The key to talking with your child—or anyone—about race is the same key to discussing any complex subject: openness. Start an open dialog with your child about race early in their life. Make it a comfortable subject of conversation—for you, and for your child.


WORDS

Find descriptive words you are comfortable using. Check out the MultiracialSky Glossary for expanded definitions of 60 race-related terms, including 30 heritage-affirming words used today to describe people with a variety of racial and ethnic heritages.

COLORS

Start with words describing color such as brown or tan, or the colors of foods. The Colors of Us [below] has wonderful descriptive color words.

IDENTIFIERS

Teach your children words they can use to identify themselves, and terms people with other heritages use to identify themselves. (Examples: multiracial, Amerasian, Latina.)

RACE AND ETHNICITY

Talk with your child about names for different racial and ethnic heritages. The descriptions and words you use may evolve and change over time, or as the socially predominant terms evolve. (Examples: African American, Black American, Native American, European American, Asian American, Mexican, White, Black, Cuban, Irish)

HUMAN RACE

When talking about race in scientific terms, the fact remains that there is only one human race. This is a fact and statement we should equip our children with. However, especially as parents, we must also recognize that the societal construct of different and distinct races affects everyone.

BOOK RESOURCES FOR ADULTS
For thinking and talking about race and racism

A People’s History of the United States
By Howard Zinn

The portion of American History missing from traditional textbooks. The U.S. history of women, African Americans, Native Americans, immigrants of all nationalities, the working class and the poor.

Purchase from Amazon


Everyday Acts Against Racism
Edited by Maureen Reddy

A collection of essays by parents (mostly mothers) raising children of color. Some of the authors are multiracial.

Purchase from Amazon


Some of My Best Friends
Edited by Emily Bernard

Deep, well-crafted essays about interracial friendships by 16 writers.

Purchase from Amazon

BOOKS FOR CHILDREN
About Skin Color and Race

The Colors of Us
Written and Illustrated by Karen Katz

The perfect book to begin the conversation with your child about skin color. Uses positive language to discuss the limitless variety of tones of the color brown.

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Skin Again
Written by bell hooks, Illustrated by Chris Raschka

Poetic words accompanied by beautiful paintings. This book conveys a strong message that you cannot know who someone is simply by looking at them.

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All the Colors We Are:
The Story of How We Get Our Skin Color

Written by Katie Kissinger, Photographs by Wernher Krutein

Simply explained scientific history of where and how humans get their skin color. In English and Spanish. NOTE: Multiracial families are presented as atypical following these two sentences: “Usually people with light skin have children with light skin. People with dark skin usually have children with dark skin.”

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All the Colors of the Earth
Written and Illustrated by Sheila Hamanaka

Flowing text paired with paintings of children of all skin tones. Multiracial children and interracial couples shown.

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Shades of Black
Written by Sandra L. Pinkney, Photographs by Myles Pinkney

Photographs and positive language show the variety of skin color, eye color, and hair texture present in children with Black American heritage.

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Amazing Grace
Written and Illustrated by Mary Hoffman

Clearly narrated story of an imaginative girl who overcomes classmates’ limitations of her because of her skin color and gender.

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WEB RESOURCES
 

Anti-Racist Parent
www.loveisntenough.com

For parents committed to raising children with an anti-racist outlook. News and parent essays about anti-racist parenting.


Race: The Power of an Illusion
www.pbs.org/race/

What is this thing called race? The three-part PBS documentary film and its accompanying online resources.


RACE: A Project of the American Anthropological Association
www.understandingrace.org/home.html

The educational goal of the RACE project is to help individuals of all ages better understand the origins and manifestations of race and racism in everyday life by investigating race and human variation through the framework of science.