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Talking about racism with your kids

A note from our Founder and CEO, Kate Boyle.

At Banjo Robinson, we believe that any child who is old enough to have a conversation, is old enough to talk about race.

There are lots of subjects that we might not know how to broach with our kids. Often, these are some of the most important subjects of all.  

We believe that we shouldn’t tell our children that we are ‘colour-blind’ or cannot see difference, because differences exist. We celebrate this difference, and we talk about the ways in which we are all the same. We can explain that individuals may be treated unkindly because of the colour of their skin, which causes pain. We can make it clear that racism is unacceptable, and that it is our responsibility to make a stand. 

We have to be careful not to pass on our biases. We must acknowledge our kids’ tricky questions and recognise when feelings about our own privilege or struggle are complicated and hard to articulate. We can have open discussions with our friends and our kids’ teachers about how they are approaching the subject. We should talk about the good people too, the ones who are part of the fight against racism. We should talk about hope. 

We can read books about combating racism with our kids (this blog has some great suggestions). We must seek out stories from diverse authors (The Book Trust has some excellent suggestions here). 

Of course, the conversation will become more nuanced as the kids get older, but it’s never too soon to start. 

It’s up to us to help equip our kids’ generation with the tools they need to understand and act against racism in our own countries and across the globe. If you don’t feel confident in how best to deliver this message, then read and learn along with your child. Keep listening, keep talking and let’s keep trying to change things. 

For more good resources: 

BBC: How to talk to your children about race and racism

NPR: Talking race with young children

National Geographic: Talking about race