How to Raise an Anti-Racist Child

How can white parents raise anti-racist children in this time of violence against people of color and protests against systemic racism? We talk with Dr. Ann Hazzard, a clinical child psychologist who was on the faculty at Emory University in Atlanta and co-author of Something Happened in Our Town:  A Child’s Story about Racial Injustice; and Dr. Joy Harris, a Full-time Lecturer at Princeton Theological Seminary and co-author of The ABCs of Diversity: Helping Kids (and Ourselves!) Embrace Our Differences.

If you haven’t read it yet, we highly recommend that you pair this show with our recent post, 4 Tips to Raising Anti-Racist Kids. There are tons of children’s book suggestions and parent resources listed to support you as you seek to do your part as parents to change the future for your children and their black and brown friends who will inherit this planet.

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Hit the Highlights

We are focusing on resources to help white parents raising white kids. We recognize that many in our community are white and black parents raising kids of color. Some of the information shared will be relevant and many of the resources, especially the suggested children’s books, will be relevant, but a few resources that are more specific to raising black and brown kids that we would recommend would be:

  • Embrace Race.org – Founded by black and mixed-race parents to provide resources for raising black children.
  • One Talk at a Time – Providing support for Latinx American, Asian American, African American, and Black youth and their families to have conversations about race and ethnicity. They have a separate section for Black, Asian, and Latinx parents.

White families have the luxury (privilege) of ignoring the issue of racism because it makes us uncomfortable and because we assume that it doesn’t affect us or our children. But racism dehumanizes all of us and also destabilizes all of us and our society.

So how do we raise anti-racist kids?

  • What is the difference between not being a racist and being anti-racist?
  • What is wrong with saying and believing any of the following: “love will conquer all,” “we are all one race — the human race.” and “colorblind is best.”

Tip 1. Talk about Race

  • Racism thrives in silence. Why are many white parents silent on raise in general and within our families?
  • When do children start recognizes racial differences?
  • When should white parents start talking to their kids about race?
  • How to start the conversation? Children’s books are great resources.
  • Not a one-time conversation.
  • Fantastic resources:
  • What other ways can white parents start the conversation about race?
  • Resources.

Tip 2: Acknowledging & Celebrating Racial Diversity

  • Why is it important to acknowledge and celebrate racial diversity?
  • How to acknowledge and celebrate racial diversity?
  • Resources

Tip 3: Recognize systemic/institutionalized racism and white privilege

  • What do we mean by systemic racism?
  • What do we mean by white privilege?
  • How early do kids start defaulting that things associated with being white are better than being black?
  • How can parents address institutionalize racism with their children who will likely benefit from it?
  • How do we help teach our kids to understand power inequity so they can name it, unpack it, and dismantle it when it happens in the real world.
  • Resources

Tip 4: Talk about Violence Against People of Color and the Protests/Resistance

  • Something Happened in Our Town:  A Child’s Story about Racial Injustice
  • How much should we share with our children? At what age should we talk with them about these hard topics or is it better to shield them from such “grown-up” problems?
  • Talk about How People Make Change in a democracy.
  • Not a one-time conversation.
  • Appropriate conversation for age and developmental level.
  • Should young children watch the news and videos?
  • Resources
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Music credit: Michael Ashworth

Photo Credit: Gerd Altmann