Talking about Racism with Kids

Diane McGregor, Kitchener, ON

How do we talk about racism with our children and teens?

With all that is happening in the United States and around the world, including the many many rallies and protests, it is a topic that is present in all of our lives right now. Fiercely, painfully present.

It is there for our kids, too.

 

As adults and parents, we need to try to make sense out of what we are seeing, hearing and feeling as we watch the news or browse social media. We need to help the children and teens in our lives makes sense of it, too.

Conversations about racism are not easy but they are hard for very different reasons, depending on our personal experiences, backgrounds and beliefs. Black, Indigenous and Parents of Colour  know what it is to talk about racism, as they strive to help their children be prepared for the direct experience of racism. White families may enter these conversations from a different experience, perhaps having these conversations for the very first time. At the core of our parenting, however, I believe that we all, to the very best of our abilities, share the desire to raise children who are kind, respectful, fair and tolerant….and to do this, we need to talk openly and honestly about racism.

On June 3, thousands of people—masked to prevent the spread of Covid-19—arrived at Victoria Park and marched through downtown Kitchener. This peaceful demonstration also conveyed a shared outrage over recent events in the US and a sense of shared determination to end racism. Thousands of conversations happened…and sparked thousands more. MPP Laura Mae Lindo, who spoke at the rally, was quoted by CTV Kitchener, stating, Behind the shades are tears, because I am looking down this street and I know there is hope for my five-year-old son.” There is hope in coming together and hope in starting conversations that could change the world.

 

So, how do we have these important conversations with our children and teens (or anyone in our lives, for that matter)?

To help all of us—parents and caring adults in Waterloo Region—start these conversations, we have compiled a list of resources for parents. I would like to thank our many partners who are part of the Children and Youth Planning Table and who contributed to this list. Throughout the pandemic, we have heard the phrase “we’re in this together” many times. Well, we really are in this together and, right now, that this is to support each other in talking about racism with our kids. 

If you have other resources to share, drop us an email by clicking on the “Click to Connect” icon on this page.

Let us know your thoughts in the comments section. How are you talking about racism with your kids?

 

RESOURCES for PARENTS and CARING ADULTS

 

Articles and websites focused on how to talk with kids about race, racism, hate, tolerance.

www.parenttoolkit.com. This article gives practical and useful strategies for talking with kids about race and racism.

www.parents.com. This article gives you some ideas about how to talk with kids at different developmental ages. It also gives you some great ideas about how to discuss the concept of hate.

www.edu.gov.mb.ca This is a guide, titled Critical/Courageous Conversations on Race, looks at how Indigenous families talk about racism and help to prepare children for a world were racism exists.

www.huffingtonpost.ca This article in the Canadian Huffington Post helps us understand how even very young children are aware of race and gives us strategies to start these conversations, right from the get go.

www.washingtonpost.com This article talks about how one black family talks about racism.

www.buzzfeed.com. This article by researcher Erin Winkler from the University of Wisconsin/Milwaukee provides some excellent strategies and insights. She starts by stating, “first, get comfortable talking and learning about race, racism, and racial inequity, period” and then goes on to tell us how we can do this.

www.embracerace.org is a website created by two parents of colour who started out seeking the resources they need to raise children in a world where race matters. Their intention is to  raise a generation of children who are thoughtful, informed and Brave About Race. The website is filled with amazing articles and resources, including a downloadable tips sheet called 10 Tips for Teaching and Talking with Kids about Race. Open the tip sheet here

www.tolerance.org is a site dedicated to teaching about tolerance. They have a downloadable guide for parents on teaching tolerance. Open the guide here

www.washingtonpost.com. An article about how white parents, raised to be “colour blind” are learning to talk about race.

www.heartbeatshate.com  A website that promotes KINDNESS, with resources for parents, children and anyone who wants to practice more kindness in their lives.

This is a document with tons  of resources for parents.

www.npr.org. A podcast about talking about race with young children.

TEDxKitchenerED This is a TEDx talk by our own Laura Mae Lindo, MPP for Kitchener Centre. She posted this in early March and her words are as relevant now as ever! It is titled, “Why hugging out racism in education just won’t cut it” and is about how we can have conversations about racism in our schools. 

 

Books and Activities for Children that will help spark conversations

https://www.charisbooksandmore.com/books-teach-white-children-and-teens-how-undo-racism-and-white-supremacy

 https://www.notimeforflashcards.com/2019/01/picture-books-about-activism-protest.html

https://coloursofus.com/37-childrens-books-to-help-talk-about-racism-discrimination/

https://booksforlittles.com/racial-diversity/

https://www.embracerace.org/resources/26-childrens-books-to-support-conversations-on-race-racism-resistance

 

Interesting and Informative Social Media Posts

https://www.instagram.com/p/CAvmPPspkyd/

https://www.instagram.com/p/B9DfahhBChU/

https://www.instagram.com/p/CAvbZyVh1xc/

https://www.instagram.com/p/CA04VKDAyjb/

https://www.instagram.com/p/CA2e9RmnoKX/

https://www.instagram.com/p/CAtmbeXJwOW/

https://www.instagram.com/p/CA5Hynpjxbe/

https://www.instagram.com/p/CAyu7tyDlfG/

https://www.instagram.com/p/CAyXEFSp3xK/

https://twitter.com/kirabanks/status/1265987435663699974?s=21

 

For additional resources in Waterloo Region go to Family CompassWR

 



Comments

3 Responses to “Talking about Racism with Kids”

  1. Maryanne says:

    This is an incredible resource. I learned through a session I attended on Monday that we also need our kids to know, this is not a US problem but a Canada problem as well. We seem to water down our racism. Thank you so much for this.

  2. Nadia says:

    Thanks for sharing all the resources here.

  3. Teresa Wikkerink says:

    Thanks, Diane for encouraging conversations with our kids and teens on a very compassionate and needed topic.

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