In several of the classes in our free Lenten series on building racial justice, questions arise about how to help children grow as advocates for racial equality. In Spirituality and Racial Justice, Bishop Curry emphasizes education as a means of building justice for non-white races in America. In Racism and Racial Justice, Dr. Bonilla-Silva talks about how white people in America frame race in conversation and about the story lines that we use when discussing race. The class asks students to consider ways in which they talk to children about race in light of these story lines.
Dr. Bonilla-Silva emphasizes that many white people embrace “colorblind” racism — the idea that “I don’t see color; just people.” This is a theme that white parents often use as they raise children, as Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman discuss in NurtureShock. Parents don’t want to introduce the idea that people of different races are treated differently, so they often remain silent on the subject of race. But children remain aware of race, and as Bronson and Merryman demonstrate, they use other sources to fill in the gaps for themselves. Most child rearing experts emphasize that we need to talk to children about race if we want them to grow up to combat racism.
Toward that end, we have put together a list of resources, especially online resources, that might help you discuss race productively with children.
Creative With Kids: 60+ Resources for Talking About Race with Children: On this page, Creative with Kids contributor Lorian Van Ness offers lists of age-appropriate books, crafts, and games that can help parents and educators engage in meaningful conversations about race with children of different ages.
Raising Race Conscious Children: This is an entire blog devoted to giving parents resources for raising children to build racial justice. It offers resources, lists of topics, strategies for discussing race with children, and other approaches to helping parents race racially aware children.
Musing Momma:This blog, written by a child psychologist who is also a parent in a mixed race family offers support for and ideas about raising children in mixed race homes. Some of the posts offer terrific insights on talking about race with children. See for example, Will Talking About Race With Kids Make Them Racist? and 3 Strategies for Raising Racially Sensitive Kids .
NutureShock: Chapter three of this book covers research that has been done on child rearing and conversations about race.
We hope that this list helps you engage in productive conversations about race with the children in your life as we all try, with God’s help, to build a racially just world for our children.