Talking To Your Child About Racism
Posted: Apr 25 2016
A person’s worldview begins developing at an incredibly young age. These views are molded directly and indirectly by the ethnicity, race, sexual orientation, sexual identity, etc. of people around us. As a parent or guardian, it’s important to help mold that worldview. It’s important to actively choose to influence our youth.
Children begin asking questions as soon as they are able to talk. They begin noticing differences in skin tone, behavior, preferences and every day actions. This is when the opportunity presents itself to talk about diversity, racism and prejudice – these are teachable moments.
Where To Begin?
In the case of two or more individuals raising a child – it’s important to be on the same page with your significant other or partner. The worst thing you can do for your child is to confuse them with two opposing concepts. So, if there is an issue or question that your child raises and you’re not sure where the other guardian stands on the issue, it might be a good idea to wait and talk about it together as a family. If you are going it alone, think about your own stance on issues of race. Begin to form your own solid stance with these issues. Think about the possible questions your child might ask. This may also reveal gray area in your own opinions – think about those things before you begin influencing a young person.
When Can I Stop Talking About Issues Of Race?
Never. A person’s worldview never stops evolving. In saying that, your own worldview will not be the same when your child is 8 as when it is when your child is 18. Keep talking about issues. With time, and your help, your child will gain advanced, educated opinions about issues of race (and other issues). Never stop the conversation.
What You Might Say
Understanding why your child is asking a specific question may better equip you for giving an adequate answer. It’s ok to ask questions in order to understand why your child is questioning something. If you give your child an appearance of being open to discussing difficult issues, you begin fostering an openness among family. Never be afraid to say, “I don’t know” or “Let me think about that for a while”.
In conclusion, racism is an issue that affects everyone. If you can instill in your child the ability to recognize the essential humanity of people that are different from them, they are less likely to have a prejudice outlook or racial hang-ups. Surround yourself and your family with people of diverse backgrounds. Choose to live above the unexamined life. Choose to make an effort to love everyone, no matter what his or her story and his or her path. Show the youth in your life that PEOPLE come first.