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Talking with Children about Race

We all have a role to play in teaching children about race, racism, and social justice. We have compiled resources for educators and families to talk to children about race, on talking about current events and the murder of George Floyd, and suggestions of children’s books to help begin the conversation. 

 

We hope these resources assist educators and families to engage in self-reflection and actively work against racism and discrimination whenever they come across it. A number of the resources encourage educators and families to reflect both on their own and with children.

 

For Educators: Talking with Children about Race

Race and Racism: Encouraging Understanding and Dialogue to Support the Healthy Development of Students
MAEC

The Center for Education Equity at MAEC hosted this webinar to help educators and parents gain an understanding of how the construct of race is developed in young children, strategies for discussing race and incidents of bias with students, and the role of educators in providing a safe environment for children.

Teaching Kids about Identity and Bias
MAEC

Incidences of identity-based bullying are on the rise. While schools may focus on combating bullying in general terms, it is important to consider the manner in which students are targeted as a result of their identity. Using several strategies, educators can “cultivate positive attitudes toward different identity groups,” thereby increasing understanding and decreasing bias.

Facilitating Race Talk in the Classroom: Lessons from Student Experiences
MAEC

Part of CEE’s Exploring Equity Issues series, this paper discusses racial socialization and the importance of giving students safe spaces to discuss their racialized experiences in the classroom. It follows with strategies that teachers can use to help cultivate psychologically safe spaces for race talk.

 

For Families: Talking with Children about Race

10 tips for teaching and talking to kids about race
Embrace Race

This action guide provides tips to support families in teaching and talking about race with their kids through age-appropriate activities. This guide is also available in Spanish. 

Talking about Race: Parents and Caregivers
National Museum of African American History & Culture

Resources to talk with children about race and how race plays a part in everyday lives. 

100 race-conscious things you can say to your child to advance racial justice
Race Conscious

This resources models race conscious language that can be used to explicitly talk with your child about race. 

Why White Parents Need to Do More Than Talk to Their Kids About Racism
Time

Talking to children about race and racism is not enough. This resource highlights the importance of having White parents reflect with their children on lived experiences and behaviors.

Your Kids Aren’t Too Young to Talk About Race: Resource Roundup
Resource Roundup

A resource compilation to begin conversations about race including tips for parents and caregivers, books for children, and podcast recommendations. 


Discussing Current Events

Table Talk: George Floyd, Racism and Law Enforcement

This resource is part of “Table Talk” to encourage family conversations about current events. It includes background and context surrounding George Floyd, racism, and law enforcement and questions to begin to have conversations with children, ways to dig deeper, and take action.

Critical Conversations: Dr. Marietta Collins on Discussing Police Shootings with Children
The Conscious Kid

This is a conversation with Dr. Marietta Collins, faculty at Morehouse University. She is the co-author of What Happened in Our Town: A Child’s Story About Racial Injustice (APA/Magination Press). Dr. Collins, provides suggested ways to discuss racism and police shooting with children and ways children’s books can help facilitate these conversations. 

 

Using Children’s Books to Talk About Race

Suggested Reading: Starting Conversations on Race, Racism, Inequality and Resistance
Politics and Prose

This suggested reading list includes books for elementary school aged children and teens on racism, inequality, and resistance.

31 Children’s books to support conversations on race, racism and resistance
Embrace Race

The suggested children’s books offer a starting off point for critical conversations on race, racism and resistance and to model anti-racist activism. This list was curated by The Conscious Kid and American Indians in Children’s Literature.

Multicultural and Social Justice Books
Social Justice Books at Teaching For Change

This resource includes curated lists of multicultural and social justice books for children, young adults, and educators. It also includes a guide on selecting anti-bias children’s books, book reviews, and related articles.

Anti-Racism For Kids 101: Starting To Talk About Race
Books for Littles

This resource provides a list of books about racial diversity that can help you start talking about race with your kids. The books are centered around three topics: acknowledging and celebrating racial diversity, acknowledging and celebrating cultural diversity, and how diversity makes us stronger.

These Books Can Help You Explain Racism and Protest to Your Kids
The New York Times

This resource includes suggested books to read with children along with suggested age ranges, some of the books talk explicitly about race while others are stories with nonwhite protagonists. 

 

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