On the third Monday in January of every year, we celebrate the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. We remember what he stood for, and we remember how far we’ve come. Every year is different because we look back through the lens of where we are today. This year, the dream Dr. King spoke about may feel further away than it has in a long time. The past weeks have been upsetting on both a national and local level. Though heartbreaking and infuriating, the events of last year, along with recent events of 2021, have strengthened our conviction that we must continue to uproot racism in our community and our country.
Adults often worry that talking about race will encourage racial bias in children, but the opposite is true. Silence about race reinforces racism by letting children draw their own conclusions based on what they see.
Racism is a learned behavior and it takes root earlier than you might think. At birth, babies look equally at faces of all races. By 3 months of age, babies look more at faces that match the race of their caregivers. By 2.5 years, most children use race to choose playmates and by kindergarten children already mirror the racial attitudes that the adults in their lives hold. Talk to your kids. Their health and development depends on it.
Our team has compiled a few resources to help you have honest and important conversations about racism with your child. It is not too early.
- Tackling Tough Topics with Your Little One— Includes tips for different aged children by Start Early.
- Talking to Children about Racial Bias— Healthychildren.org shares strategies for discussions and tips on how parents can confront their own racial bias.
- How to Talk to Your Kids About Protests and Racism— From CNN, this piece divides strategies by age group.
For a deeper dive…
- Pretty Good– This library contains podcasts, and helpful booklists for adults and kids.
- Anti-Racist Resource List– A collection designed specifically for white people and parents to deepen their anti-racist work.
Let us know how your conversations go. If there is something else you would like to see here, tell us.