White parents often avoid talking openly about race with white children because of the unfounded fear that it will call attention to differences that kids wouldn’t otherwise notice. Some insist their kids are just too young for such conversations, writes Kelsey Borresen in Huffington Post.
Yet research indicates that even infants can recognize differences in skin color. By preschool age, children develop racial biases — which aren’t always consistent with the beliefs of the adults in their lives, the article continues.
As a parent, talking about race doesn’t reinforce prejudice in your children, but staying silent about it does.
“Starting at a very young age, children see patterns,” Erin Winkler — associate professor of African and African diaspora studies at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee — wrote in a story for BuzzFeed. “Who seems to live where; what kinds of homes they see as they ride or walk through different neighborhoods; who is the most desirable character in the movies they watch; who seems to have particular jobs or roles at the doctor’s office, at school, at the grocery store; and so on — and try to assign ‘rules’ to explain what they see.”