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Anti-Racist Parenting: Resources and Frameworks

By YWCA Minneapolis
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August, 11, 2021

Eliminating racism and empowering women is the bold mission driving the work of YWCA Minneapolis. For this blog post, YWCA staff from our Early Childhood Education, Girls & Youth, and Racial Justice teams came together to share perspectives on raising anti-racist children. We have gathered some of our favorite resources that will support you and your family wherever you are on your anti-racism journey. YWCA Minneapolis believes that knowledge and awareness motivate people to develop skills that enable them to take action. 

Start with Yourself

To raise socially conscious children, you must start with yourself and examine your own beliefs and biases. Ask yourself: Who am I racially? How do I know? What does it mean? What did my school, family, neighborhood and life experiences teach me about race? What do I want my children to know? 

Raise Children to See Color

We have to raise our children to see color; it is important that they understand that due to skin color, we are afforded different opportunities and often times our skin color impacts how we are able to move around in our society. Race is a fiction that is real. This video is a great place to start for a clear explanation of systemic racism.

Celebrate Cultural Diversity

Celebrate cultural diversity and ensure your child (regardless of racial/cultural identity) has experiences with people from different racial/cultural backgrounds than their own.

Address questions and happenings when they come up, but also make it a habit to initiate regular age-appropriate conversations with your child about race. Hard conversations get easier each time you have them. Read books that foster racial equality. Give your young person a chance to express their thoughts and help them walk through how they arrived at those thoughts.

Talk to White Children Early

A special note for parents of white children: Our friends and colleagues raising children of color talk to their very young children about race as a matter of safety. We need to talk to white children early and often about their culture and identity and the true history of the United States of America. Eliminating racism means that people of all backgrounds must raise conscious, empathetic and outspoken kids.

Anti-Bias Activities

YWCA Minneapolis recently released an anti-bias, play-based curriculum published through Red Leaf Press. The curriculum uses an anti-bias lens that focuses and builds children’s awareness (from self to friend to neighborhood and community). It can be used at home to help all caregivers of young children create learning environments that foster equity and diversity. There are several self-reflective exercises that can be used with adults and children of all ages on a recurring basis to deepen and strengthen each person’s individual practice.

Below are a couple of activities from this curriculum you can practice:

Early Memories Activity

Examine early memories that relate to a specific topic (race, culture, skin color, gender, etc.). What is your first memory of your awareness and how did it change over time?

I Am From Poems

Create an “I Am From” poem about your background, home, family, life and traditions. There are many examples of these poems online that can help you get started. We focus on one of the topic examples above stemming from early memories and relate sensory experiences of the past. Turning this reflective process into a poem can add an artistic measure — one that could be put on your wall, which can keep the conversations flowing to help unpack race-related issues.

Resources

There are many resources for continued learning and engaging. Below is a list of some of our favorites.

Books:

Learn More about Our Child Care and Youth Programs

Learn More about Our Racial Justice Programs