Talking with Kids about Racial Injustice

Thanks to Twin Cities-based author, poet, puppeteer, and playwright, Ty Chapman, for his fantastic book, Sarah Rising (Beaming), and the Author’s Notes (read them in full, here), reprinted by Beaming, for sharing this Great Idea.

White people: if you haven’t already begun, let Juneteenth be your reason to begin, continue, or persist in regular talks about racial injustice with the young people in your life. Be mindful that the color of your skin allows you the privilege of these talks being a choice. Our neighbors of color must have these talks with children on a very regular basis as a matter of survival. The more white people talk, explore, understand, grow, and engage, the less of a burden we place on our BIPOC neighbors – and the more justice we build for all people.

Ty Chapman shares a poignant story of his own upbringing and experience with personal and communal racial injustice in the Author’s Notes from Sarah Rising. At the conclusion of which he includes a list of How You Can Help, which reads (verbatim):

  • Speak up for classmates who are being bullied (for their race, their gender, or any reason).
  • Have difficult conversations at home about race.
  • Read books by BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and people of color) writers and books about their experiences.
  • Ask your teachers difficult questions about race and history.
  • Encourage friends and family to treat BIPOC individuals with kindness and respect.
  • Make friends with people who are different from you.
  • Make posters about racial equality.
  • And above all else, be ready to learn! Keep an open mind about race issues and the hardships that other people experience.

Be sure to read the entire Author’s Notes (here) for encouragement to also, ‘Continue the Conversation’.

We’ve got resources for a lot of these, so if you’re not sure where to begin or how to proceed, please find – in order of relevance:

We are here to explore ideas for learning and engagement – and have plenty of our own work to do. The more we learn and grow together the better off our neighbors – and the world – will be!