All the while children are young enough to still enjoy cuddles and storybooks yet growing to see the world through fun games like I Spy With My Little Eye, they also are becoming increasingly attuned to social category labels and status, and they have the potential to show bias toward race and gender.
As mentioned in “When Kids Flicks Flaunt Bias, Movie Magic Turns Tragic,” young children are exposed to different and sometimes stereotypical depictions of race and ethnicity in media such as movies, books, apps, TV and streaming programs. According to Dr. Adiaha I.A. Spinks-Franklin, an associate professor at Baylor College of Medicine, a 4-year-old is able to recognize basic racial stereotypes.
There is no one-size-fits-all answer to the questions of if or when you should speak with your children about race.
If you choose to do so, the following links offer expert advice and thought-starters to help you have engaging conversations with your young child about race and bias:
- Healthy Children.org: Talking to Children About Racial Bias
- Parents.com: How to Talk to Your Kids About Racism and Intolerance
- Parent Toolkit, NBC News: How to Talk to Kids about Race and Racism
- Harvard University School of Public Health live-streamed forum: “Confronting a Growing Public Crisis”