As the country reacts to the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and other black Americans, you might be wondering how best to broach the topic of race with your younger children. The conversation is an important one to have, as experts say early impressions of race and racism can shape a child's feelings for years to come.
"This moment in time provides people with an opportunity," Candra Flanagan, director of teaching and learning for the National Museum of African American History and Culture, said in a recent interview with our partners at National Geographic. "Adults might want to turn off the TV or be silent. But kids are getting their information and understanding from other places. It makes it that much more important to have these conversations so they aren't getting outside messages different from what [parents] want them to have."
Keep reading for some helpful tips from Flanagan and other experts about talking to your children about race or click here to read National Geographic's full story by Heather Greenwood Davis.
WATCH: National Geographic Q&A about talking to kids about race
- Be prepared to talk about race-based events and the emotions that they bring out.
- Watch for statements that link race with value judgments. Noticing race isn't racist, but be prepared to correct judgments kids may unknowingly place on those differences.
- Help your kids recognize the harm of a racist idea.
- Take a look at how people of different races are portrayed in books and movies and consider introducing new representations into your home library.
- Make an effort to expand your family's social network to be more inclusive, starting with diversity at playdates and other gatherings.
- Don't make talking about race a one-time event. Conversations can naturally occur if you're paying attention to your child's statements.
- Don't pretend to have all the answers. If you wish you'd answered a question differently in retrospect, own it.