Talking to Children about Racism and Inequality – Resources for Teachers and Parents

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We at Language Lizard always strive to promote inclusion, and celebrate diversity. We encourage schools, teachers and families to address the inequities that exist in our society. This post contains resources that specifically address how parents and teachers can talk about race and racism with children.

“Our ability to reach unity in diversity will be the beauty and the test of our civilisation.” – Mahatma Gandhi

Help Kids Feel Safe and Valued

The media is full of stories and images of police violence, protests, and issues regarding systemic racism in our country. Children may be experiencing fear, confusion and trauma regarding what they have heard and seen about the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and countless others.

During times of unrest, children need help processing their feelings in a safe and supportive environment. Make it clear that they are valued and accepted as individuals. Talk about the many ways people are the same and different, and why there is beauty in this kind of diversity.

Children need open and age-appropriate conversations about racism, prejudice, and systemic inequality with the trusted adults in their lives. This is an opportunity to give kids the space to ask questions, and share their thoughts and feelings. Take this time to discuss what kind of world we’d like to live in, and in what ways – big or small – we can help to make that world a reality for us all.

Online Resources About Race and Racism

It’s important to have conversations with kids about race, ethnicity, discrimination and injustice. Age-appropriate discussions will help kids understand and appreciate people with different backgrounds and cultures. They can come to understand the history of civil rights in our country, and grow to be empathetic adults with a greater appreciation for diversity.

Adults might find themselves feeling uncertain or uncomfortable talking about topics like civil rights and racism. Some people may be looking for advice and guidance on starting these conversations. Here are some resources that specifically address how parents and teachers can talk about race and racism with children.

Common Sense Media: Resources About Race and Racism

Teaching Tolerance: Teaching About Race, Racism and Police Violence and Teaching as Activism, Teaching as Care and Beyond the Golden Rule

Child Mind Institute: Talking to Kids About George Floyd

The Pulitzer Center: a curriculum that includes reading guides, activities, and other resources about the history of race in America. 

The Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture: online portal to facilitate conversations about racism and racial identity 

PBS NewsHour Extra: lesson plan about the death of George Floyd

The New York Times: discussion questions, and invitation for students to share their opinions

Many other resources to guide conversations with students about racism and violence can be found in this Colorín Colorado post.

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