Talking To Children About Racism

The Mommy Confessions®

Talking To Children About Racism

Today, my son said to our babysitter, “your skin color is dirty.” We have books about being anti-racists, racism, all different religions, disabilities, etc… Since he was a baby, I have worked really hard to teach him that all people are equal. All people are beautiful. All people are different. And, to celebrate all of our differences.

I “wanted” to pretend he never said the hateful words. I wanted to sweep it under the rug with a comment like, “he’s only 5, he doesn’t know what he’s saying”. But the truth is, he’s a little white boy. He of all people NEEDS to understand how powerful his words are. How in our family we fight hatred with love and kindness. We are the family that includes and loves, everyone (with good intentions).

I’ll be honest. When my sitter told me what he said, my first thought was, “where had I gone wrong?” This is the exact opposite of how I am trying to raise my kids. But then I realized… He’s “only” 5. He didn’t mean what he said, because he doesn’t even really know what he said. This is a teachable moment. As young as he is, my son needed to hear the hard truth about hatred and racism. As hard as it was to accept, having this conversation with him was important.

I took my son to his room, sat him down on his bed, and we talked. As uncomfortable as it was, we NEEDED to talk this all the way through. I didn’t yell at him or punish him, because he didn’t know why what he had said was so damaging, or why. I explained how we never make fun of someone else for who they are, how they are born, or something that they can’t change.

My son has a birthmark on his chest. It’s a brown patch, about the size of a quarter. I pointed it out, and said, “are you dirty? Your birthmark is dark brown. Your freckles are brown. Does that make you dirty?” (I think this was the example/analogy that finally got through to him.)

As a white person, (especially one who spends so much time speaking out about hateful comments, stigmas, racism, etc…), it is SO important that we lean into these uncomfortable moments and use them to teach our children about love and acceptance. They don’t know the power of their words. He had no idea what he was saying. But, now he does.

I don’t know if I handled this “right”, or the best I could. I don’t know how else to make it up to the BIPOC community. All I can say is, I am open to suggestions, and I am trying to do my part to make the changes that need to be made, starting at home.

With All The Love & Acceptance,
✨@AlexandraFisherrr ✨

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Alexandra Fisher