Detroit Today

How To Talk To Kids About Race

Monday February 16, 2015

Photo courtesy: Flick Creative Commons

How do you talk to your kids about race, especially as a parent in a historically divided Metro Detroit? A recent article in Metro Parent(free subscription required) tackles the topic. Executive Editor of Metro Parent Julia Elliott, and Novi therapist Tara Michener join Stephen and Laura for a panel discussion about talking to your kids about race.

Elliott says that it is very important to set a foundation and not avoid the topic of race, particularly when your child bring it up.

“When your kid asks you questions, especially when they’re younger, you can’t get all upset and nervous,” says Elliott. "You have to sort of, just like, go with it and not make them afraid to ask a question."

Michener says parents need to make sure these conversations don't just take place when something happens. She also believes that it is important to realize that there is a lot more to people than just their race, they come from a certain heritage and culture, and approaching the conversation from this angle can help make sure that everyone can engage.

Michener thinks that better representation of a variety of races in media can help children when dealing with people that do not look just like them.

“We need to make sure that our kids have a variety of experiences so they’re not so shocked when they see someone that is different from them,” says Michener.

Elliott agrees with Michener on this, and had an experience as a child where her aunt helped her break out of her own bubble.

“I had an aunt when I was a little kid that got me a black baby doll. And my grandfather didn’t like it, I am going to be honest with you my one grandfather did not like it at all.” Elliott continues, “But it was really such a beautiful thing to do. I went to the store with here and I wanted that baby doll, that’s the one I wanted, and she didn’t stop me. She didn’t say oh no, that’s not the right baby doll for you."