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From Civil Rights to Black Liberation: They're Not Too Young to Young to Talk About Race (or Gender)!
"As the civil rights struggle widened into a national liberation struggle, many activists began looking for political strategies that went beyond the integrationism of mainstream civil rights groups." Liberation School
Do you want to talk to your young child about issues of social justice, but don’t know how? You’re not alone—most adults find topics like race, gender, and class difficult to talk about with children. But if we don’t find ways to talk about it, children will learn whatever they can glean from unspoken messages, and that doesn’t often work out very well. The staff at CCS is always available to help you find strategies. Also, you may find some of the resources below useful.
Even babies notice differences like skin color, eye shape and hair texture. Here's how to handle conversations about race, racism, diversity and inclusion, even with very young children.
A few things to remember:
Don't shush or shut them down if they mention race.
Don't wait for kids to bring it up.
Be proactive, helping them build a positive awareness of diversity.
When a child experiences prejudice, grown-ups need to both address the feelings and fight the prejudices.
You don't have to avoid topics like slavery or the Holocaust. Instead, give the facts and focus on resistance and allies.
In addition to Jeanette Betancourt, senior vice president for Social Impact at Sesame Workshop, we spoke to Beverly Daniel Tatum: We recommend her TEDx talk as well as her book, Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?: And Other Conversations About Race.
Babies begin to notice race at 6 months old — in fact, according to this pair of studies by Professor Kang Lee at the University of Toronto, they actually show signs of racial bias by this age.
One in 10 children is multiracial — according to Pew Research Center. This includes children with parents of two different races, plus those with at least one multiracial parent.
Watch the whole "I Love My Hair!" video from Sesame Street.
Thanks to Rodolfo Mendoza-Denton. Derrick Gay, and Jinnie Spiegel of the Anti-Defamation League, which has a wide range of resources for anti-bias education.
Fourth Stanza (click on the link to read more)
I will lift up their heads in proud blackness
With the story of their fathers and their fathers
Fathers. And I shall take them into a way back time
of Kings and Queens who ruled the Nile,
And measured the stars and discovered the
Laws of mathematics. Upon whose backs have been built
The wealth of continents. I will tell him
This and more. And his heritage shall be his weapon
And his armor; will make him strong enough to win
Any battle he may face. And since this story is
Often obscured, I must sacrifice to find it
For my children, even as I sacrificed to feed,
Clothe and shelter them. So this I will do for them
If I love them. None will do it for me.
I must find the truth of heritage for myself
And pass it on to them. In years to come I believe
Because I have armed them with the truth, my children
And my children's children will venerate me.
For it is the truth that will make us free!
Jodie Patterson: Gender is Obsolete
Jodie is a mother of five and an active LGBTQI advocate. Professionally, she is a nationally recognized entrepreneur and distinctive voice within the beauty industry, having co-founded two companies, Doobop—an online beauty marketplace catered to women of color—and Georgia by Jodie Patterson—an all-natural line of skin care. She lives in Brooklyn, New York where fellow entrepreneur Joseph Ghartey and she raises their children with love, education, and family solidarity.
If your 2-year-old daughter keeps insisting she’s a boy, your first reaction might be that she’s just trying to bond with her older brothers. But if years go by and that child is still claiming a gender she wasn’t born into, what does that mean and what do you do? Jodie Patterson and her partner, Joseph Ghartey, faced this situation. While they sought guidance to better understand what Penelope, now Penel, was experiencing, it became clearer to them that their child was transgender, which GLAAD defines as “an umbrella term for people whose gender identity and/or gender expression differs from what is typically associated with the sex they were assigned at birth.”
“The story of trans people, to me, was shaping up to be very similar to the story of Black people,” Patterson observes. “Stories in which some have tried to rewrite people’s identities to serve their own needs.” A pleasant surprise came when they explained to Penelope’s religious Ghanaian grandfather, to refer to Penelope as “he”: “Ayy! It’s no problem at all! In my language of Twi, Jodie, we don’t use gender pronouns,” he replied. Patterson’s raw tour de force illustrates the strength of a loving and determined mother." Jodie Patterson
New research from the Yale Child Study Center suggests that many preschool teachers look for disruptive behavior in much the same way: in just one place, waiting for it to appear. The problem with this strategy (besides it being inefficient), is that, because of implicit bias, teachers are spending too much time watching black boys and expecting the worst.
Children's books featuring African American boys often focus on the struggles they face at the hands of an often unjust society. While it's important for children to understand the history of America and the work that is still left to be done, that isn't the entire existence of their childhoods.
Cultivating the Genius of Black Children by Debra Ren-Etta Sullivan
In light of everything that has happened in Ferguson, I’ve been thinking a lot about how, as a white parent, I can handle the subjects of racism and inequality with my young son. These are big topics with no easy ways to address them. And to be honest, I wasn’t sure where or how to begin. Then my 3-and-a-half year old started the conversation for me.
Opinion | Black Kids Don’t Want to Read About Harriet Tubman All the Time
Books with white children and, like, ducks, were de rigueur, which I guess was fine for parents who were having white babies or ducks. But this was not going to work for my brown baby, who would spend a lifetime looking for her image in a pop cultural landscape that all but ignored children who looked like her. I wanted — needed — her to see her beautiful brown self reflected in the music and stories I hoped to feed to her as consistently as food. In my house, she would be visible.
Black, Latino Two-Parent Families Have Half The Wealth Of White Single Parents
The racial wealth gap has been measured and studied for decades. One fact has remained the same: White families build and accumulate more wealth more quickly than black and brown families do. The reasons for this are multiple and well-documented. They start at slavery and traverse the historical and deliberate exclusion of people of color from the economic institutions and government programs that helped white Americans build wealth and pass it on to successive generations. Segregation and redlining by banks made it impossible for many black and Latino families to secure mortgages, for example. The GI Bill, which helped establish an American middle class by helping veterans pay for college and buy homes after World War II, mostly excluded people of color. The results are stark.
As we think about discussing big ideas with little people, we consider age-appropriate language so that our students or children can grasp the concepts we’re introducing and incorporate these ideas and language into their own thinking and conversation.
Acknowledging a brave space is critical when teaching about identity and American values. A brave space is inclusive to all
races, sexes, genders, abilities, immigration status, and lived experiences. A brave space allows students to express themselves, challenge one another in a positive way, and learn from one another. This facilitator’s guide is useful for educators as they guide the conversation in a way that encourages respect, inclusion, compassion, and courageous intervention.
Our whole Dr. Seuss series is now on our website. In addition to the content we covered each day this week, we highlight resources for creating a more inclusive Read Across America Day for 2018, including low-cost or free ways to access diverse books for your classroom, diverse book lesson plans and activities, and where to look for diverse book recommendations.[bit.ly/drseussandrace]
Diverse Books Authors Will Help NEA, RIF Celebrate Read Across America
“It’s critical that all students see themselves represented in the popular culture,” said Eskelsen García. “During this year’s Read Across America and National Reading Month, our theme is “Celebrating a Nation of Diverse Readers,” and we are emphasizing the importance of books that are telling children of color that they belong in the world and the world belongs to them. It can be a scary place out there right now for our students, but a book can transport them to a world that is safe, a world they feel they belong in, and a world in which they believe they can make a difference.”
Forget Wealth And Neighborhood. The Racial Income Gap Persists
A new study conducted by researchers at Stanford, Harvard and the Census Bureau, finds that in 99 percent of neighborhoods in the United States, black boys earn less in adulthood than white boys who come from similar socioeconomic backgrounds. This undermines the widely-held belief that class, not race, is the most fundamental predictor of economic outcomes for children in the U.S. The study looked at racial disparities in income over generations by looking at de-identified data from 20 million U.S. children and their parents. It tracked outcomes for Hispanic, white, Asian, black and Native Americans.
"One of the most popular liberal post-racial ideas is the idea that the fundamental problem is class and not race, and clearly this study explodes that idea. But for whatever reason, we’re unwilling to stare racism in the face.”
As a Black Mother, My Parenting Is Always Political
Have you accepted the #ReadingBlackout challenge by Booktuber Denise D. Cooper? Denise challenged herself to read books by Black authors for a year. We thought it was a wonderful idea! We've decided to accept the challenge and read children’s books written by Black authors for Black History Month.
This resource guide was created in direct response to the multiple requests made by educators, parents and students. Like Marley Dias, so many of you have asked for books with black girls as the main characters. And because of you, we have received thousands of books. Here we are sharing with you the first 700 book titles. We have not yet catalogued all the books. As a small organization with only two full-time staff, our resources are limited. Beginning in April, each month we will provide you with updates of new book titles.
Teaching your kids not to “see” race is a terrible idea, studies have found
First study focused on “adultification” of black girls shows significant bias toward girls starting at age 5, younger than in previous research on black boys. A groundbreaking study released today by Georgetown Law’s Center on Poverty and Inequality finds that adults view black girls as less innocent and more adult-like than their white peers, especially in the age range of 5-14. The study, detailed in the new report, Girlhood Interrupted: The Erasure of Black Girls’ Childhood, is the first of its kind to focus on girls, and builds on previous research on adult perceptions of black boys. That includes a 2014 study led by Phillip Goff that found that, beginning at age 10, black boys are more likely to be viewed as older and guilty of suspected crimes than white peers.
Pushout by Monique W. Morris
Publication Date: 2016-03-29
Lee & Low Blog
In this timely webinar, panelists Jinnie Spiegler (Director of Curriculum at Anti Defamation League) and Katie Potter (Literacy Specialist at Lee & Low Books) discuss how to talk to young people about topics such as: bullying, bias, what’s happening in the news, allyship, and action through worthy books and corresponding activities and resources.
This webinar, which covers books for grades kindergarten through grade 8, is perfect for teachers, librarians, school administrators, and parents--anyone who works with young people.