As the country continues to fight for racial justice and equality on the heels of the murder of George Floyd and the subsequent massive protests and widespread civil unrest, parents are tasked with navigating this difficult conversation with their children. Of course, that conversation can sound very different depending on the race of the parents and children involved. For example, most parents of white children don’t feel the need to teach them how to protect themselves if they get pulled over by a police officer.
Regardless of race, it’s important for families to keep the conversation about anti-racism going, even after the media attention dies down. Parents may find it easiest to get the dialogue started with resources and activities that appeal to their particular child.
For instance, if your kid is really into music, play them songs about racism, like “Strange Fruit” by Billie Holiday. Talk through the lyrics with them and research the life of the artist. If they love art, have them draw or paint as many different types of people as they can think of and create a multicultural mural to display at home! Keep looking for teachable moments and opportunities for dialogue about race throughout your family’s daily life.
ParentsTogether has scoured the internet to find helpful resources on race for all families. Choose the ones that work best for your family, and don’t forget that this conversation is never over! Look for opportunities to work these lessons into your everyday life with your kids.
Resources for Black Parents
- Things to read: First, it’s important to get a good understanding of what’s happening in the news so you can get ahead of the questions your kids may have. Check out The Root, a news source written by and for Black people. When you talk to your child about what’s going on, use these helpful tips from the Child Mind Institute.
- Things to watch: There are some great options for shows and movies the whole family can watch that can foster meaningful conversations about racism and help your kids see themselves in the strong characters. Black-ish—and it’s spin-off, Mixed-ish—are great family-friendly shows that take a hard look at how racism shows up in daily life. Harriet is a great option for movie night if you have older kids.
- Things to listen to: You can subscribe to podcasts created specifically for Black parents! Listening to podcasts can be educational (like Fare of the Free Child, which explores alternative schooling models for Black and brown children), or it can be an act of self-care (like the very relatable and funny Something to Cry About).
Resources for White Parents
- Things to read: Continue your own education (which should be a never-ending process!) with some incredibly insightful books like White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo, The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander, and Invisible No More by Andrea J. Ritchie.
- Things to watch: There are so many great options here! Start by looking for content written or directed by Black creators. Some of our favorites are the documentary 13th by Ava DuVernay, the series Dear White People by Justin Simien, and the movie Fruitvale Station by Ryan Coogler. You can find lots more great things to watch, read, and listen to with this helpful guide of anti-racist resources for white people.
- Things to listen to: This is such an easy way to incorporate your anti-racism learning into your everyday life—in the car, washing the dishes, or anytime you need a little background listening. NPR has some really helpful episodes about talking to kids about race. For a deep dive on anti-racist parenting, check out Raising White Kids with Jennifer Harvey.
Resources for Non-Black POC Parents
- Things to read: There has been a lot of thoughtful writing lately about how non-Black people of color can be allies during this movement. Read articles like Teen Vogue’s How Latinx People Can Fight Anti-Black Racism in Our Own Culture and Medium’s 20+ Allyship Actions for Asians to Show Up for the Black Community Right Now and apply whatever tips work for you so you can model anti-racist behaviors for your kids. DoSomething.org has a great guide for starting these conversations in your own family.
- Things to watch: The first step to parenting anti-racist kids is learning the history of racism specifically against Black folks in the US. This particular experience is unique, and learning about it can provide a lot of perspective and context for what’s happening today. Start with the film I Am Not Your Negro based on the words of writer James Baldwin. It connects the history of the US Civil Rights Movement with the current state of race in America. Another film to watch is Teach Us All which follows the history of school segregation in the US and examines how it still shows up in today’s school system.
- Things to listen to: Intersectionality Matters is an awesome podcast that explores how different marginalized groups can overlap with each other and be allies to one another. It’s so important to emphasize this point to your kids—that by lifting up those with the least privilege, we are really lifting up everyone.
Resources for Kids
- Things to read: Start talking about race early! Believe it or not, kids notice race a lot earlier than we think. Fill your kid’s book collection with children’s books featuring protagonists of color, and stories about how racism shows up in daily life.
- Things to watch: Doc McStuffins is a great show for younger kids with a Black girl as the main character. Showing little ones a Black woman healthcare provider is a perfect way to break the stereotypes and prejudices which usually assign roles like this to white men. For older kids, the show The Hollow features a super diverse and powerful cast of teens.
- Things to listen to: NPR’s Code Switch (which is a great one for parents to subscribe to for unflinching conversations about race) has a few kid-friendly episodes that are perfect for older children and teens. The episode On the Shoulders of Giants explores the history of anti-racist protest in sports and features sports heroes from across the decades including the football player Colin Kaepernik. Dispatches from the Schoolyard highlights the voices of kids and how they’re learning to navigate their identities.
No matter which kinds of media your family likes best, there are so many great anti-racist creators and thinkers producing content all the time that can help you approach race from a place of understanding and empathy—and pass those important values down to your children. Regardless of the racial or ethnic make-up of your family, there are resources you can take advantage of to bring the practice of anti-racism into your home.