Teaching Kids about Race/ism Does NOT Have to be Hard

Teaching Kids about Race/ism Does NOT Have to be Hard

Lucretia Berry  •   

I have observed that the number one reason parents and educators find it challenging to talk with kids about race/ism is because in an effort to be comprehensive and impactful, we try to cover too much complexity and content in too little time. Also, many adults often wait to teach/learn about race/ism when something overtly racist happens thereby conveying that racism is an event, instead of what it actually is – the belief in and practice of an erroneous idea

This is why I design antiracism educational experiences offering incremental pieces over an extended period of time – to support a developmental process – which is how we actually learn and grow. As such, reading the content and completing the activities in Hues of You – An Activity Book for Learning About the Skin You Are In gradually, over time

  • helps adults help children build positive pathways regarding diversity within humanity, 
  • teaches developmentally appropriate language, 
  • provides informed definitions of common terms, and 
  • gives context and permission to learn and talk about phenotypic, cultural, ethnic, and racial distinctions without the stigma or fear society has attached to talking about race/ism.

Likewise, during our four-day summer camp, campers engaged in activities, painting, crafts, games, and books that helped them develop healthy, belonging language and a framework for seeing, honoring, and celebrating our many-hued, multicultural world. We fostered respect, understanding, empathy and connection. Camp was designed by educator-moms, Tiffany Trudewind, Tehia Starker-Glass, and me. 

Hues of you summer camp

Our campers included kindergarten through seventh graders, learning all together, and encouraging each other! We even had a few high school-age helpers, who loved the experience as well. We covered topics like 

  • The significance of Juneteenth (because camp started on June 20th, the day after Juneteenth)
  • Understanding, naming  and honoring phenotype distinctions,
  • Practicing ‘I AM’ affirmations (check out our Affirming Party Playlist), 
  • What race and racism actually are, 
  • The difference between justice and equality, and how to be just.

Each day, I was excited to begin. Each day ended with a dance party celebration! And each day, I heard from parents about how much their camper was learning and teaching them.  The Hues of You camp felt like a dream come true – a dream that I didn’t even know that I had.

Hues of you campers 2022
Hues of You Campers 2022

Check out camp highlights on my instagram reel and Camp Resources for Caregivers we shared with our camper’s adults!

Lucretia is a wife, mom of three, and a former college professor, who founded Brownicity with the purpose of making scholarly-informed, antiracism education accessible in order to inspire a culture of true belonging and justice for all. Her 2017 TED Talk, ‘Children will light up the world if we don’t keep them in the dark’ is well received, as well as her books and courses:

hues of you