Talking to Children About Race

It’s normal and natural for children to observe and point out differences. It’s our responsibility to help them celebrate these differences and understand how they may affect our lives.
-Alanna Ekua Nzoma, M.D., University of Michigan Health

Aditi Wardhan Singh is an avid writer and has written several books for children and adults.  She is known for writing the Sparkling Me series of books for children and Raising the Global Mindset and Strong Roots Have No Fear for parents and teachers.  Aditi Wardhan Singh is passionate about multicultural education and promoting mindfulness, empathy, and community.  In today's guest post, Aditi Wardhan Singh writes about strategies parents and teachers can use when talking to children about race.  She also gives us a quick peek at her children's book How Our Skin Sparkles.  Enjoy!

Author Aditi Wardhan Singh provides strategies parents and teachers can use while talking about race with children. Guest post. Mindfulness. Empathy.

Disclosure: Affiliate links to Amazon are included in this post.
The following is a guest post written by Aditi Wardhan Singh. To learn more about guest posts, please visit the Authors, Publishers, and Sponsors page.

Guest Post by Aditi Wardhan Singh

Race is defined on Google as a person's physical characteristics, such as bone structure and skin, hair, or eye color. An example of race is brown, white, or black skin (all from various parts of the world). How do you explain race to children though? Is race something children even need to be thinking about?

One afternoon, my son came home and told me,” My friends and I put our hands together and they said I was different. ” I told this incident to many of my mom friends and ALL of them surprisingly had heard their children and their friends doing the same. I asked them what they had told their kids and many just laughed it off or said, “It’s just something kids do.”

Children's hands

This is why I finally wrote my book How Our Skin Sparkles as an important introduction to the world where many feel all Indians are of a similar skin tone. In fact, after the release of my book, some desi* moms commented that the kids on the cover are not dark enough to their liking. *desi: a person of Indian, Pakistani, or Bangladeshi birth or descent who lives abroad

Around the world, we have adults who hold within them many insecurities. These get embedded into them at an incredibly young age, through small or big acts by those around them. We often neglect or brush under the carpet these simple questions because we fail to see the far-reaching consequences of their impact.

How Our Skin Sparkles by Aditi Wardhan Singh

How do conversations about race help children to understand their own identity? They:
  • create confidence within to stand up for themselves
  • build empathy
  • raise awareness of the ways we may be different and yet the same
  • foster cultural pride and bringing home how our heritage defines us
  • understand why they need to stand up to colorism and racism when they see it

7 Steps to Gifting Confident Cultural Identity by Aditi Wardhan Singh

The conversation with our children about race and privilege must be one that is ongoing. The conversation can start as early as four but there is no beginning or end date to this. I have spoken in depth about the need of parents, brown and others, to speak up and teach kids about race. 

The following ways are most effective:
  • Read historical events and understand them with your child.
  • Acknowledge all people around you.
  • Recognize and address bias.
  • Amplify voices who are talking about raising cultural awareness and mindfulness.
  • Celebrate different cultures.
  • Choose content consciously. Make the effort to diversify your books and movies.
  • Speak UP! Do the right thing when needed.
  • Talk in positive terms about all the above.
  • Remember to keep conversations age-appropriate.
  • Discuss the science behind skin color. My book How Our Skin Sparkles, helps do that for kids aged 4-9 years.

Children reading How Our Skin Sparkles

Remember, identity is not defined by our race, but it is certainly a part of us and the first impression we make on people. The first instant someone sees us is the moment we are boxed into a category.

Help your children discover themselves beyond their skin color. How they look is where they came from but eventually, it is their actions that shape who they become.

About How Our Skin Sparkles

Author Summary: Do you want your child to be confident in their skin? Read this story of Aarav who comes home one day wondering why he looks different. Aarav is growing up on the borders of multiple cultures. See how science and culture help him to see himself and those around him in a new light. Diversify your library with a multi-award-winning children's book about body positivity and inclusion. This story takes a peek at Indian culture and talks about how kids can really see everyone as they are inside. A must-have for any child who wants to learn about how they truly sparkle!

How Our Skin Sparkles by Aditi Wardhan Singh

🍎 TitleHow Our Skin Sparkles
🍎 Author: Aditi Wardhan Singh
🍎 Illustrator: Illustrations Hub
🍎 Publisher: Raising World Children LLC
🍎 Date: February 26, 2020
🍎 Pages: 35

Aditi Wardhan Singh, author

Aditi Wardhan Singh is a multi-award-winning author of books that encourage mindfulness and social, emotional learning within children (Sparkling Me Series). She has also written books for parents (Strong Roots Have No Fear, Raising the Global Mindset). As a child raised on the borders of India and Kuwait, and a mom now raising kids in the USA, she is passionate about raising mindfulness around cultural sensitivity and self-empowerment. She founded the Raising World Children collaborative platform in 2017 and now uses her extensive experience as an editor of books, and providing authors the know-how to get their books published and in front of readers. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, long walks with her two kids, and choreographing dance recitals.

Raising World Children Logo

Did you enjoy reading about the importance of talking to children about race? If so, check out these blog posts about related topics:

No comments:

Post a Comment