September 28, 2012

Today’s Hot Topic: Can A Preschooler Be Racist?


Lisa Belkin at Huffington Post wants to talk about race and prejudice in our children.

By Whitney C. Harris


In a city as wonderfully diverse as New York, children are bound to meet people of all ethnicities and from all walks of life. From the grocery store to the elementary school classroom to the playground, the social spheres of our busy metropolis make for a childhood full of new experiences and new faces. So what do you do when your kid says something that sounds racist?

In a recent piece on Huffington Post, Lisa Belkin shares one example of a four-year-old’s very vocal unwillingness to be friends with “brown” children. His parents were distraught and confused: they didn’t know what was causing their son’s prejudiced behavior and couldn’t begin to understand why he was shunning “brown” children when he has an Indian mother. Surely kids engage in categorizing the world as they get to know their place in it, but this type of behavior can be worrisome and disheartening to parents, and, of course, highly embarrassing.

Talking to kids about race and prejudice is important, but how do you do it with a preschooler? So we ask for our readers’ advice. How have you tackled this issue with your children?

Whitney C. Harris is Deputy Editor of New York Family. She can be reached at wharris@manhattanmedia.com

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