A huge part of parenting is having the tough talks. We can’t—and shouldn’t—wait for the news to nudge us into action. We can touch on themes of racism, injustice and inequality every day—in our reading choices and in conversation with our kids. It’s not about having one long, drawn-out discussion, but about planting the seeds of progress all the time, in small ways, as we work together to build a more inclusive society.
There are so many enlightening points of view and resources out there to inspire those conversations with your kids. We’ve put together some of our favourites.
TALKING ABOUT RACISM
Your kids are learning about race right now—make sure they’re learning the right things gives advice on answering the tougher questions kids have about race and racism.
Tips for developing an environment of diversity at home makes a compelling case for talking about racism regularly with your kids, not just when there are flare-ups in the news. Scroll to the bottom for 8 practical suggestions.
Aya de Leon on How to Talk to Small Children about Racism: Celebrating Bree Newsome is a blog post that uses pirate analogies and pictures that you can scroll through with kids. The main talking points are activism and the confederate flag.
The Facebook group Kids’ Books for a Better World highlights children’s books with diverse characters that take on social issues. Sign up to keep the conversations going.
27 books to help you talk to your kids about racism
“If we want to confront racism, white people like me need to pay less attention to our comfort and more to everyone else’s discomfort and pain, which are a direct result of racism,” says Cory Silverberg, the author of this think piece: Why White People Need to Talk to Their Kids about Racism.
And in White Supremacists Still Exist. Here’s What White Parents Can Do About It, Caroline Bologna shares advice from parents, activists, educators and allies geared most specifically to white parents about how to better educate themselves and teach their kids to combat racism.
Ten Ways to Fight Hate: A Community Response Guide covers everything from creating peace gardens to lobbying for multicultural representations in your child’ school textbooks. Scroll to #9 for kid-focused actions you can take.
Supporting and engaging with podcasts by journalists of colour, donating to an organization that represents victim of hate crimes in court, and cooking for people in your community who feel vulnerable right now—these are among the actions suggested in this thoughtful piece, 8 Ways to Help after Charlottesville. And if you have time to listen to just one of the recommended podcasts, we say make it this one: How to Talk Race with Your Family, by Code Switch.
5 Free Short Films to Teach Kids about Tolerance and Diversity is a round-up of kids’ film shorts with culturally diverse characters. Watch them as a family and talk about the themes and stories together. And pay attention on an ongoing basis to the media your kids consume: Are characters of different racial and cultural backgrounds represented? Is there a problem with stereotyping? Are non-white characters relegated to supporting roles? Talk about these things with your kids and guide them towards media representations that reflect our diverse society better.
And if you’d like to donate money to a group committed to tackling racism, consider: Life After Hate, a group that helps people disengage from the white power movement; Showing up for Racial Justice, which engages allies against racism; or the Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect, which addresses civil and human rights across America.