The Love Central - What to Say and Do When Your Kids Face Racism

What to Say and Do When Your Kids Face Racism

There are many books, stories, movies, and online resources that can help parents and children learn about different cultures.
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Racism is a painful and pervasive reality that affects millions of children around the world. In this article, we will share some tips on what to say and do when your kids face racism

As parents, we want to protect our children from racism and discrimination, but we may not always know how to do that effectively. How can we help our children cope with racism and foster a sense of belonging and empowerment? 

How can we teach them to respect diversity and challenge injustice? How can we start the conversation early and keep it going? 

Here are some tips on how to talk to your kids about racism and help them cope with it.

The Love Central - What to Say and Do When Your Kids Face Racism
Conversations about racism and discrimination should start early Image source Freepik

Start the conversation early and have it frequently

Race is embedded in our society. It affects our everyday lives and how we interact with each other. Children are not immune to noticing and experiencing racial differences and inequalities. 

According to UNICEF, babies notice physical differences, including skin color, from as early as 6 months. By age 5, children can show signs of racial bias, such as treating people from one racial group more favorably than the other. 

Ignoring or avoiding the topic of race is not protecting children, it is leaving them exposed to bias that exists wherever we live. Conversations about racism and discrimination should start early and be ongoing, not just in response to a specific incident or event. 

Parents should be proactive and intentional in creating a safe and open space for their children to ask questions, share their feelings, and learn about race and racism.

Seek educational resources together

There are many books, stories, movies, and online resources that can help parents and children learn about different cultures, histories, and perspectives. These can also introduce the concept of race and racism in an age-appropriate and engaging way. 

For example, UNICEF has a list of books for every age that can help start the conversation. Parents can also use these resources to educate themselves and challenge their own biases and assumptions.

Seeking educational resources together can also be an opportunity to broaden your children’s circle of exposure and influence. 

Encourage them to interact with people from diverse backgrounds and experiences, both in person and online. Help them develop empathy and respect for others, and to appreciate the richness and beauty of diversity.

Use experience as a teacher

Children learn from what they see and hear around them. They may witness or encounter racism in their daily lives, such as at school, in the media, or in their community. They may also experience racism themselves, either directly or indirectly. 

These experiences can be confusing, upsetting, and scary for children. They may not understand why they are being treated differently or unfairly because of their skin color or ethnicity.

Parents should be attentive and supportive of their children’s experiences and emotions. They should acknowledge and validate their feelings, and help them process and cope with them. They should also explain that racism is wrong and unacceptable, and that it is not their fault or something they should be ashamed of. 

Parents should also teach their children how to respond to racism in a safe and appropriate way, such as by speaking up, seeking help, or reporting it.

The Love Central - What to Say and Do When Your Kids Face Racism
Parents should also model positive behavior Image source Freepik

Get involved and take action

Talking to your children about racism is important, but it is not enough. Parents should also model positive behavior and demonstrate their commitment to fighting racism and promoting social justice. 

There are many ways to get involved and take action, such as by joining or supporting anti-racism organizations, campaigns, or movements, by signing petitions, donating, or volunteering, or by participating in peaceful protests or rallies.

Parents should also advocate for their children’s rights and well-being in their schools and communities. They should communicate with teachers, administrators, and other parents about how to create a more inclusive and respectful environment for all children. 

They should also demand accountability and justice for any incidents of racism or discrimination that their children may face or witness.

Conclusion: What to Say and Do When Your Kids Face Racism

Racism is a complex and challenging issue that affects children of all ages and backgrounds. Parents have a crucial role in helping their children understand and cope with racism, and in raising them to be anti-racist and socially conscious. 

By talking to your children about racism, seeking educational resources together, using experience as a teacher, and getting involved and taking action, you can help your children develop a positive racial identity and a sense of empowerment and hope for a better world.

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