Many people think that discussing bias, prejudice, and stereotypes is impolite or can make the problem worse. In fact, studies have shown that having conversations about these issues, even when we don’t get things exactly right, goes a long way to help us overcome such attitudes in ourselves. This is especially important for children, who quickly notice differences among people.
It can be difficult to have conversations about this with our children. But studies show that before the age of ten, children are actively picking up on prejudices and stereotypes in our culture—OR learning to develop more inclusive, open, and justice-oriented mindsets.
Chances are your child is noticing differences among the people around him or her. If your child asks a question that you aren’t prepared to answer, that’s okay! Tell them that you aren’t sure and need to think about it, or use a computer at home or at the library to seek information together about language, skin color, ethnicity, immigration, or other concerns. Questions about others’ differences are a great opportunity to explore differences without placing a value judgment. Notice diversity with your child, and wonder together how others see and experience the world.