Resources for Talking to Kids about Racism, Diversity, and Social Justice

By June 5, 2020In The News, Match Events

The work that we do at Big Brothers Big Sisters of Tampa Bay improves lives and helps build bridges and better understanding among different groups in the communities we serve. Part of building that understanding is helping our children process their feelings in the wake of injustice, such as the recent killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery. Many children are feeling anxious, confused, or scared and have questions about what is happening across our nation and in the local Tampa Bay community. Discussions about race and racism can be difficult but checking in with your Little in the wake of racist violence is crucial. Talking with a trusted adult and finding ways to take positive action is important for children. Big Brothers Big Sisters of Tampa Bay has taken the time to collect some resources for our Bigs, Littles, and families to have open discussions about racism, diversity, and social justice.

 

  • Saturday, June 6th at 10 am: CNN & Sesame Street Town Hall: Standing Up to Racism: As anger and heartbreak have swept across America over the killing of yet another black man at the hands of police, CNN and “Sesame Street” are refocusing their second town hall to address racism. The 60-minute special “Coming Together: Standing Up to Racism. A CNN/Sesame Street Town Hall for Kids and Families” will air on Saturday, June 6, at 10 a.m. ET.

 

  • National Association of School Psychologists – Supporting Vulnerable Students in Stressful Times: Tips for Parents: The current climate of divisiveness, anger and fear in this country is having a significant impact on many children and adults. Feelings of uncertainty are particularly heightened for communities and families struggling to understand and cope with hate-based violence, discriminatory or threatening actions or speech, and shifting policies that are causing new uncertainties for specific populations. This marks an important time for families and schools to work together to foster supportive relationships, to help children understand their emotional reactions, and to teach effective coping and conflict resolution strategies. The tips and related resources in this document are intended to help you support your children.

 

  • National Association of School Psychologists – Understanding Race and Privilege: Across the nation, children of all backgrounds are experiencing a time in which discussions about race, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, and culture are at the forefront of their everyday lives. Many people avoid these discussions because they fear that conversations about race, bias, and racism lead to feelings of anger, guilt, discomfort, sadness, and at times disrespect. The current state of our Union, however, no longer allows for these tough conversations to be ignored. While uncomfortable for some, school psychologists are in a position to lead or at least participate in these conversations. By using their knowledge and expertise of systems-level change, school psychologists can facilitate the dialogue to bring about positive, productive outcomes

 

  • Racial Equity Tools is designed to support individuals and groups working to achieve racial equity. This site offers tools, research, tips, curricula and ideas for people who want to increase their own understanding and to help those working toward justice at every level – in systems, organizations, communities and the culture at large.

 

  • Girl Scouts – Help Your Kids Take Action Against Racism: Whenever we see injustice, we all have a responsibility to confront it. Every day, no matter our background or our age, every single one of us has a role to play in taking on an unfair system while working to build a new one that truly works for all. Guiding our girls in learning to recognize and challenge structures and practices that fuel inequality and cause harm helps them play an active role in creating the positive change our society needs.

 

  • Glazer Children’s Museum – Social Justice: We have created a page on our website filled with free resources for families about racism, trauma, violence, and the historic context of activism. This is just our small piece of the puzzle. To the black and brown families in our community – we are here for you. We will help you help your children through this.

 

  • Edutopia – Teaching Young Children About Bias, Diversity, and Social Justice: As a society and within our educational institutions, discussions about bias, diversity, discrimination, and social justice tend to happen in middle and high schools. We’ve somehow decided that little kids can’t understand these complex topics, or we want to delay exposing them to injustices as long as possible (even though not all children have the luxury of being shielded from injustice). However, young children have a keen awareness of and passion for fairness. They demand right over wrong, just over unjust. And they notice differences without apology or discomfort.

 

  • USA Today – George Floyd. Ahmaud Arbery. Breonna Taylor. What do we tell our children?: Should we tell the children? How? Those are among the many questions parents are asking after the deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor. Many white parents wonder whether to talk with their kids at all, while parents of color swallow their grief and fear to have “the talk” once again.

 

  • Mentor.org – Supporting Young People in the Wake of Violence and Trauma: Episodes of violence and trauma in young people’s communities, especially those that arise from a place of systemic inequality, prejudice and racism, impact young people’s lives in a variety of ways. Mentors are uniquely positioned to help young people process these experiences by providing a space to express their emotions, ask for help, and channel uncertain feelings into positive, constructive action. However, mentors may need strategies for supporting these discussions and actions as well as support for being allies to young people trying to make sense of their feelings. For example, in the aftermath of tragic incidents of racial profiling and violence resulting from police actions, young people may feel unsafe, angry, frustrated, sad, and powerless. This guide was developed to help mentors build relationships with young people that affirm their experiences and cultivate a sense of safety after incidents of violence or traumatic events occur.

 

  • Child Mind Institute – A Clinical Perspective on Talking to Kids About Racism: As the nation mourns the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and other black Americans, discussions of racism and violence dominate the national conversation as well as the conversations we’re having at home. Talking to kids about racism and racialized violence is hard, but it’s also necessary — today and as kids grow up. Below, advice for parents on this topic from two of the Child Mind Institute’s expert clinicians.

 

  • Child Mind Institute – Racism and Violence: How to Help Kids Handle the News: With protests over the violent deaths of black Americans dominating the news, it’s understandable that many kids are feeling scared, confused or angry about the situation. How can parents, many of whom are struggling themselves, help children process what they’re seeing and manage their feelings? There’s no one right answer. That said, there are a few guidelines parents can keep in mind to help kids deal with troubling news about race and violence.

 

  • Nia House Learning Center – 40+ Children’s Books about Human Rights & Social Justice: Young people have an innate sense of right and wrong, fair and unfair. Explaining the basics of human rights in age appropriate ways with stories and examples can set the foundation for a lifelong commitment to social responsibility and global citizenship. As a parent to a preschooler and a professor of peace and human rights education, here are my top picks for children’s books that discuss important issues—and that are visually beautiful. Some of the books listed offer an overview of rights; the majority show individuals and organizations past and present who have struggled to overcome injustices. All offer different levels of child-friendly images, concepts and text.

 

  • Embrace Race: As US racial divisions and inequities grow sharper and more painful, the work of envisioning and creating systems of authentic racial inclusion and belonging in the United States remains work in progress. We believe that reversing the trend must begin in our homes, schools, and communities with our children’s hearts and minds.

 

  • Greater Good Magazine – Anti-Racist Resources from Greater Good: Our mission at the Greater Good Science Center is to elevate the human potential for compassion. But that does not mean we deny or dismiss the human potential for violence, particularly toward marginalized or dehumanized groups.

 

  • Community Tampa Bay – Virtual Programs Let’s Talk About Race: We at Community Tampa Bay asked ourselves what can we contribute during this difficult time? Perhaps we could engage folks in examining the impact, causes, and consequences of prejudice and discriminatory systems as it relates to individual and community health? Perhaps we could promote reflection on the intersections of our own and each others’ social identities as we navigate this experience? Or perhaps we could do all of the above while prioritizing what we do best – having fun, sharing laughter and building community! Join us for our various virtual programs.

 

  • Undoing Racism The People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond: The People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond (PISAB) focuses on understanding what racism is, where it comes from, how it functions, why it persists and how it can be undone. Our workshops utilize a systemic approach that emphasizes learning from history, developing leadership, maintaining accountability to communities, creating networks, undoing internalized racial oppression and understanding the role of organizational gate keeping as a mechanism for perpetuating racism.

 

  • Academics for Black Survival and Wellness: Academics for Black Survival and Wellness was organized by a group of Black counseling psychologists and their colleagues who practice Black allyship. Guided by a Black feminist frame, we hope to foster accountability and growth for non-Black people and enhance healing and wellness for Black people.

 

  • GirlTrek – Black History Bootcamp: Over the next month, we will walk through Black history together celebrating our powerful foremothers each day. They blazed a trail for us.

 

  • Justice in June: Over the course of the month, you will have spent 5 hours intentionally learning how to be an active ally of the black community. (That’s less than the amount of time it takes to watch all of Tiger King ~ 5.5 hours.) Remember, the black community lives the reality of the information you will learn- they have a lifetime of fearing for their well being versus 5 hours of you being uncomfortable. All the action items listed in the calendar have linked information below the weekly schedule (see sections Watch, Read, Listen, and Act).

 

 

  • Showing Up for Racial Justice: Political education is the collective process of study, research, analysis, and storytelling that helps us understand our situation and what we’re up against and what we can do about it. The purpose of political education is to build a shared language about our situation, a shared framework for understanding our situation, and a shared understanding of our history so we can better understand how we got here and what we can learn from those who went before us. We engage in political education to sharpen our skills in taking action for movement building for solidarity and social justice.

 

  • The Conscious Kid: The Conscious Kid is an education, research and policy organization dedicated to reducing bias and promoting positive identity development in youth. We partner with organizations, children’s museums, schools, and families across the country to promote access to children’s books centering underrepresented and oppressed groups.

 

  • 15 Kid-Friendly Movies to Help Build a Conversation About Race and Racism: Although it can be a difficult, talking to your children about race, racism, and prejudice early (and often) is essential, particularly for parents of non Black children. The fact is children start to learn racial bias — the attitudes and stereotypes towards racial groups — at an early age. According the American Academy of Pediatrics, a 6-month-old’s brain can notice race-based differences; a 2- to 4-year-old can internalize racial biases. The best way to combat these thoughts is to talk to your kids about race and racism. Of course, that isn’t easy and utilizing tools that speak on their level can help, including kid-friendly movies about race and racism. Some of the best films about blackness are a little too violent and explicit for younger viewers. But that doesn’t mean your child is too young to watch any movies that revolve around race. If you want to start a dialogue about racial prejudice and don’t know where to start, then these 15 family-friendly movies about race may just help you out.

 

 

Books

  • Adult Books
    • How To Be An Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi
    • White Fragility by Robin Di Angelo
    • Me and White Supremacy by Layla F Saad 
    • Race Talk and the Conspiracy of Silence by Derald Wing Sue 
    • The Inner Work of Racial Justice by Rhonda V Magee 
    • Stamped from the Beginning by Ibram X Kendi 
    • Radical Dharma by Jasmine SyedullahLama Rod Owens, Angel Kyodo Williams 
  • Young Adult Books
    • You Should See Me in a Crown by Leah Johnson
    • Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You by Ibram X. Kendi and Jason Reynolds
  • Children’s Books
    • We’re Different, We’re the Same and We’re Wonderful by Bobbi Kates
    • AntiRacist Baby by Ibram X. Kendi
    • A is for Activist by Innosanto Nagara
    • Social Justice Books for Kids
  • Master List of Black Revolutionary Readings
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