In the 2016-2017 school year, educators, families and graduate students participated in a research group examining the goals of Anti-Bias Education. Click here to read more about this group.
As part of their continuing conversation, Marissa Tafura from Empowering Kids met with educators from the Boulder Journey School Teacher Education Program (BJSTEP) to discuss the importance of engaging in conversations about race. Marissa focuses on equipping teachers and families with the tools they require to enter into dialogue with young children.
We reflected on the following questions:
How often do teachers and parents talk with children about race?
- Marissa recommends using very descriptive colors to name race and to make it personal by referencing someone you know who identifies with that race. Be sure to model that it is okay to notice and talk about race, while recognizing that those conversations may look different in public and private spaces.
How can we challenge the normalization of whiteness and diversify materials offered in classrooms and homes?
- Marissa recommends sharing why some images or narratives make you uncomfortable. For example, “I don’t like that the only brown skinned person in the book is the one opening the gate to the zoo.”
How do we name race as an important part of one’s identity?
- Marissa made the comparison to how we talk about gender and accept that gender identity is important to our self concept. She encouraged us to do the same with race and not shy away from it.
How can we raise children who are able to identify injustices and take action?
- Marissa recommends empowering children. She suggests that adults should include narratives that challenge the idea that people of color are always victims.
Marissa recommended the following website on teaching tolerance: http://www.tolerance.org/ She also recommended this article: http://www.wdsnyc.org/file/documents/CHILDREN-ARE-NOT-COLORBLIND.pdf
We look forward to continuing our work with Marissa and plan to schedule a meeting for Boulder Journey School parents as a next step. You can learn more about the importance of talking with children about race by visiting this blog: http://family-garden.org/talk-kids-race/
Here are some additional resources:
Building a Diverse Anti-Bias Library for Young Children (multiple resources)