Talking to Kids About Race: National Museum of African American History and Culture Launches New Web PortalBy Kim Humphrey
Posted Jun 01, 2020
Parents may be struggling with what (or even if) to tell their kids after the recent deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor, and the subsequent eruption of protests, riots and extreme anger that are flashing across our social media and TV screens.
Figuring out what to say to our kids about complex topics like racism, police brutality, racial violence and social justice is difficult and even uncomfortable, especially if our kids are young. But experts agree that having age-appropriate conversations is essential for all parents to have, both to help children understand and cope with what they are seeing and hearing on the news and to confront racism head on and stop the perpetuation of racism in future generations.
The National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) has launched Talking About Race, a brand new free online portal to help parents have these critical conversations in age and developmentally-appropriate ways. “Since opening the museum, the number one question we are asked is how to talk about race, especially with children,” said Spencer Crew, the interim director of the National Museum of African American History and Culture in a press release. “We recognize how difficult it is to start that conversation. But in a nation still struggling with the legacies of slavery, Jim Crow laws, and white supremacy, we must have these tough conversations if we have any hope of turning the page and healing. This new portal is a step in that direction.”
Talking About Race provides digital tools, online exercises, video instructions, scholarly articles and more than 100 multi-media resources to help parents, educators, individuals and communities foster constructive discussions about race. "We hope that people will use this site to become more comfortable about engaging in honest dialogue and self-reflection," said Crew.
The portal has a special section for parents and caregivers to help guide their conversations with children to help them understand what race is, how it operates in society, why race in America is important, and how parents can support children's pride in their racial heritage, yet discourage feelings of racial superiority or inferiority. "The portal offers a wealth of resources to inform and guide discussions -- videos, role-playing exercises, targeted questions and more," said Crew.
Experts say racism persists in part because many parents avoid these difficult conversations. NMAAHC's new portal provides the tools and guidance to get the conversation started.
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