Racism and racial tensions seem to be becoming more prevalent (or at least more visible) in recent years. Given that racism is driven by fear and insecurity, this isn’t all that surprising, since American culture is becoming more insecure, fearful, and neurotic by the day.
Children, too, are exposed to these ideas. They stumble upon racist posts on the internet. They encounter stories of racial tension on the news. They are caught in the middle of the curriculum wars over “critical race theory” and what we teach children about slavery or the history of racism in America. They absorb the things their parents say and do, and then bring these beliefs and mannerisms with them back to the school yard where they reflect it to other kids. So if you think children are innocent and naive to these issues, think again.
Unfortunately, race, like sex, is a topic parents tend to avoid at all costs. If it makes themselves uncomfortable, they aren’t eager to discuss it with their children. This can have disastrous consequences, since avoiding the issue only deepens the stigma, while leaving room for misconception to grow in the dark.
To help make these conversations easier, we’ve launched a new area of our website dealing with race and racism in children, full of resources for parents and teachers alike. This includes an implicit bias race test you can give your children that will expose any subconscious biasis your children may have picked up. We’ll also be adding more resources to this area in the months to come. We encourage everyone to make use of this material, and please, help us out by posting the link to these resources so that other people can make use of them too.
It’s a rather sad indictment of humanity that we still cant get ourselves past even the most basic and fundamental of prejudices. If we’re ever going to do that, it has to start with our children. So let’s all do our part to ensure the next generation grows up to inhabit a more inclusive, less bigoted society.
See also: Bias in Children