How to Talk to Your Kids About Racism

How to Talk to Your Kids About Racism

The past 2 weeks have been an intense period of reflection and learning for all of us. There are so many necessary and long overdue actions we as individuals can take to combat systemic racism in the US and around the world. As a mother and as the CEO of a company whose goal is to empower children, I’ve been particularly focused on learning about how to talk to kids about racism and how to raise anti-racist kids. 

The first time it really hit me that I needed to prioritize this for my family was about 6 months ago. I was driving my 3-year-old son to preschool when out of the blue, he said matter-of-factly, “black guys are bad.” I was so shocked and horrified, I almost drove into a tree. After digging in a bit further, I discovered that he was referring to a ninja cartoon he had recently watched, where the “bad guys” were wearing black robes. After fumbling through a long explanation to him about how there are “bad guys” (and “bad girls” for that matter) of all colors – black, white, brown, tan – and that there are also “good guys and girls” of all those colors and that maybe actually all people are good but some do bad things sometimes and on and on. At that moment, I realized I had no idea how to properly talk to my privileged white son about racism, but I needed to figure it out soon because he was already coming up with his own opinions and he is THREE.

After George Floyd was murdered, I tried talking to my son about racism again. Over dinner, we talked about different skin colors and identified which skin colors belonged to different friends and family members. I started trying to explain to him what happened to George Floyd as simply as I possibly could, but I don’t think I did a very good job. At the end of our conversation, he concluded that he didn’t want skin at all and wished he were a skeleton. 

When it comes to talking to your kids about racism, clearly I am not the expert. But I want to learn how to do better. I know there is no one-size-fits-all approach to this. But I also know there are a lot of people out there much smarter than I am who have developed excellent tools, resources, and content worth sharing on the subject.

On #BlackoutTuesday, my team members and I began listening, learning, and compiling everything we could to help provide our GoldieBlox community with the best resources available on this topic. We know this is just a starting point, but we hope it is of value and we welcome your contributions, feedback, and ideas. 

    • Listen to this podcast “Talking Race with Young Children” by NPR
    • Follow @theconsciouskid on Instagram, an excellent resource for parenting and education through a critical race lens
    • Check out this document with kid-friendly language around Black Lives Matter
  • Learn how to talk to kids about George Floyd in this article that advises we “don’t avoid talking about it”  

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