People love to say that racism has to be taught. I'm not so sure anymore. I think we are swimming in a racist environment and kids pick up on it because it's all around us. One thing I do know: antiracism has to be taught.
When I wrote a parenting book, I knew I needed to talk about this. Here are some of the suggestions I gave in my book ( https://biglink.to/RATM ). Open to more . . . leave them in comments.
1. Take an inventory of your home’s diversity. Make it a point to buy dolls and action figures of every race. Have a wide variety of books in your home, both featuring characters of other races and countries, and also written by people of color.
2. Lead by example. Widen your circle of friends and acquaintances to include people from different backgrounds, cultures and experiences.
3. Look for opportunities to immerse your family in other cultures. Try to find situations where your family is the minority. Try attending a minority church event or a cultural festival. Observe your child’s reactions and open a dialogue about how that feels.
4. Watch how your kids play with children who are different, whether it be skin color, gender, disability, or physical differences. Talk about what you observe.
5. Take inventory of your own racial biases. Be careful with the language you use around your children. Avoid making stereotypical statements or racial jokes in front of your children. (And really. Just stop doing it altogether. You know better.)
6. Educate yourself on racism and privilege, and keep learning. Read the works of authors like @austinchanning, @tanahesicoates, @IjeomaOluo, @latashamorrison and @BayoumiMoustafa.
7. Talk about civil rights and heroes of the movement, and when they are mature enough to understand, discuss the specifics of Jim Crow, slavery, the assassination of MLK, and other atrocities based on ethnicity, race, or religion.
8. Continue to discuss current global examples of ethnically-motived violence and oppression, issues of social justice, current circumstances of slavery, and all forms of xenophobia.