Many parents don’t realize that kids recognize race at a very young age. In fact, research shows that at six months, they notice racial differences; preschoolers demonstrate “in-group” bias when picking playmates; and by grade school, children recognize the inequity of power in skin color.
Raising children who are aware of social justice issues requires open, honest conversations and modeling inclusive practices. Of course, there is no foolproof way of discussing the complexities of race.
That’s why, as a professor who teaches racial identity development, I always tell parents to prepare for an ongoing, and at times messy, conversation. Still, the effort to create more belonging, inclusion and compassion in the world is worth it.
Here are four things that parents who raise compassionate, inclusive and self-aware kids do when talking about race:
Children take note of physical differences differences, including in skin color, facial features, and h
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