Recognise that children are not skin colour-blind
You children can see that other people have different skin tones and may begin making associations if they notice patterns that relate to skin tones. Using words like ‘Native Indian’ and ‘white’ allows children to have words for what they see, and can de-mystify it.
Expose your child to media involving characters of all races
Because media tends to focus on fair-skinned people, it may take a conscious effort to consume inclusive media. This is crucial for white children as well as children of colour. Buy dolls of various races, not only white dolls. Discuss stereotypes as you see them. If your child notices a lot of dark-skinned athletes, for example, explain that this is a stereotype and that there are many black people in various roles: doctors, nannies, lawyers, biologists, professors, and others.
Be a good role model
Children copy what they see others doing, so be an example of an accepting, humble person. Be aware of the language you use around your child and make sure you don’t make racist comments or jokes in front of them. If someone calls you out for being accidentally racist, listen to them carefully and apologise. If you notice someone being a victim of racist behavior, stand up for the victim. Do this even when your child isn’t looking. It’s part of being a good person. You can start by avoiding the blatantly racist statement used very casually — he or she is dark yet beautiful. Tell them dark doesn’t mean ugly.
Explain differences in an accepting, casual manner
This shows your child that diversity is nothing to be afraid of. Speak calmly about how being different doesn’t make someone weird or bad, it just means that everyone is unique. Explain how different groups of people are different in some ways (languages, traditions, etc.) and similar in others (loving families, dreams about the future, etc.), and that this is a positive thing. When explaining, make sure that you make the message age-appropriate. For example, if your child is between the ages 3-5 use literal examples such as ‘eggs come in different colours, but they are the same on the inside’.
Be truthful about injustice when it happens
When your child witnesses someone being mean, or something unfair, be honest about the situation instead of trying to cover it up. Give a clear explanation of what was wrong and why. This can teach children that adults aren’t always right, bad things do happen, and it isn’t the victim’s fault. For young children, keep it simple.
Find a video on YouTube about racism
If you are worried about using the wrong words when explaining to your child about racism, or if you are bad at explaining things, watching a video would not only be helpful to you, but it would also help your child to visually experience what racism is. Visually experiencing something will help your child to spot when someone is racist, and this will allow your child to evaluate the situation and put a stop to it.