I’m a Black woman married to a white man, and together we’re raising two multiracial kids. We’re also committed to leaving society better off than we found it, and steadfast in the desire to raise our children to do the same. Knowing how to talk to kids about race isn’t optional for us, so we’re always working towards and finding better ways of doing it.
I know not everyone is faced with the necessity of that particular conversation, at least not in the way my family is. I know that, for many families, conversations concerning race aren't considered "vital" or "important" or, sadly, even worth while. I also know that my kids will spend a lot of time with people who are not me (or my partner) over the course of their lives. I wholeheartedly believe that most people they’ll encounter will be good-hearted, well-intentioned people who want to do and say the right thing when they’re in the presence of children (or adults, for that matter). However, intentions and inevitable impacts are two different things, especially when we’re dealing with fraught subjects like race. I'm not above realizing that it's really easy for even "good" people to get things really, really wrong, and I won’t lie: it freaks me out to know that many people my children will encounter will inadvertently teach them unhelpful, inaccurate, or damaging things about race.
So, with that in mind, and recognizing that there is so much more I could say on the topic if I had unlimited time and not, you know, a toddler, here are eight things I hope folks will keep in mind if they ever find themselves talking to my kids about race: