The Right Way to Teach Kids About Racism

Victoria Harris
6 min readJun 4, 2020

What should you do when these topics come up.

Photo by Wayne Lee-Sing on Unsplash

I’ll make it very clear for you. DON’T teach your child racism. Do not feed them an experience they haven’t felt. Do not touch the segregation topic until “they ask”. DON’T even tread carefully with “one day long ago whites and blacks were separated and Jamal couldn’t drink out of this fountain but Kevin could and you are fortunate because nowadays”. Just stop right there. Save that deep conversation for later.

As a parent, you feel it is your obligation and duty to educate your child so much, that you lose yourself in the process. There is so much pressure to inform our kids about everything and raise controversial topics to stimulate their minds. But at what age are your doing this? At what cost?! It’s so important for some parents to raise such a “smart child” that you are literally feeding information to a kid at an inappropriate age. When you tread over the teachings of racism, you formulate “their” opinion that either they are better than or less than because of their color.

As adults, yes, us grown folks know that we need to understand the meaning behind ‘i see your color and I won’t deny it’. But that concept is too big for an undeveloped mind. And I’m not talking about the grown conversation we should be having amongst me and you. Let’s collectively take care of our future, our children, and shape them into what we are really aiming for.

When you throw racism at your child, your feeding them an experience. A story telling experience that is casually joked about and thrown around on the playground, one’s that are misinterpreted and later exposed to their friends and used. Let them bring experiences to you, and take them down, one at a time. Protect their exposure and social development.

How do I intervene when schools teach it too?

Don’t be so quick to jump into a full blown history lesson with a Kindergartner when they have their first MLK project.

When they ask you questions, answer them, but pivot your answer to lead the conversation in a new direction. For example, “Yes Martin Luther King was a peaceful protester, yes he was a leader, yes he was not treated fairly, he wanted equality for not just black people, but…