Resources for Parents: Addressing Bias, Racial Identity, and Inequity with Children
By Jill Taylor, NCMA Manager of School and Teacher Programs
Talking with children about race and inequity requires reflection about one’s identity, experiences, and implicit biases. Self-awareness will help in understanding how children’s perceptions of the world are influenced by your actions and beliefs. Having discussions with children about these issues should be woven into your daily lives, rather than a “very special episode” that fades from memory if not revisited. Children are as guided by what you show them as what you tell them; representation matters, from the characters they read about in books to the toys they play with and the television and movies they watch. Recommendations for going deeper on these topics follow.
Great places to start
Project Implicit: Implicit Bias Test
Talking about Race portal from the National Museum of African American History and Culture. This is a fantastic starting place for exploring historical foundations of race, anti-racism, bias, and much more. It includes specific recommendations geared toward educators, parents, and people committed to equity.
EmbraceRace. This nonprofit was founded by a couple who wanted to build a community devoted to gathering resources for parents to “meet the challenges they face raising children in a world where race matters.” Sample resources include:
- Your 5-year-old is already racially biased. Here’s what you can do about it
- Looking for excellent diverse children’s books? Start here!
- Anti-Racism Resources for White People. This is a Google doc compiled by activists Sarah Sophie Flicker and Alyssa Klein in May 2020 that features articles, book lists, podcasts, and other media recommendations for aspiring allies.
Children’s books: a few to start with
- Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Pena, illustrated by Christian Robinson
- Blue Sky White Stars by Sarvinder Naberhaus, illustrated by Kadir Nelson
- God’s Dream by Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Douglas Carlton Abrams, illustrated by LeUyen Pham
- Sulwe by Lupita Nyong’o, illustrated by Vashti Harrison
- Dream Big, Little One by Vashti Harrison
Books with NCMA connections
- Harriet and the Promised Land by Jacob Lawrence (the Museum’s Jacob Lawrence painting Forward evolved from Lawrence’s work on this book)
- My Hands Sing the Blues: Romare Bearden’s Childhood Journey by Jeanne Walker Harvey, illustrated by Elizabeth Zunon
For more ideas, check out winners of the Coretta Scott King Book Awards.