“What will it mean in the long run if my white children don’t see and befriend people who come from different racial backgrounds? And are there steps I can take to instill racial sensitivity and acceptance in my kids despite the fact that they’re growing up in an ethnic bubble?”
Moyer poses these – and other questions -- in a recent guest column for Slate magazine that explores how white parents should talk to their children about race.
As a white mother, Moyer acknowledges the scope of her experience varies from parents of different, more ethnically diverse backgrounds. She seeks out experts, including developmental and social psychologist and race-relations researchers to speak on the topic.
Moyer’s column shares some fascinating statistics including the fact that children as young as preschool age can develop racial prejudices.
What it seems to boil down to: be open and vocal with your children about race. Talk to them. Don’t let it be the politically-correct topic you don’t really speak about.
Be upfront and specific, Moyer explains, among other suggestions.
“If little Henry makes a mortifying comment in the grocery store about someone’s skin color being ‘dirty,’ don’t shush him and change the subject or say something vague like don’t say things like that; it’s hurtful,” Moyer writes.
Use the moment to explain what skin color is. An appropriate response might be, 'Honey, that little girl is not dirty. Her skin is as clean as yours. It’s just a different color. Just like we have different color hair, people have different skin colors.'"
To read Moyer's full column, click here.
How do you talk with your children about race? Is it a topic you consciously discuss with your family? Share with us how you teach tolerance – post your thoughts in the comments!