No one is born racist. But bias can become ingrained in us, even from a very young age, as we consume media and social contexts (even subconsciously!) that teach and reinforce racist stereotypes.
As much as we may want to shield our youth from upsetting topics, how we respond to children’s curiosity about the protests now can impact how children see and understand race and inequality in the future. As Candra Flanagan, director of teaching and learning for the National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) notes:
“This moment in time provides people with an opportunity. Adults might want to turn off the TV or be silent. But kids are getting their information and understanding from other places. It makes it that much more important to have these conversations so they aren’t getting outside messages different from what [parents] want them to have.”
So where can we start?
1. National Geographic’s recent post, Talking to kids about race, is a must-read for parents, educators, and anyone in a position to influence our next generations. Experts weigh in on the importance of having conversations with kids (even from a young age) about race and racism and provide some strategies for how to begin these often difficult conversations.
2. Even though we shared it in our last post, we’re going to share it again, because it’s just that great a resource. Talking About Race, created by the National Museum of African American history and Culture (NMAAHC) provides tools and guidance for how to talk about race in both historical and cultural contexts. They provide tools for educators, parents, and individual learners.
3. Embrace Race is a multiracial community of parents, teachers, and experts and a resource tool bank designed to meet the challenge of raising children in a world where race matters.
4. The anti-defamation league has partnered with a wide variety of educators and experts to create anti-bias education tools and strategies geared to specific age-ranges, from educational materials that can be incorporated into k-12 curricula to Table Talk strategies for having conversations about topical news stories.
5. For older children and teens, the 1619 Project is an engaging digital exhibition that re-frames the history of the United States by placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of black Americans at the very center of our national narrative. This ongoing initiative was created by the New York Times to mark the 400th anniversary of the beginning of American slavery. To take learning from the 1619 Project further, you can use the Pulitzer Center’s 1619 Project Curriculum, which includes reading guides and engagement activities.
6. Teaching Tolerance, a project by the Southern Poverty Law Center, has educator resource packages for teaching about race, racism, and police violence.
7. The Los Angeles Unified School District has shared an extensive list of resources on community unrest, justice, and support, valuable for parents and teachers across the country (and even the world.)
#education #lovenothate #blacklivesmatter #blackedu