“People unfamiliar with the psychological literature typically hold two beliefs about racial prejudice. First and foremost, they believe that young children are inherently color-blind and do not notice racial differences unless they are pointed out. The second popular belief is that children would never develop race bias if they were not explicitly taught this by their parents” – Phyllis Katz, a psychologist who has studied the development of racism in children for decades.
This episode feels especially important given the national conversation – if we can call it that – that we’re having on race relations at the moment. I’d always thought I would do my part by just not talking with my toddler about race, figuring that if it was just a non-issue for me, if we just ignored it as a topic, then she wouldn’t grow up to be racist.
Boy, was I wrong.
As soon as I see signs that she’s ready for a conversation about it, I’m ready too. And I’m also conscious of the non-verbal signals I send to and about other people, which may have just as much – if not more – of an impact than what I actually discuss with her.
Are you ready for your own conversation?