How to Talk to Your Kids About Race and Racism
The time to start talking about race with your kids was yesterday.
Racial injustice is nothing new, but with the ongoing, worldwide protests in the wake of the death of George Floyd, it’s now visible to many white families in a way that it hasn’t been in the past. That means that parents are having some difficult conversations—with each other and with their children—about race that they likely had the privilege of putting off.
“A good parallel to this anxiety is the trepidation parents have about talking about reproductive functions,” says Charles Adams, co-founder of Lion’s Story, a program dedicated to teaching people how to solve racially charged situations. “We don’t create space for young people to talk about race, and historically, we haven’t given them the best inputs.”
Even if you’ve shied away from the topic of race in the past, it’s time to start explaining racism to your kids right now.
“Teaching your kids about racism shows your kid how much you care about them,” Adams says. “If I don’t say anything to my son, that’s on me, and if a white person doesn’t say anything and their child says [the] n-word, that’s on that family. Before they get to college, they have to be equipped with racial literacy and history and identity. We need to make sure that they have the prerequisites before they’re out of our sight.”
If you need a little help teaching your kids about race and racism, here’s how to get started.