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Written by: Jara Negrin

The saying “do as I say, not as I do” has real ramifications when it comes to race. A child’s disposition, when it comes to treatment of those that are different than themselves is formed from how their parents relate to and talk about those individuals that are from different backgrounds or whose skin is another color. And this begins as soon as kids learn to understand language,and can start as early as they sense their parent’s body language. So, if we parents don’t set the inclusive example that sets the stage for the right belief system, then discrimination can set in. In schools across America (and in all of our society) there is a movement happening seeking to end racism in our society. That education will no doubt help, but in order to be part of the positive change, it’s important for us moms to be fully educated on the issues. This will not only enable change , but also help us maintain our childrens’ color-blindness in the first place. Not surprisingly there are a host of resources, from books to websites and podcasts to documentaries to bring clarity to the issues, the, the situations, and the controversies. As we are dedicated to being part of this ongoing change and we know it’s never too early to confront the subject with your kids , we will continue to share resources to help you do the same—starting with this short list of must-read books.

Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? by Beverly Daniel Tatum

Although this book was first published more than 20 years ago, the latest edition of this book still resonates and serves as an important guide. Tatum, who is a well-known psychologist and educator, answers the question posed in the title by way of examination of the cultural challenges we face in American society. She uses examples in higher education to point to racial divides and suggests that tapping into our own racial identities is essential if we are to communicate across racial and ethnic lines.

a kid’s book about racism by Jelani Memory

How nice would it be to have a Dad of six (who was himself subjected to racism) explain the complicated subject directly to your child. If your child is of reading level, then you are in luck. Or you can take the reigns and read this gem to him or her. Jeloni Memory grew up in a basically all white neighborhood and took that experience to aid in kids understanding the true meaning of the word, how it makes people feel , and how to spot it and call it out. No preaching to be found here, just simple yet powerful words kids can discover and absorb on their own.

Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates

Finalist for a Pulitzer Prize and hailed by Toni Morrison as “the most important essayist in a generation,” Ta-Nehisi Coates writes a personal exploration of America’s racial history through a letter to his adolescent son. Coates attempts to answer the questions, “What is it like to inhabit a black body and find a way to live within it? And how can we reckon with this fraught history and free ourselves from its burden?” He does so by weaving together revelatory stories of his own experiences and reimagining history. This must read was named one of the top 10 books of the decade by major publications such as: Time Magazine, The Washington Post, The New York Times andOprah Winfrey.

White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racismby Robin DiAngelo

You may consider yourself a mom that would never want to benefit from racism but after a few hours with DiAngelo’s book you will begin to have a more nuanced understanding of racist systems and journey to understand how you may be benefitting from them. Antiracist educator and author Robin DiAngelo examines in-depth how white fragility helps to protect and perpetuate racial inequality. She has no fear in addressing the defensiveness of white people and tapping into their emotions of fear, anger and guilt that surround cross-racial dialogue.

The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander

In this book, civil rights lawyer and legal scholar Michelle Alexander pens an eye-opening and heartbreaking account of our legal system and the tragic incarceration of millions of African Americans that were undeserving of their sentences. In its tenth year of publication, Alexander’s book is even more at the forefront of the discussion of race in America today. As Alexander aptly observes, “we have not ended racial caste in America, we have merely redesigned it”.

Jim Crow laws may have been wiped away decades ago but today’s criminal justice system, which disproportionately targets and discriminates against Black people, has taken their place.

So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo

A New York Times bestseller, Oluo offers a hard hitting but user-friendly guide to talking about racism in America. This book provides an honest and clear look at how racism exists in every corner of American life, and offers readers of all races constructive dialogue to deal with racial biases and prejudice.

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