Our Anti-racist Future: Talking to Kids About Race, Racism and Inequality

Photo Courtesy: JIM WATSON/Contributor/AFP/Getty Images

As many white people have begun learning for the first time, systemic racism consistently and disproportionately affects people of color in the United States. In realizing the society-wide impacts of racism, we're also realizing how complex it is — and that it’s not enough to "not be racist" or to not acknowledge the role race plays in how people are treated on every level of society. It’s essential to work to become actively anti-racist, to "examine the power imbalances between racialized people and non-racialized/white people" and engage in the process of "identifying, challenging and changing the values, structures and behaviors that perpetuate systemic racism." This must be done so we can create a society that offers equal opportunities and treatment to everyone.

But adults aren’t the only ones taking notice. Children start receiving messages about race early on in their lives, and those questions can raise lots of questions in kids’ minds — questions that they may or may not voice. In working to be anti-racist, it’s essential to initiate conversations about race with children and answer these questions. No matter how uncomfortable the topic may feel or what it forces us to confront, learning how to talk to kids about race, racism and inclusion is what needs to happen to shape young minds and ultimately steer kids towards anti-racist behavior — making the world a better place in the process.