Tips for talking about race and racism with your kids
RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Talking about race and racism with your children is not an easy subject, but it’s not one you can skip.
Change requires education and with ongoing protests, unrest and the push for change - most families will come face to face with the subject if they haven’t already. Whether this conversation is new to your family, may depend on race - and that’s part of the problem.
- You can buy toys with people of color. You should buy all the colors, but when you role play with your kids, consider choosing the person of color first sometimes. Affirm that all colors are great choices. Take time to compliment differences, including skin and hair of all styles and colors. They are all beautiful, and you can teach your child to see the world that way.
- Find ways to immerse your children in cultural experiences that aren’t their own. Music and books are an easy option, so find books that celebrate black culture and black or brown skin.
- Find characters that celebrate a person of color's accomplishment.
- For older kids, have “the talk.” Most black families have no choice but to talk about what racism is, why it exists, why it’s not OK and how it may impact a child’s life negatively. They have to talk to their children about how to respond if approached by authorities and how to stay safe. But all parents can have this talk, and experts say you should. Teach your older kids to support their friends of color in situations where they may feel unsafe, because of racism, how to stand up to racists and report them. Remember, your actions are your child’s best lesson. Your child is watching YOU.
- If you see racism in action, speak out against it. Support your friends and family of different colors - help their voices be heard. Repeat what they say, when people don’t listen and say it again. Make sure you talk to your kids afterward about why those choices were the right ones.
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