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Talking to Kids About Race

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Automatic TRANSCRIPT

Thank you so much for joining us today Dr Palmer. Oh It's my pleasure. Yes I'm excited to have you so you are the author of a new book called. Daddy why am I brown and I know that this is a conversation you know I would say probably over the past year. We've seen lots of conversations about parents talking to their kids about race. And so I think that your book will be nice for kind of adds to their home library to really be able to have some of these conversations but I want to start with hearing. Is there such a thing as a child being too young to start talking about race? You know that that's a tricky thing with hope that you could shelter kids from oppressive nature of race and all that stuff but the reality is is that if your child is going to be out in the world you're going to go to preschool. They're going to walk with you to a store. They're going to be able to understand what's around them. Then they're going to encounter race. They're going to encounter their own race. You know there's a lot of research out there that shows that these encounters happen as early as three or four years old so acting that it's better to prepare tunes and help him get the united of what's going on prior to that. I encounter so that they could better navigated. Because the way you navigate that encounter experience with racism racism. All of that and be profoundly important away this. You're able to cope your life. We know like you're saying that like some of the research indicates at kids have some of these experiences as early as three are they typically negative experiences or is it more like kids realizing like all of our skin looks different. You know it very much depends. I don't know if there's a a more often case at this point but I think that the way that the racial identity models were built cross has a racial identity model. That's kind of the beginning of that. But before that even France non this idea of on a finding yourself as the other is what we talked about as encounter experienced. I don't think that finding yourself as other ever really feels good when you think the same as everyone else I think that that that's something. You have to contend with because that otherness At the very core of that otherness is ally right so not gonNa feel good to be told that you're something different when really our skin color and the differences that are visible. They're skinny they're not really important to who we are. You know intellectually spiritually are person. Are Senator Self our not about necessarily those external Trees and she typical when we are placed into context where racism important. It is this kind of thing that we will be treated differently. So I think that kids can kind of be ushered into this idea of simply for blackbeard's you can be ushered into blackness in a really positive way but you're still being ushered into context the whole question and there's no way to to change that without changing the oppression It's not there. Shelter your kid from that because they're gonNA be walking on the street and stuff happened so. I think that what we do as elders to children we prepare them as much as possible and give them the tools so he can navigate any of these experiences. Antionette is always struggled because I am a parent and so you know it. It does feel like a very fine balance between like helping them to just be proud of themselves as young black boys and also like one. Isa Shelter them but knowing that you really can't because they exist in the world and so how do you kind of assess like what is appropriate? Talk with them about about the realities of the world at a certain age. People like to talk about meeting people where they are and I think that that is the way to do it with children You'RE NOT GONNA you're not gonNA come to a kindergarten class and be like. Let me explain you the duality of identity in an to person hood in you know you're not gonna go into like you know critical in that way because they haven't learned the foundations to and understand it but she can't talk about. You know what happens when people say mean things to what happens when people talk about describe you what. What did you do when you describe it other people you know like when you're talking about someone in the Pre k? Age Group were kindergarten. Age will come out on a mental. Would colors me would appreciate letters mean. How do you print letters? How do you figure out the days of the week so I think that you bring it to their space and talk about some of the basic the most basic parts of it? You help them to understand you. Don't push some pass at you know you don't have to you. Don't have to come up with their opinion of what race means you don't have to have the fully indoctrinated into like the the joy of blackness. But she should have them understand that. Like for instance people will call you black. Your skin is not black. Your skin is brown and is various shades of Brown so though that's confusing for them to use the wrong color when you're being taught he's colors. Here's one of the reasons why you see what I'm saying there Yeah so really like you're talking about like really developmentally thinking about like what other kinds of things they're learning and how you can kinda couch it in in some of those same things. It doesn't have to really be about well. You know as adults. We're talking about our Russian in privileged in those things like kids. Don't have to get all of the scarier parts of it all early. Some of it is just like how do you just begin to talk about your hair in your color? And where you're from. I think that that's another piece of it. Is always like linking you talk about the race stuff but to link it to you know ethnicity in culture and help children understand that a different things and the mean different things. You should take different meaning and so you thought his. Take more of a proactive approach. As opposed to waiting for the first you know maybe negative racial experienced to happen. You don't wait for children to encounter bad things generally like you. Don't take your child out and let them play in the front yard without telling them how to deal with sidewalk in the street. The boundary of the grass and people coming by. He tells them you know. Don't talk to strangers lapasset sidewalk there. Don't run in this area. The Iraq you know you give them that early warning so that they have at least some sort of conception of being cautious hand and thinking about their surroundings so they can begin to understand again. I think that this is where show with 'cause you're right like I really enjoyed that analogy because that does help me think about it differently. I think where I struggle is like introducing like almost this paranoia that of course I experience right as apparent in like an adult in the world but like not necessarily introducing debts. Kids too young. I guess the question to ask. Is it really paranoia? So I grew up in a predominantly white and Asian area of San Diego and I was one of two black kids through black kids. Asthma time. Most of my life as a K. Through twelve kid and I encountered racism very early and some of it was not even direct. Like there wasn't necessarily someone drop an imbalance towards me. It might just be that wikileaks. Wanted to and you know there was no different except for the skin color and I didn't understand what was going on. You know I didn't always understand what was happening in those spaces in having an idea that hey you know this might be going on. They might be making the wrong kinds of judgments when they might not understand things correctly. Might help to get through some of those spaces again. It's not necessarily teaching kids the scariest parts of this. But it's about the same way you tell kids. Hey you know if your brother your sister issue that doesn't mean that you get back and here's the reasons why in here's how you deal with like the concept of you. Don't talk about the concept of forgiveness but you you do talk about you know. You can't stay mad. You know you have to do things to repair your relationship with your kids and between peers and things like that new. Find those ways in the language at the child can understand so that they can be to again start to develop unhealthy ways to deal with things that will affect them for us. Our lives