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Talking to Kids About Racism

 

Listen with curiosity. Speak with honesty. Act with integrity.

The greatest problem with communication is we don’t listen to understand.

We listen to reply.

When we listen with curiosity, we don’t listen with the intent to reply.

We listen for what’s behind the words.

— Roy T. Bennett, The Light in the Heart

 

Recent events in our country have, once again, reminded us of the extreme physical and psychological damage that racism causes. Many hearts are broken, and many feel betrayed and angry.

But with heartache and emotional upheaval comes an opportunity for people to bond together for a common cause—and ultimately, work toward positive change. It also provides an opening to talk about racism with our children. Creating an open dialogue with kids of all ages in which we “listen with curiosity” rather than “the intent to reply” allows them to speak freely and at the same time, learn from our mistakes.

Here are some resources you may helpful when speaking with your child about racism:

From Tinybeans:

  1. LifeKit: Talking Race with Young Children is a must-listen podcast for parents.
  2. Please follow @theconsciouskid on Instagram.
  3. It’s never too early to talk to our kids about racism (via Pretty Good).
  4. Check out the “The Legacy Project” that is sharing an incredibly moving virtual gallery.
  5. Consider making a donation to a cause for racial justice and discuss it with your child.

Suggested Books:

A Kids Book About Racism

This Book Is Anti-Racist: 20 Lessons on How to Wake Up, Take Action, and Do The Work  (how to get older kids involved)

Movies: (recommended by Woman’s Day)

“Akeelah and the Bee” – this sweet movie revolves around 11-year-old Akeelah Anderson, a spelling enthusiast who prepares to compete in the Scripps National Spelling Bee, despite coming from a lower socioeconomic background than her competitors. Akeelah feels pressure from her predominantly Black neighborhood to succeed and faces racism from her competitors’ parents, but still she manages to keep her eye on the prize.

“The Princess and the Frog” – though this New Orleans-set Disney adaptation of the classic fairytale doesn’t overtly discuss race, the movie (which features Disney’s first black princess, Tiana) will definitely inspire conversations about the importance of representation and diversity.

 

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