What is racism? The children’s book series A Kids Book About addresses some of the many facets of racism in their word-driven book A Kids Book About Racism. This video shares a reading of that book by author and the company’s founder Jelani Memory. He wrote the book to help start conversations with kids ages 5+.
“Inside, you’ll find a clear description of what racism is, how it makes people feel when they experience it, and how to spot it when it happens.”
As with the book, the video is best watched and discussed together. It can be a helpful tool for talking with young children about the U.S.-centric protests and uprising for the equal treatment of Black and Brown people under the law.
More on the topic from Dr. Erin Winkler, author of Children Are Not Colorblind: How Young Children Learn Race [pdf]:
“Adults often think they should avoid talking with young children about race or racism because doing so would cause them to notice race or make them racist. In fact, when adults are silent about race or use “colorblind” rhetoric, they actually reinforce racial prejudice in children.
Starting at a very young age, children see patterns — who seems to live where; what kinds of homes they see as they ride or walk through different neighborhoods; who is the most desirable character in the movies they watch; who seems to have particular jobs or roles at the doctor’s office, at school, at the grocery store; and so on — and try to assign “rules” to explain what they see. Adults’ silence about these patterns and the structural racism that causes them, combined with the false but ubiquitous “American Dream” narrative that everyone can achieve anything that they want through hard work, results in children concluding that the patterns they see “must have been caused by meaningful inherent differences between groups.” In other words, young children infer that the racial inequities they see are natural and justified.
So despite good intentions, when we fail to talk openly with our children about racial inequity in our society, we are in fact contributing to the development of their racial biases, which studies show are already in place.”
Related guides include Mother.ly’s Age-by-age guide to talking to your kids about racism
Pair this with A Kids Book About Belonging by Kevin Carroll, who explains that belonging “was the most important thing that I needed as a child… Belonging is a fundamental need. Belonging is something that we all want, and most importantly, we all seek it out.”
This is a book about belonging. It tackles what it’s like when you feel like you belong to a group or family or team and what it’s like when you don’t. It addresses what it feels like when you don’t fit in, or when others don’t want you around. This book teaches kids how to belong to themselves and how that helps them belong anywhere.
Related watching: Civil rights and emotions. Follow this with Black and STEM stories, including:
• The Courage To Invent: NASA Roboticist Dr. Ayanna Howard Tells Her Story
• Hidden Stories: Dorothy Vaughan
• Jason Ward goes birding in Central Park
And as always, Wangari Maathai’s “I will be a hummingbird.”
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