January 20, 2020
Written by Meghan Parsche, volunteer blogger for United Way of Greater Milwaukee & Waukesha County
This week we celebrate the legacy of influential civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther, King, Jr. The holiday presents an excellent opportunity to have a discussion with the kids in your life about race, yet many adults have no idea where to begin.
Kids learn at a very young age that society treats race as a taboo subject. It’s just one of the many reasons that it’s important to have open discussion with kids about race, says Deanna Singh, founder and chief change agent of Flying Elephant, who will be sharing her thoughts on the subject at a free, virtual presentation on Jan. 28.
“People often feel ill-equipped and are afraid they won’t know the answers to kids’ questions,” says Deanna. “I want them to know that it’s okay not to have all of the answers.”
In her presentation, Deanna will share tips to help people start the conversation.
Research indicates that children make race-based decisions as early in their lives as infancy. Deanna therefore recommends that parents of young children start by examining their collection of children’s books. Do they reflect the diversity of our world? Do they present a different worldview?
For school-aged children, Deanna says that starting a discussion about race is as simple as asking kids what they already know.
“You’re creating a space for kids to unpack everything they have heard or seen, as well as a safe place to ask questions,” says Deanna. “Otherwise, they may develop opinions based on things they have heard from ill-informed sources; sources that may not be in line with your family’s values.”
Deanna points out that people often assume that discussions about race will have a negative tone. Instead, she recommends making them fun. Many fun family activities are rich with opportunities to discuss race and diversity, whether it’s cooking a new type of food together, taking part in a holiday celebration or attending an ethnic festival.
Deanna will share many more helpful tips in her free virtual session in partnership with United Way, How to Talk to Children About Race on Thursday, January 28 at 10:00 a.m. Don’t miss this important, timely topic. Register today!
Meghan Marsden Parsche is a proud United Way supporter, stay at home mom to her four young children, and volunteer writer for United Way. Meghan enjoys telling the stories of the programs and people making a positive impact on our community.