Source: The Atlantic’s Home School YouTube Series
Racism has a long and rocky history in the U.S. — and all around the world. Many turn a blind eye to it, but it’s time to address it head-on. Kids are not born racist. Racial prejudice is something they learn, and we need to end this vicious cycle.
As political activist and author Angela Y. Davis said, “In a racist society, it is not enough to be non-racist, we must be anti-racist.” Black lives matter, and while it’s difficult to know the right things to say, we all need to be part of the conversation for the future of our children. We don’t claim to be experts on the matter or have all of the answers, but we will continue to champion the values of standing up against injustice and promoting inclusivity, diversity, safety, and equality for all.
Below, we’ve rounded up some resources — including blog posts, books, videos, TV specials, and websites — that families can use to support conversations on race and take a stand against racism.
- Joyce Brewer: Blogger and parenting expert Joyce Brewer wrote a poignant post about her son A.J. and her family’s first-hand experience of racism in America. She originally wrote it in 2014, reshared it in 2016, and reshared it again now, in 2020. Six years later and it’s still incredibly relevant. Read it here.
- National Geographic: Click here to read a thoughtful article that touches on the protests taking place after the murder of George Floyd, exposing kids to different perspectives, how to check unintentional racist behavior, and how to keep the conversation going strong.
- NPR: Michel Martin, weekend host of NPR’s All Things Considered, spoke with Jennifer Harvey, author of Raising White Kids: Bringing Up Children in a Racially Unjust America. Read their conversation in this article: “How White Parents Can Talk to Their Kids About Race.“
- Parent Toolkit: Parent Toolkit is a one-stop resource produced by NBC News Learn and supported by Pearson. This article offers helpful advice on “How to Talk to Kids about Race and Racism,” such as how to speak up against offensive language and being honest about addressing mistakes.
- Steve Locke: Artist Steve Locke’s “What Do We Tell the Children?” post hits hard as he reflects on why many white people segregate their kids from Black people by choice. He says it’s time to stop lying to kids and start telling them the truth about white supremacy because it’s a human rights issue that needs to be addressed.
- A Kids Book About Racism: Click here to listen and watch a video read-along of the book A Kids Book About Racism by Jelani Memory. The book is recommended for kids ages 5 and up and it offers a clear explanation of what racism is and how to know when you see it.
- BookConline: BookConline hosted a Creating Creative Social Justice panel in which authors Christina Hammonds Reed (The Black Kids), Jennifer de Leon (Don’t Ask Me Where I’m From), Kacen Callender (Felix Ever After), and Nic Stone (Jackpot) discussed how they use storytelling to address vital social justice issues of race, gender, and class. Click here to watch the replay on Facebook.
- Books for Diversity: Check out @booksfordiversity on Instagram for kid-friendly book suggestions that represent different races and cultures.
- The Conscious Kid Library: This reading list features 25 kids’ books celebrating Black boys, in partnership with Moms of Black Boys United. The selections affirm and empower Black boys, and were written and illustrated by Black authors and artists.
- This Book Is Anti-Racist: This Book Is Anti-Racist is a great tool to learn about the origins of racism and oppression with “20 lessons on how to wake up, take action, and do the work.” The book is written by Tiffany Jewell, a Black biracial writer and anti-racist educator, and illustrated by Aurélia Durand, a Paris-based artist. The book is written for all ages, with tips and lessons for kids who need help speaking up against racist adults, kids who feel lost from trying to fit into the dominant culture, and kids who have suffered because people have neglected to stand up for them. It includes examples of oppression throughout history, as well as stories of strength, hope, and revolution. Learn more about it here.
- Embracerace.org: This reading list features “31 children’s books to support conversations on race, racism, and resistance.” This list was curated by critical literacy organizations, The Conscious Kid and American Indians in Children’s Literature, with books that focus on empowering kids to take action against racial injustices.
- Inclusive Storytime: Follow @inclusivestorytime on Instagram for picture books and kids’ book recommendations that reflect diverse stories and characters.
- Readbrightly.com: This reading list features more than a dozen books for all types of readers, including picture books, middle-grade options, young adult books, and more. It also offers tips on how to address race directly, rather than beating around the bush.
- Imagine Neighborhood: The Committee for Children‘s podcast series The Imagine Neighborhood is helping parents start a conversation with their kids with a special episode about racism, equity, and justice, featuring Dr. Jasmine Williams, PhD. The episode covers difficult topics, including the murder of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery, as well as the violence that black Americans face as part of their daily realities. Click here to listen to the free podcast or visit imagineneighborhood.org for more information on how to educate kids about racism, including book suggestions for the whole family.
- NYU Langone Health: Watch this NYU Langone Health presentation from Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychologist Dr. Yamalis Diaz for information on how to discuss racism with your kids. It covers how race can impact your kids’ relationships and provides parents with guidelines on how to start a conversation from a psychologist’s perspective.
- Something Happened In Our Town — Story Time Animation: Click here to watch an animated video version of Something Happened In Our Town, a kids’ book about racial injustice written by Marianne Celano, Marietta Collins, and Ann Hazzard, and illustrated by Jennifer Zivoin. Story Time is a Niagara Falls Underground Railroad Heritage Center program and Atlantis School For Gifted Youngsters-produced series that highlights empowering kid’s books.
- The Atlantic: Watch this episode of Home School, an animated series about parenting from The Atlantic. Author Jemar Tisby offers advice on how to speak to kids about race, from experiential learning to watching classic animated films.
- CNN/Sesame Street Town Hall: CNN and Sesame Street are hosting a Town Hall on Saturday, June 6, at 10 a.m. EDT to shed light on racism and the recent protests. Big Bird will join CNN commentator Van Jones and CNN anchor and national correspondent Erica Hill to moderate the 60-minute special. Sesame Street characters and other experts will join in to answer questions submitted by families. Coming Together: Standing Up to Racism will stream live on cnn.com‘s homepage and across mobile devices via CNN’s apps — without requiring a cable log-in. Viewers can also tune in on CNN, CNN International, and CNN en Español.
- Nick News: Alicia Keys is hosting an hour-long special comeback of Nickelodeon‘s Nick News on Monday, June 29, at 7 p.m. EDT/PDT. Kids, Race and Unity: A Nick News Special will feature leaders of the Black Lives Matter movement to discuss racism in our country and to highlight teen activists who are fighting racial injustice. Keys will lead conversations with special guests, including the co-founders of Black Lives Matter, Patrisse Cullors, Alicia Garza, and Opal Tometi; 12-year-old singer, Keedron Bryant; author of Antiracist Baby, Ibram X. Kendi; the Nashville teens who founded Teens4Equality; social media sensation Tabitha Brown and her family; and family therapist, Dr. George James. The special will simulcast across Nickelodeon, TeenNick, and Nicktoons, and will later be available on Nickelodeon YouTube, Nick On Demand, the Nick App, and the Nick Pluto TV channel following the premiere. Parents can continue to teach their kids with the help of a discussion guide and anti-racism resources created with the help of The Conscious Kid and Dr. George James on nickhelps.com.
- What it’s Like: What it’s Like is a five-part series from Awesomeness (a part of ViacomCBS) that takes on important topics and makes them palatable for younger audiences by addressing each issue through Gen Z’s eyes. It will include panel discussions, musical performances, and professionals talking to — not at — a younger audience. The first episode, “What it’s Like …. to be a Black Teen in America” will feature filmmaker Carri Twigg leading a discussion with a panel of Black teenagers and young celebrities. They will discuss how they deal with racism in their daily lives, offer solutions on solving racial imbalances, and talk about how to support communities of color. Both Tiana Major9 and H.E.R. will perform, and H.E.R. will discuss her new song, “I Can’t Breath.” Watch it on Awesomeness’ YouTube and IGTV series on July 11 at 5 p.m. EDT.
- EmbraceRace: EmbraceRace was founded in 2016 by two parents who set out to create a community and gather resources to meet the challenges of raising kids in a world where race matters. The website offers a ton of useful tools, discussion spaces, and networks to nurture inclusive, empathetic kids; raise kids who think critically about racial inequity; and support a movement of racial justice advocates for all kids.
- Explore! Children’s Museum: The Explore! Children’s Museum in Washington D.C. launched Explore! Sandbox, an online resource with more than 100 activities for families to do at home. Explore! Sandbox is designed for kids from ages 0-9 to learn about the world around them through art videos, science experiments, and cooking how-tos from young chefs. In line with the museum’s mission for enhanced learning, Explore! Sandbox also offers resources for parents to talk about topics, such as racism and COVID-19. Families can head to exploremuseum.org for more info or to start playing.
- National Museum of African American History and Culture: The National Museum of African American History and Culture is temporarily closed due to COVID-19, but the Washington, D.C.-based museum has a website with a Talking About Race Web Portal, online exhibitions featuring some of the museum’s signature artifacts, blog posts, and more.
- Stand Against Racism: Stand Against Racism is a signature campaign of YWCA USA that raises awareness about the negative impact of institutional and structural racism and to build community among those who work for racial justice. There is an annual event that takes place in April, but the website features useful information year-round, including a Stand Against Racism pledge to eliminate racism, empower women, stand up for social justice, help families, and strengthen communities.
- Teaching Tolerance: Visit Teaching Tolerance’s Classroom Resources page for helpful information on how to teach an anti-bias education at every grade level. Teachers and parents who home-school their kids can find lesson plans, film kits, teaching strategies, and student tasks covering important social justice topics. The website also features a searchable library of nonfiction texts, literature, photographs, political cartoons, interviews, infographics, and more.
- United Nations: The United Nations offers tips on how to make the classroom a place of acceptance, real-life stories of people experiencing racism and exploitation, and how you can take a stand against racism in your community. The United Nations Human Rights Office created the #StandUp4HumanRights campaign to draw the line against messages of intolerance and hatred. You can sign a pledge to be a human rights champion or visit the website to learn more via videos and commentary about fighting against injustice.