resources for talking with kids about race and racism
Adults have a difficult time talking about and confronting racism, so it's no wonder parents, guardians and caregivers often struggle to find the words and approaches to engaging with children and teens around these issues. Talking about race, inclusion, and equity is uncomfortable because of the emotion, trauma, shame, and fear that is involved, but not talking about it causes far more harm. Not talking about racism is ignoring that there is a problem; it is saying that the oppression and danger our families, friends, classmates, colleagues, neighbors and community members experience in their everyday lives is okay.
We advocate that it is vital that conversations about race, inclusion, and equity begin at a very young age. Simple interactions even starting when our children are babies, demonstrate how we navigate difference in our own lives and can be meaningful in laying the groundwork for raising socially conscious children. We've collected a wealth of resources to help adults educate themselves about how to engage with young people about race and racism, including antiracism toolkits and books that support conversations about racism, equity and social justice.
We believe in meeting people where they're at. Discussing and addressing race and racism in our country is something we all need to be doing, but everyone is coming with different experiences and perspectives, and are at a different point in this journey. BBIPOC don't have a choice but to confront racism every moment of their lives, yet it is still difficult to talk about. Black parents, guardians, and caregivers have to navigate these conversations with their children and teens, while carrying the racial trauma that has been passed down from generation to generation, and fearing for their lives. Some white parents, guardians, and caregivers have found ways to learn and grow as antiracists and allys in the fight against racism. Many have genuine intentions but don't know how to take action, or have fear around the work it takes to be antiracist. Some are just taking their first steps and are eager but overwhelmed by the messages and information that is flooding the news and social media. Brown and mixed race people are diverse in their experiences and can find themselves either in one of these groups or somewhere in between. Our goal is to support young people and families wherever they're at in their journey. The resources here are not by any means exhaustive, but we hope there is something for everyone and we will continue to coalesce the information that is current and available into a place where anyone can find a starting point.*
storytelling and art making for change
Although the resources on this page offer many guides and tools for talking with kids about vital social issues that we are facing in this country, we also focus on the power of storytelling and the arts in this work with young people. On this site, you'll find a booklist for children and teens with themes centered on racism, prejudice, resistance and justice, but alongside it you'll also find a list of books that feature non-white characters doing everyday things. It's important for kids of color to see themselves as central characters, as everyday people and heroes, just as it's important for white kids to read stories they can relate to but feature characters of races and cultures different from their own. In addition to talking about racism, raising children in an anti-racist environment includes making sure your home library has books with people of color at the center of their stories, and engaging them in art, music, film, video, performance, dance, and poetry by people of color, about many cultures, and from different parts of the world. We share resources for antiracism through storytelling and art making as well as ideas and tools for young people to use story and art to make change in their lives and the world around them.
click here to go directly to resources for antiracism through storytelling
click here to go directly to resources for antiracism through art
*Our endeavor to help support kids and families is part of our journey in learning and growing as antiracists, allys, and seekers of equity and social justice. This work is lifelong, and we acknowledge that we will make mistakes; we may misrepresent a perspective, mistype important words such as names and places, or misidentify a source, but we will do everything in our power to provide accurate and current information. While we offer our points of view throughout, this is largely an organization of resources that can be found online. We invite you to please offer suggestions for corrections, additions, or edits to the existing information on our site at firstname.lastname@example.org.
where to start: how can i address what's happening right now?
Youth-Led March for Racial Equality, Evanston, IL 2020
How To Talk To Your Kids About Race, Racism And Police Violence
WBUR and NPR's On Point discusses how parents can talk with their children about all they're seeing and experiencing right now
Reynolds, Author of Ghost and Co-Author of Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You Answers Kids' Questions On-Air
Kojo Nnamdi Show: Kojo
for Kids WMAU American University Radio
You can download these pdf's to save or print!
For an extensive reading resource and booklists click here
resources for bbipoc (black, brown, indigenous people of color) and mixed race children and families
'The Talk': Conversations Parents Have To Have With Their Black Kids
Reset with Jenn White - Interview with author Imani Perry about her book, Breathe: A Letter to My Sons and the conversation parents are having with their children about what it means to be Black in America
"Radical self-care is required to live and survive in this world
as a Black person."
Jameta Nicole Barlow
Community health psychologist and assistant professor of writing
at George Washington University
"Racial trauma describes the physical and psychological symptoms that people of color often experience after being exposed to stressful experiences of racism"
For Black Mothers Parenting in the Pandemic that is Racism: Conversations for the Soul
Culture & Equity Project at UCLA Center X hosts a conversation with a panel of Black mothers about how they grapple with parenting in a pandemic within a pandemic.
Psychiatrist, Child Trauma Academy and Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago
"The more healthy relationships a child has, the more likely he will be to recover from trauma and thrive. Relationships are the agents of change and the most powerful therapy is human love."
You can download these pdf's to save or print!
Young children can use art as a tool of communication before their verbal ability can capture the nuance of their thoughts and imagination. As they grow into adolescence and beyond, the arts remain a vital method of self-expression and elevation of one's complex understanding and response to their world.
It may be helpful when talking to children of all ages to have a meaningful way to move back and forth between a less verbal way of processing information and discussing race and racism together. A collaborative art project can be a powerful way to be present with your child and support them in expressing their perspective.
Artist and art therapist, @rainartherapist, collaborated with her daughter to create this piece which communicates pride in the multiple aspects of her racial identity.
Why We Need to Talk to Children About Race and Difference |Biz Lindsay-Ryan
resources for white children and families
How White Parents Can Talk To Their Kids About Race
Life Kit with Michel Martin - Interview with author Jennifer Harvey, author of Raising White Kids: Bringing Up Children in a Racially Unjust America, about how to talk with white kids about racially charged events - and how to keep the conversation going.
Raising White Kids with Jennifer Harvey
The Integrated Schools Project interviews Jennifer Harvey, author of Raising White Kids: Bringing Up Children in a Racially Unjust America, offering age-appropriate insights for teaching children how to address racism.
Brené with Ibram X. Kendi on How to Be an Antiracist
A discussion about racial disparities, policy, and equality, and the book "How
to Be an Antiracist," a groundbreaking approach to understanding uprooting racism and inequality in our society and in ourselves.
Raising Anti-Racist White Kids: A Conversation for All of Us | Jennifer Harvey
"White Fragility" and Unconscious Bias
Interview with Robin DiAngelo
For an extensive reading resource for babies, young children, teens, and adults click here.
You'll find tips for picking out books for children, antiracism booklists, and books featuring bbipoc main characters.
links to online resources
We've compiled a list of online resources for recommended reading, book lists, videos, podcasts, blogs, instagrams, etc. that we think might be helpful for parents, educators, mental health professionals, and community workers working with young people.
This book is a great toolkit for parents, guardians and caregivers who are looking for guidance in talking to kids about tolerance and prejudice. Psychologists, educators and parenting experts offer practical, age-appropriate advice to help integrate learning into day-to-day activities. There are 3 sections dedicated to preschool years (ages 2-5), school-age years (ages 6-12), and teenage years (ages 13-17). There is also a section that offers guidance for reflecting upon your own biases, and how those biases affect your parenting and caregiving.
click here for a pdf of the full text
This virtual toolkit is a compilation of articles, guides, news, videos, social media, and other tools from several online sources on racial justice and Black Lives Matter activism. The entire website has a wealth of information including definitions of terms, guides for allyship, and tools for activist work. The page dedicated to youth and child resources including articles on how to talk to kids about racism, racism and the Black Lives Matter movement.
click here for full toolkit
click here for youth resource page
terms and definitions
videos for young kids
CNN Sesame Street Town Hall - Standing Up to Racism
Sesame Street Explains Black Lives Matter
Something Happened in Our Town (read aloud)
Not My Idea - A Book About Whiteness (read aloud)
Systemic Racism Explained
Marley Dias Talks Institutional Racism
videos for teens and adults
How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Discussing Race | Jay Smooth
Let's Get to the Root of Racial Injustice | Megan Ming Francis
An Interview with the Founders of Black Lives Matter | Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors, Opal Tometi
Is My Skin Brown Because I Drank Chocolate Milk? | Beverly Daniel Tatum
blogs and podcasts for adults and teens
what can we do right now?
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