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Talking To Your Children About the News

  • Racial Ethnic Socialization

    Racial Ethnic Socialization (RES) is a process through which children learn about race and ethnicity. They learn how to communicate with others about race and ethnicity as well as skills to help them successfully deal with all of the topics that may arise around race and ethnicity. #RES

    These messages include:

    Things said and unsaid

    Things done and not done

    Emotional reactions

     

    Stay Ahead of the Game

    Children are taught to notice differences between shapes and colors from a young age. Consequently, they also start noticing differences in the people around them. You are critical in guiding how they handle these differences.

     

    Who participates in RES?

    RES messages come from everyone and everywhere.

    • Home: Parents, siblings and other family members are the first influence in RES through their conversations, musical preferences, the food they eat and even the art they use to decorate their homes.
    • School: Teachers, administrators and peers participate in RES in what they teach and how they treat students.
    • Neighborhood: The mix of people that live in your neighborhood, the types of celebrations that are held and the resources available in the neighborhood play a big part in RES.
    • Friends: The way friends dress, the languages they speak and the holidays they celebrate open children’s eyes to racial and ethnic differences.
    • Media: Through TV shows, movies, music and the news, media is everywhere. It shapes understanding of race and ethnicity in its representations of the different groups in society.
    • Society: The way systems, such as education and the justice system, treat the different groups in society plays a major role in RES.

    Why You Shouldn’t Avoid the Conversation

    Whether you like it or not, RES is taking place, often in very subtle ways that significantly impact how your children feel and think about themselves and other races and ethnicities. It is a critical topic that is too often ignored or over-simplified.
    When you avoid conversations about race and ethnicity:
    • Children are more likely to incorrectly judge other groups.
    • Children have little to no connection to their heritage.
    • Children are more vulnerable to developing a negative self-concept.
    • Children may not know how to respond to racially-charged experiences.
    When you address conversations about race and ethnicity:
    • Children are more respectful of other groups.
    • Children will have a better understanding and appreciation for their own race, ethnicity and overall identity.
    • Self-esteem is higher.
    • Children can recognize and respond more appropriately to racially-charged situations.

     

    ADDITIONAL RESOURCES:

    PBS FOR PARENTS: Talking To Your Children About Race

    BEYOND THE GOLDEN RULE: Parent Guide to Preventing and Responding to Prejudice