Better World

Trying to raise antiracist kids? Start important conversations with these age-appropriate videos

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From instances of racial violence across the country to incidents of racial bias at the neighborhood playground, families are surrounded by reminders that racism is not a thing of the past. Parents of all racial backgrounds are tasked with preparing their kids for the realities of racism, and trying to break these harmful cycles for the next generation. It’s a lot to take on.

Luckily, you don’t have to do it all on your own! There are many well-thought-out resources to help you find the words to use with different ages, so that you can jumpstart (or add depth to) those necessary conversations in your household. We’ve compiled 14 high-quality videos about race, racism, and antiracism below to help!

These videos are organized by age range, but we recommend viewing them together so that you can learn what your kids are learning and be there to support them through any challenging topics. And remember that you can always hit the pause button to check in with kids about their feelings, reactions, or questions.

Also be sure to check out our antiracist book picks, diverse music recommendations, and resources for parents of all races.

First, some pep talks for parents

Parents, you’re not alone if you feel like you need guidance on how to approach this tough, complicated topic! Watch these for tips, and just remember that the goal is not to be a perfect parent who says everything right. You can always research and learn more, both with your kiddo and on your own.

If you’ve ever been tempted to just teach kids not to “see” race, watch this video and the whole ParentsTogether series on why and how to talk with kids about race.

Even if your parents didn’t talk to you about race growing up, it’s not too late to start. When we avoid the topic, it’s doing a disservice to our kids and sending them the message that there’s something bad or wrong about the differences that they’re noticing.

Talking to kids about race doesn’t have to always be a big, sit-down conversation. This short video from The Atlantic shows how you can help kids understand race and racism through pop culture, landmarks in your town, and everyday situations.

Videos to watch with toddlers and preschoolers (ages 2-5)

As you watch these with younger children, pay attention to the language and phrases used, so that you can repeat them in ways that the youngest ones will be more likely to understand and absorb. With toddlers and preschoolers, the main message to get across is that differences are a good thing!

Sesame Street is a trusted source for teaching young kids to navigate the world around them with kindness and caring, and the show doesn’t shy away from addressing race. Their See Us Coming Together special celebrates the diversity of Asian and Pacific Islander communities and introduces a new Korean American character. Watch the whole episode together!

In this Sesame Street clip, Elmo asks about skin color, as any curious kid might. His friends give a quick explanation about melanin — which is a great building block for kids to understand that differences are a natural part of life.

Lupita Nyong’o reads her picture book Sulwe, which is the story of a young dark-skinned girl who has already gotten the message that dark skin is not as beautiful as light skin. These harmful messages can start early, so get some help counteracting them with this magical story.

Videos to watch with elementary schoolers (ages 6-10)

As kids get older, they can understand more nuance and complexity, and they can handle learning about tough problems — with your support and reassurance.
In this PBS Kids clip, 7- to 9-year-old kids and their parents of various backgrounds talk about race and racism, and also reflect on how and why they talk about those topics as a family. Let these conversations help prompt your own family discussions — and see the full episode here for more great talking points.

Racism is hard to explain to young kids, and this book, Our Skin: A First Conversation About Race, can help. Listen to author Megan Madison read it aloud in this video.

Created by the kid-friendly hip hop group the Alphabet Rockers, this music-infused video inspires kids to take action on issues such as immigration justice. It demonstrates that antiracist activism can be uplifting, powerful, creative, and even fun.

Videos to watch with tweens and teens (ages 11 and up)

As kids grow into adolescence and young adulthood, they’ll be hearing more and more about current events, noticing more racialized incidents in their own lives, and developing their own sense of agency. It’s important to keep the lines of communication open, so you can gain insight into how they’re feeling and also empower them to take positive action.

An 11-year-old child asks viewers, “When did I stop being cute and start being scary?” This powerful video is a must-watch for families who are ready to dig deeper in their conversations about race and racism.

Especially if you and your kids are not Black, listen to these Black parents talk to their Black kids about how to interact with the police. It will help you acknowledge that certain issues may not seem as urgent to you personally, but they can be a matter of life and death for many families.

A Pakistani American poet brings to life the experience of being treated as foreign in your own country — and your own classroom — in this compelling performance. Let this video spark conversations with teens about beauty and ethnicity, “difficult-to-pronounce” names, and being proud to be different.

Most Americans don’t know nearly enough about Native identities, even though it’s crucial to understanding race, racism, and antiracism. This video is a great introduction to some of the issues — and sources of strength — that many indigenous people and nations experience in America today.

Are you wondering how to handle subtle and not-so-subtle racism in school, and how your child can be involved in disrupting those patterns? Get some words of wisdom from real high school student activists and the host of KQED’s Above the Noise series in this video.

Joanna Eng is a staff writer and digital content specialist at ParentsTogether. She lives with her wife and two kids in New York, where she loves to hike, try new foods, and check out way too many books from the library.