What exactly is racism?

Finding a child-friendly approach

Article was written on 06.06.2020 by Charlotte.

People think in drawers. This is quite normal and helpful in coping with the complexity of everyday life. But time and again, pigeonhole thinking turns first into prejudices and then into racism and discrimination, for example. How can I explain to my children what racism is and how can I support them in growing up to be open-minded people?

What exactly is racism?

Children are attentive

The last days were overshadowed by the death of the African American George Floyd in Minneapolis, USA. He died after a police operation. This is not the first incident of racist police violence in the USA. Large sections of the population, not only in the USA, are shocked. Many are protesting, also here in Germany. Children are getting to know that something is happening. It is only natural that they ask questions and want to know how such acts can happen. After all, racism and the violence associated with it are not phenomena that are limited to the USA.

What can I do?

Babies and toddlers do not think in pigeonholes; only when they grow older do they become aware of social structures and stereotypes. This is unavoidable. Talk to your children about why the drawers and the prejudices associated with them are dangerous. Educate your child about why certain statements and actions are racist. Racism is also found in children's book classics. Here you can specifically point this out and also show why it is not correct. It is helpful if your child's environment offers many points of contact with different people. Perhaps through intercultural meeting places or through the sports club. The media your child uses can also help to bring about a critical examination of prejudices. Choose films and books with as many protagonists as possible.

Nobody's perfect

It is important that we listen to and learn from people with racist experiences. We must question our attitudes and be aware of our privileges. It is not a question of being prejudiced overnight, but of working on ourselves more and more.

We have collected videos, materials and books for you to use as a parent but also as an educator to sensitize children to the issue of racism.

Videos:

Materials:

Books:


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