Raising Race Conscious Children
It's 2017, and if you would have told me twenty years ago that I would be talking to my children about the KKK and Nazis in anything but the past tense, I would have told you that you were insane. Of course, we all were aware that these groups still existed, but to see them on such a national stage like we did last weekend in Charlottesville, with a president that supports them no less, has really shaken me to my core. Like most of you all I want to do is fight back. Of course, there are things that we can do as adults (march in protest, donate or volunteer to the ACLU, NAACP, Southern Poverty Law Center, and call out (or in my case distance myself) from family members and friends who have shown racist tendencies, but beyond that I'm focusing on what I can do as a parent.
I believe that the key to future equality is to raise children who refuse to accept anything but and to that end we have had many discussions with our children about privilege, (from both their race and gender), the systematic inequality that other races face on a daily basis, and conversations about police brutality and profiling as it relates to the Black Lives Matter movement. I try to discuss these things with my children often, in regular conversation, and on their level.
I've found that the easiest way to discuss some of these topics is though books that are specifically directed towards their age group. At night, before bed when everyone is calm and together on the sofa, it's the perfect time to broach these topics and I find that it's when my children seem to engage and absorb the most. Lately, we've been reading chapter books as a family and there have been some incredible conversations that have followed each night. (Specifically with the book Wonder).
Below, I've pulled together some children's books that will help to start the conversation about race with your own children. Some of these specifically address the topic, while others simply feature a character of a different race as the "hero." I think it's so important that my boys receive the message that we are all the same no matter what race or gender we are (or what physical abilities we have) but that many people are treated unfairly even though this is true. My hope is that they will grow up to be race conscious children and be the first to stand up when they witness inequity. I believe that if we all ban together we can raise a generation who sees beyond color and physical limitations who will truly make real change to level the playing field for all. Xx
P.S. We've found that this is a great book for talking about sex with younger children, and I've used this one to discuss consent. This book is also a great one that encourages boys to let out their emotions. The boys' doctor wrote this one about childhood obesity which I highly recommend.