EDUCATING YOUR CHILD ABOUT RACISM
The United States has been plagued by racism for a long time. Racism and discrimination based on skin color and ethnicity have been a part of human history since the dawn of time. However, racism does not necessarily overtly manifest itself. It also has an impact on the opportunities available to those who are disenfranchised. On a daily basis, how they are treated impacts their emotional and physical well-being.
It’s long past time to confront these challenges and come up with actual solutions. Educating your child about racism might be a challenge whether you are a parent or caretaker. The topic may leave you feeling unclear about how to approach it and worried that you’d say something incorrectly.
Significant fears are understandable, but now is not the time to avoid these discussions. Racism can only be confronted by facing it head-on, not by avoiding it. And having unpleasant conversations with our children is a necessary part of it.
Why It’s Important to Have a Conversation with Our Children About Racism
You can’t skip the “race discussion” with your children at this critical juncture in history. Our children’s education must now include lessons on racial injustice as it is reported in the media, as well as studies on the underlying systemic concerns that cause it to occur in the first place.
It is fundamental for parents to educate themselves about how to handle racially-motivated police violence and the history of the criminal justice system before they can communicate to their children about these subjects.
Racism is a part of everyone’s daily life. They’re everywhere: in our neighborhoods, schools, and places of worship. We all have a duty to play in making sure that everyone else in our community is treated with respect and decency. Making this a reality begins at an early age when we begin talking to our children about what they want to be when they grow up.
Approaching the Subject
The greatest approach for discussing racism is to be direct and straightforward. Even though you may assume that using vague language may help your child better comprehend what you’re saying, this isn’t always the case.
It will be much simpler to have these discussions if you are up forward about what is going on from the beginning. The discussion of racism with your child should be continual, beginning when they are small and increasing in content as they become older, just like discussions about sex or other unpleasant topics. It will be a lot simpler to continue the conversation if you have a structure for it that is transparent, honest, and straightforward.
As tempting as it may be to allow “children to be children,” it is not realistically viable to avoid these discussions. Healthy growth requires children to talk about and solve difficulties, which is a natural aspect of childhood.
How to Discuss Difficult Topics
Because of the disturbing and frightening nature of many recent occurrences involving racism and racial injustice, it might be difficult to bring up the subject. However, we must know that these are not topics we want to keep hidden from our children’s minds!
It’s critical for kids to be able to talk to an adult about difficult topics like these. In order to begin discussing current racial events with your children, Cummings has some guidelines for you to follow. What you need to know is provided here.
Open-Ended Questions should be asked.
Ask your children what they already know about issues such as police brutality and the reasons for the Black Lives Matter protests. Having a better understanding of them will help you resolve any ambiguities and fill in any gaps.
Make Sense of the Terms for Them
You may realize that your youngster does not know what “police brutality” is, but they may have heard that some Black people are terrified of being pulled over by the police. Define terminology so that when they hear them in conversation or read them on social media, they clearly understand what they mean and can better comprehend the issues at hand.
Acknowledge That You Do Not Possess All of the Solutions.
Let your youngster know when you don’t know the answer. The temptation to brush over or guess rather than acknowledge that you don’t know is a strong one, but resist it. As an alternative, have your child join you in discovering the solution. You should demonstrate how you learn and what resources you use to do so. Researching as a group lays a solid educational foundation and fosters a working knowledge of the media.
Consolidate the idea of racial equity.
As difficult as current events may be to address, they serve as a reminder of how important it is to come together as a community and treat each other with respect and care. Make sure your youngster understands the concept of justice if you wish to teach them about fairness. Make it clear how they can make a difference in their community.
Make a Game Plan.
Your child may wish to write a letter to their congressman. Opt for a demonstration instead. Use these as teaching opportunities. Be a mentor to them and help them figure out how they can help the world around them. Talking is vital, but doing the action is even more so. Encourage your children to take the initiative, especially if they show signs of doing so.
How to Discuss Racism According to Age
It’s more challenging to talk to younger children about racism than talking to older ones. However, this does not rule out the possibility of having early dialogues about race. The following is a step-by-step tutorial for parents on how to talk to their children about race.
Preschoolers and Toddlers
With young children, utilize basic language and explain the subject matter in a way that they can comprehend. You can talk about people in your neighborhood, in your family, and at daycare or pre-school.
What is it that makes us all unique? What is it that binds them? Discuss the beauty and significance of the diversity that exists in our world.
Children of School Age
Many excellent diversity-themed picture books can be used to introduce students to the topic of race in an early grade school setting. It’s also critical to expose your child to novels written by varied authors with diverse characters. Children may not always be able to articulate their thoughts and ideas verbally, but they are masters at enacting what they have learned.
It’s advocated by Teens Stack to have frank discussions with children, particularly as they get older. It is best not to minimize the significance of what you’re saying out of fear of how they’ll react. Most children prefer open dialogue even if the chat is about a difficult topic.
Examining racism in a way that is educational, honest, and respectful to all parties involved is vital. However, action is an important component as well. When it comes to racial injustice, today’s youth are making their voices heard loud and clear. Protests planned and attended by teenagers have had a significant impact on society.
Be a role model for your children. There will be numerous opportunities for you to express your concerns and suggestions to your youngster. Decide on activities that you and your partner can complete in unison. Attending a rally or nonviolent protest with friends can be a life-changing event.
As a first-time parent, you have a wealth of tools for teaching your child about race and racism in the United States. Your family can also get involved in the struggle against racial injustice in the United States.
What matters most is that you actually put in the time and effort and don’t just talk about it. People have been ignoring or glossing over this issue for far too long.
No matter how upsetting it is, we cannot ignore the truth that racism persists in the United States. Speaking to our children about racism is one of many actions we must all take to confront the injustices that continue to damage the lives of so many in our country today.