Racism is a learned behavior, and to expect young children to be immune is unrealistic. Research shows that kids exhibit biased behavior as early as preschool. In a society that continues to perpetuate racial stereotypes and commit racially-fueled crimes, how can we help our kids – and ourselves – learn to overcome biases and advocate for anti-bias education?
In a video published by Time Magazine centered on Black History Month, Khalil Gibran Muhammad, Ph.D., a Ford Foundation Professor of History, Race and Public Policy at Harvard Kennedy School and the Director of the Institutional Antiracism and Accountability Project, says we have to be deliberate about what we’re teaching our kids.
“The real opportunity for us starts with our kindergarteners. We can't make the assumption that five-year-olds are colorblind because children see differences in the world. And if we leave them on their own to fill in the blanks, they're going to learn from society, they're going to pick up all the cultural cues that exist in our world,” he said in the video.
The hope, he says, is that if we can take on that work of changing how we teach our kids, then we can expect different adults who will understand and be more diligent about not repeating past mistakes.
In his upcoming ParentEd Talk, Muhammad will expand on the ways we can teach our kids to overcome biases. Registrants will learn how to spot the signs of bias in themselves and others; educate children on race and racism in an age-appropriate way; teach family members the tools they need to overcome their own and others’ biases; and advocate for anti-bias education in their communities.
Muhammad will be kicking off ParentMap’s 2023-2024 ParentEd Talks series on Sept. 18. The series will feature expert speakers who will help parents and other caregivers boost their parenting IQ.