. I’m not going to feel this way for the rest of my life.” This is an excellent tool for assisting children in gaining a better understanding of the bigger picture.
Please carry on with the conversation. There should be no one-time conversation about race and racism with your children. Allow your youngster to ask you questions about the topic at hand and to continue the conversation with you.
So, what if there is no satisfactory explanation for these phenomena?
It’s fine if you don’t know everything. Be honest if you don’t know how to respond to a question. Find out and share your findings with your youngster.
Is there anything else we can do as a family?
When it comes to raising children that have a desire to help others, parents can do a variety of things. Here are a few ideas for family fun:
Don’t be afraid to get to know folks from other walks of life. Consider enrolling your child in a school, daycare, or club that includes children from other parts of the country. In this way, children learn that they can make friends wherever they go.
Learn about other people’s cultures. Learn about other people and cultures as a family. Learn about other cultures’ holidays by reading, seeing, or listening to the music. Experience the stories, art, and history of individuals who aren’t like you at cultural fairs and museums.
Speak up. Do something about injustice when you see it. Get your thoughts out there. Send an email. Start a movement by making art for a good cause — or join one. Do the same for your children.
Spend time together as a family learning about and celebrating the distinctions among its members. You’ll assist develop your own and your child’s sense of compassion for others.