Raising Anti-Racist Kids: How to Talk to Children About Race and Racism

raising anti-racist kids

Hey yall! It’s Jess. This week, we are going to talk about something more serious- how to talk to your children about uplifting Black lives and being actively anti-racist.

What does this mean? Being anti-racist means constantly working to fight racism in all its forms. For more info on this, go here.

I am in the US and as many of you know, we are going through some shit. This is not just an issue in the US, this is a world-wide issue. The Black community has been suffering for too long and the world is finally done looking the other way.

Now, don’t get scared. I know this is uncomfortable. Trust me. I get it. The world will never change unless we want it to and actively work towards change. It is our responsibility to ensure that everyone in our society gets fair and equal treatment. This is not a race issue. This is a human rights issue. We don’t shy away from supporting other basic human rights so let’s not shy away now.

Change starts with us. Like with any other important change, we want our children to be a part of it. How do we bring them in? How do we explain all the horrible things the Black community has endured for so long? How do we teach them about racism and how to be actively anti-racist? Well, I will share some small but meaningful changes to get you started.

1. Books

This is my favorite way to teach my kids anything. Colors? The current favorite is “Brown Bear, Brown Bear.” Potty? We are knee-deep in “Dino Potty.” Letters? “Chicka Chicka Boom Boom,” of course. Anti-racism? There is a book for that, too. Enter “Antiracist Baby” by Ibram X. Kendi. This is the same super talented Black author who wrote, How to be Antiracist.

anti-racist baby

Do you need a special book to teach your kids about anti-racism? No, you do not. You just need to take a peek at your home library and take note of how many Black, Indigenous, People of Color, or BIPOC, characters are in the stories you are reading to your children. If there aren’t very many, consider that the next time you buy a book or check some out at your local library.

Story Time with Daddy
Photographer: Picsea | Source: Unsplash

2. Check our language

race, racism, anti-racist language
Source: New York Times

This one is a bit tough as we really have to work hard on it. There are so many words that we use that are not ours to use. What does that even mean, Jess? Well, have you ever called something “ghetto?” Here is why that is problematic.

There are so many words that have become a part of our everyday language but still carry so much weight and pain for the Black community.

Are you thinking to yourself “well I am in the clear because I have never used the word ghetto?” Well, have you ever used “extra, basic, woke, squad, yas?” I know I have. Many times. Being actively anti-racist means checking ourselves for appropriation or misappropriation in the way we think, speak, and act.

This isn’t to say that we can’t use words ever again but more so that we can be aware of the heaviness of our words and the importance of the language we use especially in front of our children.

3. Exposure

Take a moment to think of your child’s friend circle. How many children of color does your child know? How many are in their daycare? How many do they see at the park?

How many BIPOC are in our own circle?

Are we mirroring the kind of friendships we want our children to have?

Covid-19 makes this very difficult at the moment but when we are allowed to be around other people again, I highly encourage you to befriend BIPOC. Let me be very clear here – BIPOC and their children are not meant as props so you can add diversity to your circle but rather what I am saying is reach out with an open heart and no expectations.

For now, let’s pay extra attention to the diversity in the shows/movies our kids watch.

These are just starting points to teach our children how to be anti-racist. Most of our children are still very young and learn best from watching. Let’s make sure we are teaching them how to love all humans.

anti-racist

What are some ways you have taught your children how to be anti-racist? Is it something you had thought of before?

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