Trigger Warning: Blog discusses racism, police brutality and themes that could be traumatic.
Racial prejudice exists between people of all cultures and colours but in these discussion we don’t want to be distracted from the focus on white privilege.
On the 25th of May, it will be a year since George Floyd was killed by American police.
A black man’s death at the hands of a white police officer is tragically, not an unusual event in the United States, but this time it was different, this time it was filmed.
There was global outrage, protests and pledges to root out racism from every corner of society. A year on, we have pulled together resources and information to help you continue to have those discussions with classes of all ages to ensure all children understand their responsibilities in being antiracist.
For older children it’s an opportunity to reflect on how far they have come on their anti racist journey and an opportunity for all classes to discuss racism.
To kick us off, there are some absolutely brilliant tips in this blog post, shared by equality of education organisation, Equaliteach.
And some more from the brilliant Anti-Racist Educator.
Dr Pragya Agarwal says that at around 36 months children start picking up social cues about race and start to pick up ideas about people who look different from them. Here she shares some really brilliant advice on talking to children about race.
Antiracist education should start as early as possible.
- Ensure that books in any classroom reflect the diversity of the global population so children become used to seeing black people in all walks of lives in their books. Head here to get a box of books for younger children that focus on representation
- Have open conversations where children are asked to describe characters they see in books and those they know. Get them comfortable in using the correct words to describe people and families.
- Ensure that toys, dressing up clothes, make belive resources are as inclusive and representative as possible. Hope Education have some inclusive sets but many more are available.
- Remove the idea of normality by finding about what a ‘normal day’ looks like to different families. Encourage discussion about clothes, religion, food.
The Tiney Inclusive Education Guide offers loads of tips for Early Years Educators. You can download the guide and found out more about it, here.
Children are aware of differences in race and culture and are developing socialised ideas of what these mean. It’s really important that the issue of racism is discussed in the classroom. This helps children to make sense of what they see in their interactions at home and school or in the TV they watch and books they read.
Head here to find lots of books to help you be as prepared as possible to discuss racism and teaching children about being anti racists. Included on this list is Pragya Agarwal’s brilliant book, Wish We Knew What to Say.
This informative resource from BBC’s Newsround, cover racism in all its forms, shares real life examples of the impact of racism and introduces children to the idea of white privilege. Share the videos and resources with your classes.
The Black Curriculum are an incredible organisation who have resources available on their website to support teaching on racism for children who are at KS1
Children in KS2 are likely to remember George Floyd’s name and the impact his death had and the protests that took place in his name.
Ask children what they remember from that time and what has changed for them since his death. Revisit conversations that you had last year when racism was in all the headlines.
How can children continue with their anti racism journey and stay accountable?
Suggestions for discussion;
- Keep reading – books about racism, black history, books by black authors, novels featuring black protagonists. The more information they can read, the more of an innate acceptance and understanding of diversity they will develop.
- Stay informed – read news articles and be aware of bias in reporting.
- Speak up and support children who are on the receiveing end of racist comments or bullying. Report incidences of racism and challenge perpetrators.
- Use time to gain understanding of protests and campaigns. Attend protests and rallies whenever possible.
- Use money to support organisations who are campaigning for racial justice, use money to support black-owned businesses.
And also for KS2, there are brilliant resources here at BBC BItesize. This is where children can hear accounts of racist bullying and hear poetry from Benjamin Zephaniah.
At Little Box of Books, we of course, share books that cater for all age groups from age 0-11. We will happily diversify any school book collection. For inclusive and representative book collections for all age groups head here.
The resources here are implicity targeted at those who do not face racial discrimination.
It’s good to Inform classes in advance of the content of discussions, particularly multicultural groups and set very clear, zero tolerance ground rules for respectful discussion. Be aware of the impact of retraumatising black and brown children and be sensitive to the group dynamics.