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How to Talk With Kids About Racism

Rosemarie Allen, Ed.D., is an associate professor of Early Childhood Education. She began teaching at MSU Denver in 2004.  Her research interests are related to addressing the disproportionate number of children of color expelled and suspended from early childhood programs and how culturally responsive teaching can more effectively address the problem.

The police killing of George Floyd thrust the realities of racism into homes across America. Early childhood education expert Rosemarie Allen provides guidance for starting the conversation about race with kids of all ages.

Start young

Rosemarie Allen, Ed.D.: It’s important to start talking about race early. Children categorize differences from as young as 2 years old, and it’s OK to discuss and celebrate those differences. If we don’t guide these categorizations with our children, they will fill the void with their own conclusions. Preschool-age children should be encouraged to discuss differences in a casual and neutral way.

Studies show that when parents talk about race with their kids, the children don’t internalize race but develop a strong racial identity. For that reason, black children have a more positive race-relations outlook than white children.

Read the full conversation here…

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