Parents, educators, experts talk to kids on race amid unrest

U.S. 2020/6/4

Parents, educators, experts talk to kids on race amid unrest

NEW YORK (AP) — As an African American parent, Cassandre Dunbar in Charlotte, North Carolina, always knew she and her husband would have “the talk” with their son, the one preparing him for interactions with law enforcement.

But she never dreamed it would be necessary at 5 years old.

“I thought the cops were supposed to help us? Are they only helpful to white people?” he asked after taking in TV coverage of protests and overhearing his parents discuss the deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor.

Dunbar explained to her eldest child: “Some people have a hard time understanding that skin color:#333;;;;;;;;;;s death emerged. It came after months of family togetherness in coronavirus lockdown, a time when kids have been cut off from schools and peers.

Floyd, a handcuffed black man, died after a Minneapolis police officer pressed his knee into his neck as he pleaded for air.

To help her kids going forward, Dunbar has been reaching out for guidance from child therapists, early childhood educators and seasoned parents.

How conversations with kids about race and racism play out can be intensely personal for parents. Many white parents in particular believe children are too young for such discussions at age 10 or 11, said Andrew Grant-Thomas, co-founder of Embrace Race, a nonprofit that provides resources for parents and educators.

“They think that kids are too naive and fragile and will crumple the moment you even mention the word,” he said. ”By not engaging kids explicitly, essentially you’re leaving them to flounder in this tidal wave of communication about race that they are receiving from a very early age, but without you there to deliberately mediate how they make sense of what they get.”

Howard Stevenson, a clinical psychologist in the Graduate School of Education at the University of Pennsylvania, works with educators and families to unde

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