As a woman of colour raising a child of either black or mixed heritage, the pressure to safely navigate the complex sea of conversations about race is real. Studies consistently show that by age three, children of all skin tones have developed a predominantly pro-white racial bias, so in a world where racial inequity is unavoidable, we can become fearful of how best to preserve their open hearts and souls. Yet even with the best intentions, we can get it wrong.
When figuring out how to tackle the concept of race with children, we’re challenged with the unenviable task of both preparing and protecting them from the harmful myths of racism, whilst supercharging their spirits to liberate their minds from racial tropes. Some of us feel pressured to have “The Talk” as soon as possible whilst others are determined to avoid it, though as Guilaine Kinouani points out in her book Living While Black, not discussing racism can seriously disadvantage black children: “It affects their preparation for managing racist encounters and deprives them of support.”