Talking about racism with kids is important because it helps them to understand the world they live in and how they can make a difference. Parents and caregivers should also not shy away from discussing race with their children because it is not only crucial to their healthy development but it is a way to build resilience and prepare them for the real world. By educating our children, we will ensure that the next generation will be more accepting and know how to coexist with people of all different backgrounds.
What is racism?
Racism is a belief that one race of people are superior to another. It’s also the belief that one race should be treated better than another. Racism can be seen in many aspects of life, including education, housing, healthcare and employment.
Why Talk about Racism with Kids?
Kids need to know about racism because it impacts their lives as well as the lives of people around them. They need to know how they can make a difference in society by standing up for what’s right and speaking out against injustice.
Racism, race, religion, and power have always been sad realities in our society that cause discrimination.
Race is a term used to classify people having similar features grounded on their appearances or social interest. It contains deep-seated links and prejudices that lead to injustice, abuse, bullying, and other social ills that can occur anywhere in the world.
People, especially parents, should start by themselves to make a difference in their environment. As adults, we need to teach our children about racism and how we can avoid it. Introducing children to accept and show kindness to people regardless of differences helps develop their character. But most importantly, teaching children about racism is critical for the world we live in today and that we should not be racist. There are additional benefits about discussing race with children as discussed below.
A broader mindset
We should teach children not to be racist in order to give them a more open-minded perspective. When they are taught about different cultures, they are given an opportunity to see that there are many different ways of living and thinking. This will help them grow into more tolerant adults who will have a better understanding of the world around them.
Identify racism and stand up to it
We live in a world where we are all different, but that doesn’t mean that we should be treated differently. We need to teach our kids how to identify discrimination and stand up against it.
Talking about race with children is not easy, but it is necessary to teach them what racism is and how they can stand up against it. “Racism can also be expressed through actions such as teasing or name-calling,” said Keri Eastman. Eastman adds that children need to know that they are not responsible for the actions of those around them, but they are responsible for their own actions and reactions. “It would be good to have a conversation with your child about how they can react instead of reacting, so they can try and avoid conflict altogether,” she said. “You can also show them what to do by modelling that behaviour yourself”.
Understanding race and its associated issues
Talking about race with children helps them understand and be confident of their own identity. They need to know that it is not just about the colour of their skin. It is about how they are treated by others, and how they could be seen in society.
Talking about racism with children helps them understand the world better. It also helps them develop empathy and an understanding of privilege, which will be helpful in adulthood.
Talk about Racism with Kids?
Start to make changes now
Kids idealize the people around them, so parents and caregivers should start to change themselves to bring changes to their children. Make it a practice to speak to people of another race. It is our responsibility not to hesitate for children to get along with people of different cultures.
It is important to not wait for children to be old enough to understand. Parents often hold the truths of our society back from their children, thinking that it would harm their naive minds. They do not consider race as a subject important enough to discuss with their children, which can cause negligence for racism from children as they are unaware of how sensitive this matter can be. To prevent your children from thinking of race as an issue, start developing an environment where they see no unfair treatment towards people despite their appearances, language, or culture.
It’s difficult to talk about social issues, especially with children. It’s a good idea to get some knowledge before working on anything. Raising children with the concept of acceptance for the race is a tough job. Therefore, look for training sessions, books, and consultants who teach you how to be better at talking about race with your children. Converse with your fellow parents and exchange ideas about making this task easy and effective.
Open up the conversation
Teaching children about race and racism is a way to help them understand the world they live in and can be a great way to start making changes in their own lives. As a parent, it is important to help children develop their self-awareness and understanding of racism.
You can do this by opening up the conversation about race with your child and asking questions like:
- What do you think about how people look?
- Do you think some people are better than others based on what they look like?
- How would you feel if you are a person that does not like what they look like?
These questions make it more of a back and forth conversation and prompts children to think for themselves rather than to be told how to feel or think. This will help them be more self-aware and be more confident to identify and stand up to racism on their own.
Make use of resources
The world is progressing, and people have become more vocal about racism and ways to prevent it. Diverse toys, books, and tools are available to help children discover cultures and be welcoming towards them.
We at Joeydolls is working hard in providing a fun way for parents to talk about racism and Asian culture. Joeydolls Asian children’s dolls for educational and motivational purposes while promoting and celebrating Asian diversity. This cultural representation can help uplift children’s confidence and helps them embrace the beauty of their culture, heritage, different skin colours and looks.
Children mostly learn from our habits, gestures, and behaviours. To set a positive example for them is our job as parents and caregivers to truly celebrating people of different races, cultures, colours and looks. Instead of worrying about long and serious conversations, it is best to teach your children and talk to them about race in a playful manner. By using creative and playful resources such as multicultural dolls, diverse toys, and diverse books, we can creatively discuss race with our children in multitude of ways.
After all, it enables parents to raise an optimistic and confident child that will be open-minded and welcoming of all kinds of people and also help the world be better place.