Raising Anti-Racist White Children
An online, live interactive workshop for parents, educators and community members. We offer information and guidance on how to prepare white children in our increasingly multiracial society. The workshop encourages the development of an anti-racist outlook in all children, and focuses on the particular experience of raising white children.
Preparing Children for the Multiracial Future
Research shows that children begin to absorb lessons about race and racism from the culture around them, beginning in their infancy. Avoiding discussion of racial matters does not produce anti-racist children; on the contrary, it leads to children who are ill-equipped to address racism and who will perpetuate systemic oppression. Our workshop supports adults to do their own work of learning about race and racism, and to teach anti-racism to children.
The workshop will provide you with information, tools, analysis, strategies, language, and resources. We will explain the importance of a positive anti-racist racial identity in white children (as well as in all children) while engaging you in small and large group discussions and guided study.
This workshop does not teach adults what to say to children about race and racism. We’ll share resources on that topic, but it is not our focus.
The workshop does not address the concerns of any specific age group of children. Strategies, tools and principles we offer are generally applicable to children of any age.
The workshop focuses on the work of raising white anti-racists because the vast majority of white families and educators do not teach children about race and racism, while children of color generally are educated, as it is a necessity for survival. However, much of the work of teaching anti-racism applies to children of all races. Participants of all races will find this workshop informative and compelling.
This workshop takes place using the Zoom online conferencing software. During the workshop we will:
- Review evidence that children in our society acquire unconscious racism beginning in toddlerhood
- Discuss the dangers of not talking with children about racism
- Inspire, empower and equip you to model and teach anti-racism
- Present strategies proven to be more effective than the current culture of colorblindness
- Explore challenges to raising anti-racist children
Provide curated resources to support educating children
- Help you raise white children who have an aware and healthy racial identify and the potential to join the next generation of anti-racist healers and organizers
Sessions Open for Registration
Who Should Attend
The workshop is open to anyone who is interested in teaching white children about race and will be very helpful in particular to:
- Service professionals who work with children (counselors, case workers, advocates, etc.)
- Faith community members such as Sunday School teachers and clergy
- Sociologists, psychologists and others with an interest in child development
- Community members with a concern for raising the next generation of anti-racists
- What and when children learn about racism
- How and when to talk with children about race and racism
- Importance of teaching and nurturing empathy
- Media literacy for children
- Auditing juvenile books for racist and/or anti-racist content
- Helping white children develop a positive anti-racist white identity
- Dealing with microaggressions
Did you know?
Among families with kindergarteners, white parents are 3 times less likely to discuss race than parents of color.
75% of white parents never, or almost never talk about race.
“Katz and Kofkin (1997) found that infants are able to nonverbally categorize people by race and gender at six months of age…. and numerous studies show that three- to five-year-olds not only categorize people by race, but express bias based on race.” – from “Children Are Not Colorblind: How Young Children Learn Race” by Erin N. Winkler, Ph.D.
Black boys make up 18 percent of the male preschool enrollment, but 41 percent of male preschool suspensions, and Black girls make up 19 percent of female preschool enrollment, but account for an astounding 53 percent of female suspensions. (Washington Post: New federal data shows Black preschoolers still disciplined at far higher rates than Whites)
First graders placed in cross-racial study groups changed their play habits in a positive way, while third graders placed in similar cross-racial study groups did not.
Excessive adversity, such as racism, can activate biological reactions that lead to lifelong problems in physical and mental well-being, experts say. Children, at a formative stage in their lives, are most acutely shaped by such stress.
Researchers speculate there is a “developmental window” when positive crossracial habits are most readily learned.
“The more diverse the junior high school or high school, the more the kids self segregate by race and ethnicity within school, and thus the likelihood that any two kids of different races have a friendship goes down.” — from Even Babies Discriminate: A Nutureshock excerpt by Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman
“The more children know about the seriousness of racial-ethnic oppression and its consequences, the more they will be equipped to contest it in their present and future lives.” – from The First R: How Children Learn Race and Racism by Debra Van Ausdale & Joe R. Feagin
Over 3 in 10 white millennials believe blacks to be lazier or less hardworking than whites, and a similar number say lack of motivation is a reason why they are less financially well off as a group. Just under a quarter believes blacks are less intelligent…” – from “Millennials are just about as racist as their parents” by Scott Clement
“41 percent of white millennials believe that government pays too much attention to minorities [sic], and 48 percent believe that discrimination against whites is as big a problem as discrimination against people of color.” Robin DiAngelo, White Fragility
Margaret Hagerman, author of White Kids, found that over the years, children’s views on race and racism become more confident and more polarized: those she studied who previously believed racism was not a problem are even more entrenched 4 years later, while those who thought racism was an issue are more aware and active.