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  • Race is one of those touchy subjects you don't really want to get into because you're afraid you might mess up.

  • But the fact is, that as early as three years old, children are classifying people based on their appearances, and so the worst conversation adults can have with kids about race is no conversation at all.

  • Talking to kids about race needs to happen early, often, and honestly.

  • Saying honestly, "Yeah, people are different, cultures are different, but that's a good thing."

  • "How boring would it be to have a, a crayon box that all had the same color?”

  • There are so many ways to approach racial conversations.

  • You can use Dr. Seuss books, you can use any sort of pop culture reference.

  • There are many, many movies, animated movies especially, that form a good entry way.

  • So it's helpful, especially as a parent, to watch the movie beforehand maybe or read a plot summary and say, "Well, what's happening here?"

  • Or, "Look at all the other princesses. What do you notice about them?"

  • "Do you think anyone can be a princess?"

  • "Do they have to have a certain skin color or look a certain way?"

  • And it's usually good to sort of stop along the way, pause two or three times strategically and bring up this conversation.

  • Kids just like adults, don't just respond to words, so this isn't just quote on quote, "talking" to your kids about race.

  • This is actually experiential learning that we need to do.

  • I remember taking a class to the Lorraine Motel where Dr. King was assassinated.

  • And when young people see that, that impacts them.

  • And then we can use that experience, that hands on visceral encounter with race and racism, to have a much more substantive conversation, and it feels different.

  • And you can do that in your own local city.

  • There are historical markers, those signs you pass all the time and never read, stop and read them one day.

  • See what they say.

  • See what happened there.

  • See if you recognize the names, or if you don't, go and look them up.

  • Utilize all the resources around you and make sure that you're not just talking to your kids about race and diversity and justice, but you're showing them why it's important.

  • Racism is detrimental to the entire society, no matter if you're black or white, Latino, Asian, native, whomever.

  • Everyone is impacted, and that's why we need to raise a generation of people that's going to turn around and try to change that momentum toward the tide of anti-racism and racial justice.

Race is one of those touchy subjects you don't really want to get into because you're afraid you might mess up.

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How to Talk to Kids About Race

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    Mahiro Kitauchi posted on 2020/06/08
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