Advice On Talking To Kids About Racism, Protests And George Floyds Death
Hi I'm Jen White and this is reset. Sloan. A. God Kroll. Baked me. Just, That's twelve year old gospel singer, key Dron Bryant and the powerful protest song that's captured the nation's attention. His mother Janetta says she wrote the Song in light of the events that unfolded after the death of George Floyd. Floyd was a black man who died after former Minneapolis police officer Derek. Shelvin was captured on video with his knee on Floyd's neck for nearly nine minutes. Janetta says she wanted to give her son wisdom to live confidently in this world as a young black, man. So! How do we talk to children and young people about Floyd's death? And how can we tackle conversations about racism protests and police brutality? Dr Beverly Tatum's a psychologist and author of why are all the black kids sitting together in the cafeteria and other conversations about race? Welcome to reset. Thank you. Thanks very much. Also with us is Dr Nia heard Garris. She's a physician and researcher at Children's Hospital of Chicago and Northwestern University. Feinberg School of Medicine Dr. Garris welcome back to the program. Thank you so much for having me? To guarantee, you have an eight year old son. How are you talking to him about what's going on right now? I I I know this is off script, but I just WANNA. Say Hi to Dr Tatum. She was the Spelman College President While I. was there I'm a stomach night so I'm really delighted to be on the program with her She is one of the experts that we look to. So I'm so happy for my own son. It has been challenging conversation because as parents, we are supposed to filter the world for children, and we're supposed to help them make sense. Sense of what's going on and we purposely did not show the video of George Void staff because I thought it would be too traumatic for hand, and probably most kids his age, so instead we we centered our conversation about the history of America, and why things are the way they are, and why the protests and civil unrest has kind of unfolded in our city because he's seen buildings, you know, be shut down roads being close, and he's asking questions and wondering why. Dr Tatum as we just heard from Dr Heard Garish. There's a lot to. UNPACK how do you start in age appropriate conversation about racism and police violence with young people. What's a good first step? Well, I think first of all I wanNA. Say Hello to Dr Her garrison delighted to have overnight on with me, so that's exciting, but I want to say that you know often we can take our cues from the children themselves so depending on the age. They're gonNA do different things, but even very young children can express concern about what they see or over here. Even if they haven't seen the video itself, they might see that adults around them are upset and might ask Mommy. Why are you upset or you know what's going on? And even a small child can be talked to buy small I mean even four or five years old can be talked to. In terms of what is fair and unfair and. Emphasizing that it's important for all of us to work to ensure everyone experiences fairness. Back to her Gareth something. After tatum SAT, there stood out to me I. think it can be our instinct as adult to. Perhaps, try to tap down our emotions. To have every reason to conversation with children or young people and I wonder if instead there is power and letting them see our upset in letting them experience our our deep sadness and grief. Is there some power in that? I definitely think so I. Think we allow ourselves to feel all the fields experience all the motions and really go through that process i. do think it's important that we take care of ourselves, so I before we have the conversation putting our own oxygen mask on first, so if we need mental health support we need. Friends to help get through I. Think we need to address at first, but I do think it's important that children see that it affects us to an unrelated story, so my son is doing home. Schooling and said to me Oh God I'm so upset that I can't go to school from home. And it was having a lot of issues with that and said you're not affected by this at all like aren't. Aren't you sad? And why aren't you know hurt? And so? That was a good reminder for me to say no. This is affecting me, too, and so similarly with what we're. We're right now. I have to say I. I am not happy about what's going on. I am really sad, but I'm trying to do everything I can to make this world a better place for you, and so are a lot of other people. Dr. Tatum I've been hearing from a lot of white parents. Asking about how to have these conversations with their children with their white children's specifically. and. Please feel free to jump right on. Well, let me just say white children have questions to and sometimes those questions started the very young age. You know a young white child as young as three might notice physical differences, racial skin differences comment on those differences and parents often respond by trying to hush them. is often the most common adult response as opposed to really answering in a direct way. Chelsea question about why someone looks different than they do at Cetera, but having said that. Again I'M GONNA. Say Children often give the opening, but if white parent is wanting to start the conversation, they can say you know I've been watching the news. I'm really concerned about what's happening in our community. It's important to me that you understand what's going on. Let me tell you something about it. You know to her to yours. You said you didn't allow your eight year old son to watch the video. We're in a time when you know social media is rampant, and if you have a slightly older child who has a phone has. To. To the Internet to social media, there's a good chance they'll see it even if you don't want them to. Four an older child or teen who seen that video, and has come away with it with a feeling of trauma or anger. How do you start to talk them through that? Yes absolutely you know if a child sees that video or any other video I think the trouble with the Internet and social media. In this age, it's been able to bring to light all these tragedies and things that should be prevented, but they live forever. So you know you're E, c George, Floyd but you can also see other videos that are equally disturbing, and I think the important thing is to be able to talk to your kids about what they're seeing. What they've seen and kind of start there 'cause you're. You're not sure the extensive have seen everything what was said what was heard and so accessible. They know start there first before you introduced anymore information that might be traumatizing to them, and then I would sit down and talk to them about how they're feeling and I. Don't think it's a off compensation. It's going to be a conversation. You're going to have to revisit. frequently to make sure that they are able to process and cope with all those feelings because it was a really hard video to watch. Factor tatum a lot of what I hear Dr. heard gear is saying. Is that parents? While they may feel the need to lead the conversation a lot of what they may be doing. An Anglican say parents and adults because we all have young one our lives, a lot of what you may actually be doing is asking questions and listening. That's probably where you need to start. Absolutely, and I think you know as was said acknowledging the child's feelings, and acknowledging that you two might have similar feelings, but to be able to talk about the feelings what what has happened the unfairness of what has happened, but a point that Dr Garrison made was that it's important to also in the course of that conversation. Let the child know that there are people working to make it better. I'm working to make it better. Our families working to make it better. Our friends are working to make it better because you want to leave. The child's feeling a sense of hopefulness, even in the midst of this very difficult situation. Dr Gears it. When we when we think about. Hope. And trying to leave young people with a sense of hope. In talking to the people in my life there is. And specifically black black people, black young people. There's this deep sense of discouragement because. They've heard the stories from their parents and grandparents and great grandparents. And they look at the moment we're in now. And they cannot understand. Why we're here. And I mean I get pushed back from. When I tried to. Leave them with a feeling of hope. They're dealing with hopelessness. How do you navigate that space? That's right on, and honestly that's consistent with The the research is well. It's that when when children are exposed to racism, there can be these feelings of helplessness, hopelessness and despair, and it's understandable that you have those feelings I think you know It's natural for adults who have seen been lived through all of these events, and then now for young. Young folks to witness and have heard from their their parents and their caregivers about what's happened from their lifetime, and now to have those feelings we call that secondary exposure vicarious racism, so that's secondhand racism, and just even like second hand smoke. You're not the one smoking, but you get the all the negative impacts of that similar to the second hand racism. Racism were experiencing one of The cities we've been working on is trying to understand. What are the coping strategies and what we've seen so far is being able to talk to a trusted adult to talking to a parent or caregiver. Someone else that you trust as well as peers has been really helpful to counteract those feelings of hopelessness and another Big thing that we've seen is the is activism, and so generally teams would engage in activism online. And posting sharing stories, talking to their friends is another way, but we've got to make sure they do it and keep themselves safe while they're expressing their their belief. Dr Tatum. You're an expert in child, psychology and race relations and I want to take this back to. Really win. Kids start to form ideas about race. We know when they're very young. They're just sponges. They soak up everything the good and the bad. So. What should parents? Do when a child has perhaps absorbed something, and and maybe says something, offensive or racist and conversation. Because you know kids, kids often don't have filters. How can appear respond in that moment? In a way that makes sense yeah I. Think the first thing that parent can do is ask questions I. You know I'm wondering why you said that. Or what made you think that? Or what do you think that's true and here? Where the child got the idea, I wanNA use distant a simple example. I have two sons when my oldest son was about four, he told me that only men could be doctors. Who? He was talking to his mother Dr Tatum. And I said why do you think that's true? And he began to list all the medical doctors he had encountered. All were male and I said well I. Get that, but you know I know some female doctors in my doctor's female and you see what I'm saying, so I'm exploring the child's logic. You know and then countering with the accurate information. In the case of a racist remark, maybe a child makes maybe they've heard someone. Say It, and you can question. Where did you get that information? But then you can say you know. Some people might think that, but I don't or we don't, and here's why we think others you know. Here's what I think, and here's what I know. Here's the information I have and. Then maybe encourage the child not to repeat what they said. For parents who don't feel equipped to start those conversations, specifically white parents who? are nervous because they like I, don't I? Don't really know how to ask the right question. Are there resources you can point people to to help them. There are lots of resources, particularly online and I. WanNa make reference to a Ted Talk I gave which is titled Is My. Skin Brown because I drink chocolate milk, and it's about a conversation. I had with my son when he was three based on something that happened to him at preschool. A white child said to him your skin is Brown because you drink too much chocolate milk and he came home and asked me if that was true. Then of course, it's not true. and. Then said to him. No, your skin is brown because you have something in your skin, call Melanin. Everybody has some the more you have, the Browning your skin is at your school. You're the kid with the most. He was happy with that answer. And of course it was accurate, but I wondered what had happened to the white child to ask the question. Did he ever get that question? Answered and I use that as an example to say. That video, it's thirteen minutes talk. Anybody can watch it on Youtube, but there are lots of other resources with parents and psychologist like myself and. Dr Gareth giving advice and so you don't just have to read books. Of course there's plenty of books to read. I would recommend my own wire. All black kids sitting together in the cafeteria and other conversations about race, which has specific information about how to talk the young children about race. But. There are many resources many more today than they were before. So there's no reason a white parent can't embrace the process of educating Emma herself if they're ready to take on. Then we'll tweet out links to both the Ted talk and to your book at Wbz Reset. Dr Her gears. I want to be sure that we don't. Make this GESTA conversation about. How we feel you've studied the implications of macro and micro level stressors, and how the fact children's health. What kind of effects does racism have on a child's health and wellbeing? Thank you for that question because I think when we? Talk about racism. Like you know doesn't realize that it really does get under our skin, and it's not only black and brown children, but all children maybe victims of that exposure, and as I was saying before about the secondhand exposure to racism. Even though you're experiencing it secondhand, you can certainly experienced firsthand than mental health impacts, so for example there have been studies that have shown that children that have been exposed to vicarious racism or the secondhand racism or more likely to have insult to their self esteem, or like leading us substances, such as drugs or alcohol, and have anxiety and depression, but also from a behavioral standpoint so. Exposure to this racism can perhaps have children be more aggressive or disruptive, but also on the other end of the section they can become more withdrawn and isolated, and so these are some of the behavioral and Mental Health Aspects We've seen. We need much many more studies, so look at the physical health impacts of low, but there are studies that have seen differences in wait for those that have been exposed to racism as a whole, but also vicarious racism, and so we're we're going to need much. Many more studies is to understand the implications of health, but we are certainly seeing at least mental and physical health implications right now. Dr Tatum I I want to ask a slightly different question. You know we're. We're in the middle of a pandemic, so we aren't necessarily spending as much time together. But for parents who are in communities or in families where? Racist language may be used. And they may find themselves in a situation where a family member, perhaps a beloved family member. Is expressing racist sentiments. How was apparent? How is a parent? Do you step in? And interrupt that especially if it's happening within. Earshot of your child. I think this is a really great question, and for many people. It's probably the hardest instance because they don't want a rupture relationship with a loved one and yet they don't want to pass on to another generation. These negative attitudes is sometimes suggest that people use what I call the three F- strategy. What does that means felt found feel. You know I felt that way. I used to think that way, but then I found out how wrong I was. I learned this information, and I, now feel it's really important not to pass on those attitudes to my own kids, so let's agree that we won't use that language. When we're here. I'm going to give you the last word here Dr her garrison last words of advice. Now My. Advice to parents out there is give kids hope you know, give kids hope for the future. Let them know on both sides on multiple sides kit that parents and adults love them and are fighting for them. It's always it's not always easy to see, but we if we can all join together and and worked to fight racism. Our world will be better today than it was yesterday. And that's where today's reset this week will continue covering the stories and answering the questions that matter to you. If you want to share your story, or you have a question about protests in Chicago the city's face, three reopening or local officials are handling the covert nineteen pandemic. Leave us a voicemail at eight, eight, eight, nine, one, five, nine, nine, four, five. That's Eight, eight, nine, one, five, nine, nine, four five, but that's it for sat. Stay healthy. Stay safe and let's talk again tomorrow.