- Educating Children on Race and Racism
- Why Is It Vital to Discuss Racial Issues and Racism?
- What Else Can We Do as a Family About Race and Racism?
- Ask many, many questions.
After George Floyd was killed by Minneapolis police officers in July 2020, Stephanie Long, the superintendent of schools in Leland, Michigan, sent a touching letter to her pupils and their families. She penned the following, haunted by the images she had seen in the media: “Why to be in a position of authority and not lead?” she asked herself.
All people of colour, Ms Long said, “require us to stand with them and make it abundantly plain that we reject acts of systematic and systemic racism and intolerance.”
She pictured significant pedagogical adjustments taking place at her institution; she pictured stimulating classroom debates and in-depth, revolutionary dialogues taking place outside of the classroom in the community.
She pressed the send button. Responses showed some degree of support. In a peninsula newspaper, a letter of appreciation from 200 Leland graduates was printed.
However, indignant emails, phone messages, and letters came in from within the district as well as from all across the country as a result of Long’s message being covered by the local media and going viral online. “A Marxist,” “a shame,” and “a traitor,” they called her.
When a superintendent in northern Michigan brought up the subject of systematic racism, Daniel Bergner, a contributing writer for The New York Times Magazine, wrote about what transpired.
Educating Children on Race and Racism
For some households, talking about race and the negative repercussions of racism is commonplace. However, other parents might only bring up the subject of racism and prejudice infrequently or never with their children.
But when parents remain silent, children may believe that racism is unimportant or that it is the responsibility of others. Everyone, regardless of identity, must play a proactive part in the effort to abolish racism.
Why Is It Vital to Discuss Racial Issues and Racism?
Early discussion of race with children fosters an understanding of, respect for, and appreciation for individual differences.
As a result, children become better equipped to recognise when something in their surroundings seems unfair or unjust and can take action to change it.
What If I Don’t Have an Answer When It Comes to Race and Racism?
It’s acceptable to not know all the answers. Be honest and admit when you don’t know the answer to a question. Tell your youngster you’ll research the matter and let them know what you find out.
What Else Can We Do as a Family About Race and Racism?
There are numerous things parents may do to bring up kind children who wish to do good in the world. Here are some family-friendly activities:
Befriend those that are unique. Choose a group, school, or childcare that accepts students from many neighbourhoods and socioeconomic backgrounds. Children discover that they can make friends anyplace in this way.
Study different cultures. Together, learn about individuals from many locations and civilizations. Learn about holidays that aren’t a part of your own customs through reading books, watching movies, listening to music, and more. Visit museums and cultural events that emphasise the history, art, and stories of people who are different from you.
Speak up. You should take action when you notice an unfair situation. Express yourself. You should letter. Develop a cause through your work, or start one from scratch. Also, tell your children to follow suit.
To understand and appreciate the diversity of individuals, have frequent family conversations and engage in activities. You’ll support your own and your child’s development of empathy for others.
Ask many, many questions.
Asking your child questions such, as “What do you think about what you saw on TV?” and “What have you heard?” will aid in helping them process their feelings and thoughts. Alternatively, “What are your buddies discussing?” This enables you to gauge your child’s comprehension so you may reinforce your family values or fill in any knowledge gaps with facts.
Make a space where people can express their emotions safely. These kinds of difficult interactions elicit powerful feelings like rage, despair, perplexity, and others. Children who have personally experienced racism or who have experienced it through family members may feel or fear these themes even more. Inform your youngster that their feelings are valid and significant.
Sharing your own emotions in a healthy way is beneficial. Use a phrase like, “Right now, I’m depressed, and that’s okay. This isn’t how I’ll always feel.” This aids children in gaining perspective.
Keep the dialogue continuing. It’s important to have ongoing conversations with your children about race and racism. Encourage your child to ask you questions and keep the conversation going.