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How to raise race-conscious children?

parents reading a book to their baby

Key points:

  1. Expose children to diverse viewpoints, people, and stories to foster empathy and open-mindedness.
  2. Addressing race is crucial for children’s development; avoiding the topic can be damaging.
  3. Educate yourself about race and racial justice to guide your children effectively.
  4. Utilize resources like books, videos, and articles to educate both yourself and your children about race and racism.

Resources for addressing race and racism at home.

What our children believe and how they see the world is shaped by the environment in which they are raised. Children as young as three years old can develop racial biases and preferences just like adults, and draw much of what they believe from the shows they watch, the books they read, and the people around them. Exposing your children to diverse viewpoints, people, and stories early on can help them develop key emotional skills, such as empathy and open-mindedness, and build a strong foundation from which to keep learning. 

For some parents, talking and thinking about race can be daunting. But not addressing race can be damaging. “The worst conversation adults can have with kids about race is no conversation at all,” says author Jemar Tisby. Children need to learn how to grapple with difficult feelings and question their beliefs before they go to preschool or daycare and interact with people who may or may not look like them. But they need more than books and dolls and television shows. As they age, they’ll look to the adults in their lives for answers. So truly, if we want to address race, we have to start by educating ourselves and modeling the way.


We’ve compiled a list of resources from experts surrounding race and racial justice.


Educating ourselves:

  • Implicit bias in early childhood
  • Racial disparities and preschool
  • Learning racism
  • On self-care and grief

Educating our children:

  • How to help reverse negative prejudice in children
  • A letter to my son from Ta-Nehisi Coates
  • Talking about race with kids
  • Talking to children about racial bias

Books to Read to Your Children:

0-3 years old:

  • Antiracist baby by Ibram X. Kendi (board book available June 16)
  • Ruby Bridges Goes to School
  • The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats

3-5 years old:

  • Something Happening in Our Town by Marianne Celano, Marietta Collins, Ann Hazzard, Jennifer Zivoin
  • Hair Love by Matthew Cherry
  • We’re Different, We’re the Same (Sesame Street)
  • The Day You Begin by Jacqueline Woodson
  • Saturday by Oge Mora


  • 360 Special Kids on Race
  • How to Talk to Kids About Race
  • Talking to Children About Racism
  • What I am learning from my white grandchildren (Ted Talk)
  • This American Life

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