How to talk about racism with children

There is a famous quote that says:

“No one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin, his origin or even his religion. To hate, people must learn, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love.

Nelson Mandela

One day, a little girl asked me if my daughter would come to play today. When I told my daughter, she asked who she was. I didn’t know her name because she had recently moved to our township. My daughter then inquired about her complexion. For a while, I was a little taken aback by her question. However, I only realised after a minute that there was nothing wrong with noticing complexion. She jumped after hearing my response and exclaimed, “Oh!! She was Miss D, she is my new friend, and I have to meet her today because she is leaving for India for two months.

Later I realized it was not her; it was just me and my thoughts, preoccupied with centuries-old ideas that linked skin colour with racism passed down through the generations.

Children are innocent, and their minds are untainted.

Children are unaware of racism and how some people have been judged based on their skin colour and other physical characteristics. Children are innocent, and their minds are untainted. Is it essential to tell our children all of this? Is it necessary to educate them on racism? I believe that before they learn from other sources, I am not sure how this thought will strike their minds. It is preferable to prepare the children by providing them with information in a comfortable setting. They should not be surprised if they learn about it through open sources of information.

It is up to parents to talk to their children about racism and the various forms of racial discrimination that are still prevalent. New generations can help end this discriminatory practice if they learn about the country’s injustices and social inequality from a young age so they don’t repeat the patterns of racial prejudice that have been so deeply ingrained in us.

“When adults are silent, they reinforce racial prejudice in children.”

Educating the public about how to combat racism is also a necessity. When a friend is tearing each other apart, they should intervene. They must understand that treating everyone equally is the right attitude.

How to talk about racism with children

Every mother, father, or guardian knows their child. She knows the best way to approach the subject with them, always seeking to offer positive references that help them understand the complexity of racism. After all, which world do you offer as a reference for your child? Below, we highlight attitudes parents can adopt to promote an anti-racist education for their children.

Talking about racism with children: Where to start

1. Be an example to your children

Parents should treat their children fairly. Everyone must be treated with the same respect. The first lesson that children bring as part of themselves is that example. Prejudiced nicknames, unequal treatment, and lack of respect should be avoided.

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2. Introduce and celebrate other cultures

It’s a great way to introduce children to other cultures through books, toys, movies, cartoons, and music. However, simply allowing the child to watch a movie or listen to music on their own isn’t sufficient. Parents need to have fun together. To put it another way, help children learn about other cultures by accompanying them on their journey.

How to talk about racism with children

3. Do not change the subject

When their children ask about racism, many parents avoid the subject. Sometimes they don’t know what to say due to embarrassment or a lack of knowledge. Do not do this to your child. If necessary, tell him you’ll think of a thorough response for him and explain it later. Also, please explain! Use this time to consider the best way to describe the problem. Research if the problem is a lack of knowledge on the subject. Invite your older child to join you in your research. As a result, you will be able to learn together.

4. Discuss the advantage

Discuss the advantages of being unique and the similarities among all groups. Please tell them that being different is not weird or wrong.

5. Discuss how they can effect change.

Discuss how they can effect change. Topics may include being kind to people of all backgrounds, as well as listening to and understanding the experiences or feelings of others who are different.

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6. Essential step in discussing racism is to discuss race itself.

I realised that an essential step in discussing racism is to discuss race itself. Make it clear to children that there is nothing wrong with noticing physical characteristics, complexion, or any other differences. They must, however, exercise caution in making negative judgments based on those differences.

Spend time talking and doing activities together as a family to understand better and appreciate one another’s differences. Compassion is something you can cultivate in yourself and your child.

#youarefreetobedifferent #letthembechildren

You can also check: Fostering friendships among students

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About Author

I am an energetic mom of two kids, still learning the ropes of it. I am so excited to start writing about tips, tricks, and advice on things of everyday life.

(20) Comments

  1. Children by their very nature are pure. They do not have any prejudices. It is only as they grow up that the ills and flaws of society get to them. The environment at home plays a major part in ensuring that the children grow up with tolerance and acceptance of different cultures.

  2. This is a very important thing to discuss with our kids. They should know how Racism and discrimination on the basis of skin colour, culture etc is absolutely unacceptable.

  3. A much-needed blog. It is important for us to teach our kids about these topics and make them aware of the world which will help them to be a better human.

  4. Shreemayee Chattopadhyay says:

    Only this can help put an end to racism. We, the parents need to talk with our kids in such a way that they can understand, and respect the difference between people. Your points can play the important role in this matter.

  5. A child’s mind is untouched and pure. These tips surely help to talk and help our kids grow up with the right mindset about racism.

  6. A Nigerian family recently shifted in our neighbourhood and our kids got along just fine despite a minor language barrier. Kids are innocent and we must encourage them to accept people from all cultures.

  7. Not many people are comfortable talking about it but I agree discussing such an important topic with kids at early age can not just help them but the society as a whole to be more inclusive and more tolerant.

  8. We must talk openly about racism with our children. They might not fully understand the consequences of their actions but can be at least cognitive about sensitive issues.

  9. This is a very important topic to discuss with kids early. And it is also equally important to educate them on how to stand up and fight back when they see racism. Thanks a lot for this article and I am so glad that people like you are coming out and talking about how one can teach their kids.

    1. After reading your article, I sent this to my friends who have little kids and the feedback I got was it helped them so much in getting some clarity and how they could educate their kids about racism. Thanks for this.

      1. Thank you so much for sharing. Indeed it is very important topic to discuss because when parents stay silent, kids can get the message that racism doesn’t matter.

  10. It is so important to celebrate cultures so that kids learn different things and accepts everyone from early on.

  11. Ruchi Verma says:

    I agree that we are one who are responsible to teach kids how to celebrate togetherness beyond caste, creed and color.

  12. Point #3 is very important if we want to educate our kids on any subject. Racism is not in kid’s mind. They hear it somewhere and they start imitating. That very simple question that your daughter had asked was an example of her innocence.

  13. Every colour, gender and religion deserve the same amount of love. It is very important to teach our kids about these topics at an early age.

  14. Here is USA, this is an important thing to keep in mind as a parent. I agree that as a parent, we should be a roll model and teach our kids to respect to respect different cultures. you have explained all pointers so well in this post. will help lots of parents who felt a sense of hesitation to talk with their kids on this subject.

  15. Racism is a deep-rooted issue. The onus of keeping the kids unaffected by its thoughts remains on parents. Loved reading your thoughts.

  16. Judy Morris says:

    I feel racism is far more deep-rooted in our society. Only parents can make the kids aware and be a good role model to prevent any new act of racism from happening.

  17. I agree with you that children are pure souls and learn what we serve them. Racism is a serious problem around the world and must be curbed at any cost.

  18. I often see kids being subjected to racism and it’s important that we teach them from a very young age about this delicate subject of racism. Also in fact kids learn from adults so we should also help them learn about unity despite caste, creed, color, or culture.

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