In today's world of social media, our kids are exposed to much more, much earlier. During an election, and a pandemic that keeps most students learning at home, a local school district has created a book to navigate difficult topics that are front and center.
The San Diego Unified School District created two versions of the book, one for people experiencing racism and one for families just learning to talk about it for the first time with their kids.
The lessons inside are better for your child to learn sooner rather than later, according to co-author Ebonee Weathers.
"I think that bias in itself is a natural biological structure. Racism is something that we learn and that we pass on through our actions, or our words or through our inactions” Weathers said.
As a part of a youth advocacy group at SDUSD, she collaborated with the family engagement group to help parents at home with tools to talk to and teach their kids about these topics.
"The science and the research shows that children are recognizing race and skin color as early as 6 months, so the sooner that we can start having these conversations the better," said Weathers.
Whether it’s seen at home, in the media or through their peers, Weathers said unpacking behavior and discussing it is vital.
Changing the social media sites kids visit, checking in with them daily and introducing kids books addressing these difficult topics are a few ways parents can address behaviors or biases.
"We are the people who are really shifting and shaping their perception and helping them run things through those filters," said Weathers.
To make a difference, Weathers said we have to go beyond just talking about anti-racism. We have to be it, live it and communicate it in every place that we can.
"The hope and vision for the future really requires that we each do the work. We engage in the resources that now are becoming so prevalent."
The ebook is available for free to all district students.