From RIISE: “Five Myths of Talking About Race With Your Child”
Here’s an article I found online today that I feel could be useful for talking about race with children.
Written by Jaime-Jin Lewis, Executive Director of a racial justice nonprofit named Border Crossers:
“I get a lot of mixed feedback when I say that adults need to learn to speak openly about race with young children. They are afraid of spoiling their childhood or crushing their natural curiosities. However, when we look at the root causes of racial inequity in this country, we see that they grow out of the lessons we learn in our earliest years. In fact, honest conversations about race have a positive impact on children, honoring their observations and lived experiences, and better preparing them to recognize and undo social injustice in their lives. Then, why don’t we do it more?”
“The truth is that most of us adults have incomplete and competing ideas about the role of race in our own lives. Young children’s comments often illuminate the uncomfortable gap between our good intentions and the thorny truths of the world.”
Citing her own work with talking about race with children, Jaime-Jin Lewis wrote in detail about these 5 myths that can be used by adults as excuses for not talking about race with kids:
1. Children don’t see race.
2. Talking about race creates racist thinking.
3. Exposure to diversity is enough.
4. My child said something racist, therefore I must be a bad parent.
5. I don’t have all the answers.
I encourage you to read the article in its entirety because the author goes into more detail about each of these myths, and offers suggestions that could be useful for working against them.
Children are smarter than they are often given credit for.
Don’t forget, cartoons can also be useful conversation starters…
From Aspiring Humanitarian, Relando Thompkins, MSW