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.
- Learn how to talk to kids about George Floyd in this article that advises we “don’t avoid talking about it”
- Diversify your bookshelf with children’s books that support conversations on race, racism, and resistance. Here are some great ones:
- Download this Black Lives Matter coloring book
- Watch Dr. Kira Banks’ Facebook Live Panel on Talking to Kids About Racism
- Show children examples of peaceful protests from the past and have them help design posters that call for justice and peace
- Listen to how W. Kamau Bell talks to his kids about race here
- Sign up for this interactive webinar and practice various strategies to proactively talk about race with young children
- Subscribe to Wee Chalk the Walk’s Spotify playlist with song lyrics that spark urgently needed conversations with kids about racial injustice (find talking points per song here) *Be aware of explicit language in some songs
- Read this Q&A with Jesse Hagopian about how to talk to kids about black lives and police violence
- Buy this People Colors® Crayon Pack that comes in just about all the colors that people do
- Read this article with tons of amazing resources on talking to kids about Black Lives Matter “The younger we speak to them explicitly about race as a social construct, consequences of bias, what their rights are, and how to actively be a good friend in solidarity to others, the better.”
Support these kid-friendly products founded by black entrepreneurs:
- Healthy Roots Dolls, founded by Yelitsa Jean-Charles
- Zoe’s Dolls T-Shirts, founded by Zoe Terry
- Me & The Bees Lemonade founded by Mikaila Ulmer
- Puzzle Huddle founded by Matthew Goins
- Coco’Pie Clothing founded by Shantae Pelt
- Darlyng & Co. founded by Tara Darnley
- The Fresh Dolls, founded by Dr. Lisa Williams