In today's world, there are numerous topics with which parents need to familiarize their kids, such as racism. As people across the globe continue to protest against systemic racism and racial inequality, you might find your kids questioning the incidents plastered all over the news and the discussions happening around them.
While many parents believe racism to be a heavy topic for children, experts believe that it is an ideal time to have a positive discourse on race with your kids. Right now, white parents can play a vital role in enlightening and educating their kids on the privileges they're privy to based on their skin color.
Additionally, for this conversation to take place effectually, everyone needs to do their part, in any capacity. As an employee of a tech company, I am pleased to say that many tech companies, including my own, have taken up the initiative to design interactive resources and content to make the discourse on racial inequality easier for parents.
The plan is to create comprehensible content ready for consumption by kids of all ages, so they understand the importance of fair treatment and equality for all. But before discussing the digital content, let's talk about how parents can address racism effectively with their kids:
Normalize Diversity – But How?
Talk Openly and Be Honest
Kids are very observant and can easily pick up the things happening around them. This is why parents need to show that race is not a taboo topic, and it's okay to have discussions on the matter – as long as it's done in an age-appropriate manner.
Use real-life examples and explain to kids that there are people in the world who unfairly judge others based on their difference in skin color. Talk about the current events and tell them why people are angry and hurt over their mistreatment. Ask them, "Wouldn't you be mad if someone didn't let you play on the swings because of your skin color?"
Parents can present facts to their children to help them understand the recent protest. For instance, they can tell their kids that the police in America hurts black individuals more than white individuals. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6080222/ This will also help them understand the concept of fair vs. unfair treatment.
Discuss the Content on Media
If your children are from the age of 6 to 11, then they might have some level of exposure to the internet and/or social media. Be sure to check what they see online and how it affects their emotions. Ask those questions about what they read and if they notice any patterns in racial bias, representation of certain people in media, etc. In this way, you can gauge their understanding and address the areas they don't understand effectively.
Explore Diversity Together
There doesn't need to be just conversational change taking place, there are other ways to educate your kids about races and ethnicities. You can normalize diversity for your children by including different things in their upbringing. For example, you can plan a day every week where you order food from an ethnic restaurant.
Read books to your children that have a diverse range of characters rather than just typical white characters. Show them cartoons and animated moves that celebrate diversity rather than portraying only one group of people.
Fostering an environment from an earlier stage where you explore different ethnic groups, learn about the history of civil rights, and teach the importance of standing up for what's right helps your child become more accepting of racial equality.
What Can We Use To Teach Children About Racism?
Of course, holding positive and honest dialogues should be the first step towards teaching your kids about racism and discrimination. But to make matters easier, major software companies are developing digital media and resources for classrooms and households to assist adults in talking to kids about racism. Their aim is to catalyst the use of these resources through digital marketing, so more parents are encouraged to have these discussions with their children.
Digital Books and Guides
Software experts are collaborating with educators to create guides and books with images and easy-to-understand texts for the consumption of kids of all ages. They don't follow a 'one-size-fits-all' approach here and create content that addresses racism in age-appropriate ways. Teachers can make use of these resources in classrooms, and parents can use them at home to help their kids understand race, diversity, and racism.
This form of digital media is incredibly impactful and engaging, as it often consists of an emotional component. In this case, it's the unfair treatment and racial injustice that marginalizes and silences the voices of people of color. Using interactive imagery, videos, and graphics can make the process of learning productive and interesting.
Always remember that you are the example kids will follow; therefore, you should take every opportunity to teach your children about the unfairness and baselessness of racial discrimination. If you take a step today, hopefully, your kid's generation would be free from this curse.