Talking to Kids About Race


If you are, as a white parent like me, looking for resources to help you have conversations with your children about race, you are not alone. Below I offer what I hope can be a starting place for those for whom this conversation is new.

While conversations about race are important and essential, I recognize that experts in the field provide guidance on age-appropriate ways to discuss race and the current and historical context with children. 

One good resource to guide you based on the age of your own children comes to us from The Children’s Community School and this visual from adapted from the resources at The Children’s Community School.

Beyond that, below are more suggestions that might allow you to engage – or begin to engage – in important conversations about race with your children.

I know that parents are busier than ever, so I’ve broken down suggestions by the time you might find in your day that you are able to dedicate to learning more for yourself, as well as learning alongside, and engaging in conversation with, your children. 

If you have 5 minutes:

If you have 10 minutes:

  • Listen to and/or read the transcript of this NPR Interview with Dr. Jennifer Harvey. Dr. Harvey’s biography on Amazon notes she is a writer, speaker, and professor at Drake University. Her work focuses on racial justice and white anti-racism. Dr. Harvey’s most recent books include Raising White Kids: Bringing Up Children in Racially Unjust America (Abingdon Press) and Dear White Christians: For Those Still Longing for Racial Reconciliation (Wm. B. Eerdmans). Dr. Harvey also contributes to CCN, NPR, The New York Times,and Huffington Post and is ordained in the American Baptist Churches (U.S.A.).
  • Read the article How to talk to your children about protests and racism and listen to the CNN interview (just over 2 minutes).

If you have 15 minutes:

If you have 20 to 30 minutes:

If you have an hour or more:

If you would like to diversify your own adult reading library:

Expand your own understanding of the experiences of people of color:
Learn more of context, history, and experience through nonfiction books (these are just a few):

Follow the links below to hear from other voices:

*note that some of these book list recommendations contain overlap of titles

The above suggestions are gathered through the variety of online resources being shared to aid us all, as parents and humans, in navigating crucial conversations about race with our kids. The resources here have been included and adapted from CNN, MindShift, NPR, The Children’s Community School, Motherly, The Center for Racial Justice, Mighty Oaks Counseling and Wellness, and other important voices being elevated right now in our online communities. 



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