Talking to your child about racism

October 3, 2022

If you are a person of colour, it is more than likely that you have experienced some racism during your lifetime. Unfortunately, it is still a scourge on our society, which means that there is a fair chance that your child might face similar abuse. Children who do experience racism often feel confused and full of shame, since they are led to believe that something is inherently wrong with themselves. It is little surprise that children who regularly encounter racism develop extremely low self-esteem. 

There is still much we must do as a society to wipe out racism, and it is therefore difficult to entirely shelter your child from it. However, as difficult as it may be, it is important to speak to your child about racism. While there is no one-size-fits-all approach, here are some basic tips to help you tackle this difficult issue.

  1. Talk early and often about race and racism

Racist abuse is all the more painful when it is unexpected. So, it is important to have open and honest conversations about race from an early age. Perhaps you could share your own experience, and ask your child questions such as: “Has this ever happened to you? Why do you think this happens? How did this make you feel?” These types of conversations help to validate and untangle your child’s confused emotions.

  1. Introduce your child to the experiences and viewpoints of others of the same race as them

Racism can lead many children to feeling isolated and marginalised. Being introduced to strong characters of the same race – whether it be Martin Luther King, Gandhi or even your next-door neighbour – opens your child’s sense of perspective and lets them know that they are not alone. In other words, it places their experiences, past, present and future, in a wider context, which might counter their feelings of shame with racial pride. As with everything, community is vital.

  1. Promote your culture

Linked to the above point, create a sense of pride around your heritage within your home. Speak about your family’s accomplishments, as well as those who belong to your same race. Make it clear that racial stereotypes do not define you. This will be most effective if you can tell positive stories about yourself and others. Children are naturally attracted to compelling narratives – they often remember such stories for a lifetime. 

Talking to your child about racism

October 3, 2022

If you are a person of colour, it is more than likely that you have experienced some racism during your lifetime. Unfortunately, it is still a scourge on our society, which means that there is a fair chance that your child might face similar abuse. Children who do experience racism often feel confused and full of shame, since they are led to believe that something is inherently wrong with themselves. It is little surprise that children who regularly encounter racism develop extremely low self-esteem. 

There is still much we must do as a society to wipe out racism, and it is therefore difficult to entirely shelter your child from it. However, as difficult as it may be, it is important to speak to your child about racism. While there is no one-size-fits-all approach, here are some basic tips to help you tackle this difficult issue.

  1. Talk early and often about race and racism

Racist abuse is all the more painful when it is unexpected. So, it is important to have open and honest conversations about race from an early age. Perhaps you could share your own experience, and ask your child questions such as: “Has this ever happened to you? Why do you think this happens? How did this make you feel?” These types of conversations help to validate and untangle your child’s confused emotions.

  1. Introduce your child to the experiences and viewpoints of others of the same race as them

Racism can lead many children to feeling isolated and marginalised. Being introduced to strong characters of the same race – whether it be Martin Luther King, Gandhi or even your next-door neighbour – opens your child’s sense of perspective and lets them know that they are not alone. In other words, it places their experiences, past, present and future, in a wider context, which might counter their feelings of shame with racial pride. As with everything, community is vital.

  1. Promote your culture

Linked to the above point, create a sense of pride around your heritage within your home. Speak about your family’s accomplishments, as well as those who belong to your same race. Make it clear that racial stereotypes do not define you. This will be most effective if you can tell positive stories about yourself and others. Children are naturally attracted to compelling narratives – they often remember such stories for a lifetime. 

Members only content

Sign up or login for free to access