Adults start teaching kindness to kids at a young age. Ask any kid, and they’ve probably heard of the ‘Golden Rule’: treat others the way you want to be treated. We teach them to not say mean words to others. And we teach them that, just because someone is different from you, it doesn’t mean you should treat them any differently. But what if that difference is in their skin color?
Talking about race and racism can be a tricky conversation, especially with young minds. But talking to kids is the best way to provide guidance for them to grow up truly believing in the ‘Golden Rule’, and that it should apply to everyone.
Don’t know where to start? Here are a few tips:
- Be the GOOD example. Telling kids how they should act is easy. But giving them a good role model to base their behaviors on is more actionable.
- Ask questions and give answers. Don’t shy away from conversations about race and racism. Explain to them what they are seeing in the news. Be ready to answer their curious questions.
- Bring to light positive examples. Don’t only celebrate or educate about white-identifying scientists and do good-ers—make sure to include the many people of color who have also made big impacts.
- It’s okay to make mistakes. Understand that everyone is human, and making mistakes is a big part of being human. Be prepared to learn from those mistakes and pass along what you have learned.
Starting a conversation is just the beginning. Un-learning systemic racism and breaking the cycle is a lifelong education. Here are more resources on how to talk to youth about race and racism: