Teaching Children about Racism and Justice
Several times we’ve attempted to write a script about teaching young children about racism and justice for our weekly 90-second spot, The First Years Last Forever, on the local public radio station. None of our drafts seemed helpful, addressing how parents or caregivers of different races might talk to very young of different races. Perhaps this is not a topic that can be thoughtfully introduced in a minute and a half. In the process of exploring how others have handled this, two resources came to light.
First, there’s a recent op ed from the New York Times: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/14/opinion/are-we-raising-racists.html?smid=fb-nytimes.
Second, through a friend at the Annie E. Casey Foundation, there’s a list of books and articles that parents may find helpful. https://aecf.app.box.com/s/0m8odzue0beupslulhgnfbrzxj2337g3.
Racism, like sexism, homophobia, and other biases, seems to me like the air we breathe – it’s all around us, a part of our lives, and mostly we learn to accept it if we’re in the minority, or we don’t pay attention to it or maybe aren’t aware of it if we’re in the majority.
Sooner or later, our children must become educated about racism and help us build a just society for everyone. Learning in the early years sets the foundation for everything to come, and because we’re the teachers, it’s up to us to start early and do the best job we can.