How to Talk to Your Kids About Race

Mighty Mommy interviews author and activist Dr. Brittney Cooper about the importance of talking to your kids about race. Learn what to say, what not to say, and how to create an atmosphere of open-mindedness and acceptance in your home.

Cheryl Butler
2-minute read
Episode #520

February is African American History Month when schoolchildren throughout America learn about the struggles African Americans have faced in our country. Today, Mighty Mommy interviews author and activist, Dr. Brittney Cooper, and gets her expertise on how parents can discuss the sensitive subject of race with their children. 

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Brittney Cooper is a professor of Women's and Gender Studies and Africana Studies at Rutgers University. She cofounded the Crunk Collective, and her work has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, Ebony, and The Root, among many others. In 2017, she was named to The Root 100 List, and in 2018, to the Essence Woke 100 List. You can pick up her latest book, Eloquent Rage, and read more of her writing in the upcoming book Queen Bey: A Celebration of the Power and Creativity of Beyonce Knowles-Carter, both available wherever books are sold.

We invite you to join us as Mighty Mommy and Brittney Cooper chat about raising kids in a world where racial issues still exist and how we can help our children embrace different races and cultures with an open mind and heart.

Some of the questions we discuss are:

  • An appropriate age to introduce children to ethnicity and different races.
  • Tangible examples of how we can explain different ethnicities to our kids.
  • How parents can make race a non-issue. Should it be a non-issue?
  • Things parents SHOULD NOT say when talking to their kids about race.
  • How parents can explain racial slurs and stereotypes to a child who has just heard them for the first time. 
  • How to talk to children about race if spouses/partners disagree on the subject.
  • How families can make African American History Month more meaningful.

How do you talk about race with your child? Please share your thoughts in the comments section at quickanddirtytips.com/mighty-mommy, post your ideas on the Mighty Mommy Facebook page. or email me at mommy@quickanddirtytips.com. Visit my family-friendly boards at Pinterest.com/MightyMommyQDT.

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Group of children image courtesy of Shutterstock.

All content here is for informational purposes only. This content does not replace the professional judgment of your own mental health provider. Please consult a licensed mental health professional for all individual questions and issues.

About the Author

Cheryl Butler Project Parenthood

Cheryl L. Butler was the host of the Mighty Mommy podcast for nine years from 2012 to 2021. She is the mother of eight children. Her experiences with infertility, adoption, seven pregnancies, and raising children with developmental delays have helped her become a resource on the joys and challenges of parenting. You can reach her by email.