Life Lessons, Parenting

How to Talk to Your Kids about Race and Racism

In recent days, the protests over the death of George Floyd, an African-American man killed by a white police officer in the U.S. once again brought the issue of race, police brutality and the safety of Black travellers to the forefront of common conversation.

Your kids, make no mistake, are hearing these conversations (and sometimes seeing the images) and will need you to help guide them more than ever. The good news is that you don’t have to know it all. There are plenty of resources out there to help.

Earlier this year, I wrote a piece for National Geographic Family. In it, I spoke with experts from across the USA who have spent years studying race and racism and its effect on all of us…especially our kids.

Editor’s Note: Short on time? Scroll to the end for a quick video explainer

Recently, I updated the article to include some new information and resources for parents and teachers including the new “Talking About Race” portal at the National African American Museum of History and Culture.

In the article (which I hope you’ll take the time to read in full here), experts acknowledge that even though the conversation can be tough, it is absolutely necessary and that, in fact, the time to have it is now.

Kids as young as 2 begin to notice skin colour and ask questions. If you aren’t prepared to answer those questions, if you place a value judgment on your answer or if you seem uncomfortable by the question, it registers.

But what should you say?

Last week I also spoke with Sandra Bookman, a reporter at ABC7 New York about some tips and techniques. Here’s the Facebook live interview which was simultaneously broadcast into eight American cities. I hope it has started some important conversations between parents and their kids.

Want a simpler place to start?

The video below was created by Donavon Brutus for ABC. It takes the points I made in my article and puts them into an easy-to-understand graphic video. If you’re short on time, it’s a great place to start.

The most important thing is that you don’t just stop here: Read, listen, learn, repeat.

Your kids…and mine…are depending it.

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