“No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background or his religion. People learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.” – Nelson Mandela
It can be an emotional topic, but inclusivity and the impact race can have on someone’s life is something that’s always worth discussing. While there’s no one ‘right way’ to talk to children about race and mistakes will be made and you won’t have all the answers, it's far worse to not speak of it at all. As young as age 3, children start classifying people based on their appearances. So, the important thing is to start early and to never stop talking about it or educating yourself and your children.
Today, we’re sharing a wide variety of resources to help – from books to activities to videos. We encourage you to use these resources, and we invite you to share your own recommendations and experiences in the comments below. (This is a safe space. Comments that are judgmental or offensive in any way will not be published.)
How to Talk to Kids about Race
“The worst conversation adults can have with kids about race is no conversation at all,” says author Jemar Tisby. “Talking to kids about race needs to happen early, often, and honestly.” In this episode of Home School, The Atlantic’s animated series about parenting, Tisby offers advice on how to have a conversation with children about race, from experiential learning to watching classic animated films.
Systemic Racism Explained
Systemic racism affects every area of life in the US. From incarceration rates to predatory loans, and trying to solve these problems requires changes in major parts of our system. Here's a closer look at what systemic racism is, and how we can solve it.
Talking to Kids Authentically About Race and Racism
PBS KIDS for Parents hosted this important conversation — featuring fellow parents, educators and child development and trauma experts — about how you can talk with young children about racial injustice and violence against Black people. Explore questions such as: How can parents of Black children continue to instill confidence and pride in young kids while also explaining the racial inequity and barriers that continue today? And, how can parents of non-Black children help young kids understand their role in confronting anti-Black racism? Hear questions from fellow parents and learn tips and resources you can use to continue to have these meaningful conversations now and into the future.
Sesame Street: Lupita Nyong'o Loves Her Skin
Elmo is talking with his good friend Lupita about skin. Skin comes in all different textures and shades of color. Elmo's skin is very ticklish. Lupita's skin is a beautiful brown color. There are so many possibilities - ticklish or smooth, black, brown, white, or tan - love the skin you have!
“A Kid’s Book About Racism” read by author Jelani Memory
Yes, this really is a kid's book about racism. Inside, you’ll find a clear description of what racism is, how it makes people feel when they experience it, and how to spot it when it happens.
Same Difference (A Children's Book Story by Calida Rawles)
Same Difference is a charming book for young readers (4-8 year olds) that addresses the sensitive and sometime divisive issues of beauty and identity. It has a lyrical, upbeat air that begs to be read aloud and offers an engaging rhyme pattern for young children.
How White Parents Can Talk To Their Kids About Race with Jennifer Harvey, author of Raising White Kids: Bringing Up Children in a Racially Unjust America
Excerpt: One time after a rally, my 5-year-old said, "Black people are not safe." And I said, "Yes, that's true." And then she said, "But we're white, so we are safe." And I said, "Yeah, that's true too."Then I said to her, "The reason we went to this rally is because we're trying to tell the government that everybody deserves to be safe."
“75 Things White People Can Do for Racial Justice,” curated by Corinne Shutack.
Racism and Violence: Using Your Power as a Parent to Support Children Aged Two to Five - This resource provides thoughts and guidelines for talking about the complex issues of racism and equality in age-appropriate ways with children aged two to five years of age.
“How to Talk to Kids About Racism and Race” on That Sister