Normalizing Informed & Healthy Conversations About Race

little girl covering her eyes with hands

Although this post was created for a school’s parents event, any and everyone is welcome to engage and share this content.

At this month’s Parent Advisory, Lucretia will lead us in an important discussion. Telling children, “ we don’t see color,” or “everyone is the same,” does not help them understand that race should not matter. In fact, it leaves them vulnerable to racial socialization. Researchers have found that to be effective, conversations with children about race have to be explicit and in terms that children understand. And when incorporated into family life and their school curriculum, informed and healthy conversations become normal. We will:

  • talk about navigating skin tone and race conversations with children
  • share books and resources
  • share some examples of dialogue

Related Reading Materials

Children Are Not Colorblind: How Young Children Learn by Erin Winkler 

Because children do see color, COLORBLINDNESS is not an option.

  • 6m. Notice differences
  • 2.5 – 3y. Group based on differences (race, gender)
  • 3y. Black children choose White
  • 5y. Children see race as a major point of difference or distinction, even when it is not discussed
  • 7y. Children can accurately reflect social status bias and will make choices or judgments based on who they perceive as having more power or privilege
  • White children as young as 7y demonstrate that they believe Blacks experience less pain than Whites.
  • Even when kids are told that people are all the same, White kids continue to demonstrate stronger racial biases than children of other groups. (Schutts & Olsen, 2011)

We live in a hyper-racialized society where proficiency is needed.

To Do:

Talk openly and explicitly. If you don’t teach them, someone else will! Talking empowers them, not talking leads to complicit racism

  • Narrow the white conversation gap
  • Have explicit conversation about race improves racial attitudes across groups
  • Give context – teach about the country’s history of bias and discrimination
  • Diversify your life & library. Even slightly more exposure to other racial groups, even through children’s books, helps to counteract bias and discrimination
    • rich diversity of our world.
    • feature positive representation and also cover themes of social justice.
    • authors are people of color
    • main protagonist is a person of color

Books & media to help foster informed & healthy conversation

Younger Children

High School & Adults

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