What age should children learn about racism?

Dr. Donald Grant discusses how to speak to children about race, racism and the protests now gripping the nation.
9:22 | 06/03/20

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Transcript for What age should children learn about racism?
And grappling with race and racism in America it is hard enough for adults but it can be so much more daunting when it comes to children doctor Donald grant a psychologist author and executive director of mindful train solution says. If you children older than for its time to talk to them about race he joins us now to explain doctor thanks so much for joining us. Thank you for having me. So black parents talk to their children about race quite often you know would quit or conserve our rather young but you say that white parents also need to have a conversation what's the first step. Well. First step is recognizing the humanity in your children's friends and understanding that if you want them to live to adulthood. It's an important conversation that you have to happen so I think that's the first. A key in understanding that as uncomfortable ours our white community members may be discussing race. It has to happen because that discussion can certainly save my son's life into the future. One this next steps to that is making sure that there are dealing with their whole kind of internal concerns as it relates to dare racial identity I think that's one of the biggest concerns you here. People say white privilege and it really Lee really tense as white folk up but the reality is that it's real in the same way that Mel privilege Israel and Christian true with Jim heterosexual privilege on and until we mastered those things going to be really tough. To be effective with our children but those are two of the first major steps. And then educating. Themselves sound finding books not always asking black folk to explain but really digging Yang and doing research and understanding that Google has a second page that you can gold to four additional stuff. I think it's really important. Say you say that Simon up who is the right being Janet fight seems so young any it also seems like it has the potential of rob a child that they care free the innocent aspect of childhood why isn't so necessary in your opinion have these conversations so early. That's such a great point so many people bring that point up and I'm unfortunately. Black children don't have the luxury of not being robbed of that innocence and so the more we can help. I'm children on our white families understand that com and move through it research demonstrates at the age of four children began to it. Begin to engage in exclusionary practices based on race is a wonderful books on call the first are racism that's a study. On the shoals councils and in preschool. Began to use racial racial racial attributes excuse me and to make determinations on who they'll be friends with who they wanna taken that next to who don't eat lunch with and so just because parents are not talking about race at that early age it doesn't mean that your children are not actively. Acting up along racial constructs. Because the world is telling them about race even if you arch. Four years alone so young but what do you recommend that we stated children who are seeing these images of protests on TV or maybe even experiencing them in real life. Yeah its development so right and so I remember our early on in some of the early protest my son is ten now but at this time he was maybe five we two count and is a developmental stage at which you can explain everything and so no I wasn't showing my son pitchers of lynchings at age of five but at the age of ten and I've certainly shown Ambac and so you wanna be able to go and support these issues and how white children understand the historical context that brings about rage and that brings about anger I'm not saying that you have to justify things like looting and stealing and things like that what you do have to develop a framework of a space. That allows you to speak intelligently. To generations of rage that had been accumulated over time and that are coming out. In this way and it's always great to relate. A component or an event. To a child's life and something there that they can understand I'm children experience will be caught eagle centrism which makes it sounds like a negative word but it makes them does censor of their world and that's why five year old boy it would go to visit grandma I'm hospital and tinker toy truck because that will be what made him until batter and so we have to build connections. To children so that they understand how it relates to down. And I feel like it's very valuable if we want to develop anti racist white children. We have to shoulder in these things. Early on my son doesn't have the luxury of remaining in a sense on because I need him to stay alive and some people think it's really. And kind of conjecture when black people speak like that but we really aren't fear. For the lives of our children and of white people don't began teaching -- children what we have to teach our children. We're gonna end up in this quandary I don't want my assigned having this conversation with. His son so just a really simple answer if there's a five year old black or white child right now who sees a protest and they say daddy. What is this about what would you say. Yeah it's a great question so you look and you say people in this world are treated differently. And for some people Dave name being treated differently for a very long time. They ask three quality. They've asked over and over. And it hasn't happened and so as a result they feel let their voice is not being heard. Remember last time when you were asking me for a cookie or new Telus steaks and I didn't hear you what did you do. You yelled so that you can be heard. These individuals right now baby are going through this and they're meeting to be heard because their pain is so great. And you can reflect upon a time where you didn't feel heard and that's exactly what this this I think that's a verbatim script to be able to talk to a five year old and related to down. And when you're going to high school and middle school it's a different conversation. You're literally talking. Two shall adjourn a bowel. Howell racism works out institutionalized systems work how the black infant mortality rate is off the charts and that's due to racism. And what's interesting is you didn't bring race up in your answer to that five year old. What do get a sense that you're posting his video trains for parents on FaceBook part of what you're calling black June what are those lessons. It thank you for mentioning that black June as much opportunity to how white folk dismantle systematic racism and we all know that black people should not be responsible. Four training. Others aren't how to treat them or how to engage them. However sometimes those who choose to do so. Julie and for me belied Zune is an opportunity to help people learn how to dismantle their privilege and move their work from being. And ally to one accomplice. A white ally is somebody who goes into the framework carries a sign works hard and speaks out about racism. An accomplice is somebody who has skin in the game each and so as we move through these videos are next week segments are going to be focused on helping white people become accomplices once they're able to help you to help their kids learn how to be anti racist it's dare turn to learn information. About how to be an accomplice maybe that means moving some of your Philanthropic dollars wouldn't. It's based snack and audible for still things like that what I'd like to do for black June is still at least at the very least. A fact fifty people aware by Dave actually change their motivation and behaviors as it relates to this topic a black oh Preston black racism. And the specific death of black people men women and children come across this nation. And some adults lastly they might feel like they need to better educate themselves on racism in order that they are able to really accurately teach their children so what resource is would you recommend for adults. There's so many wonderful resource is out my book was published in October and it's entitled black men intergenerational colonialism and behavioral health a noose across the nation's and it's a 200000 years studied displaying how across Europe. And the United States we developed to go global economy and black lies aisle were. Implicit and making that happen and it gives the entire history of colonialism. Of the continent of Africa and I think that's where people need to begin. Way too often Americans see the history of African Americans beginning in 1619. We had a history wave before that the history of loyalty and that history needs to be understood and the complicit in this the European colonists needs to be understood to create a framework. Where individuals really understand. The history of trauma. That black people of experience and one last note if I may we oftentimes talk about the history of trauma of those who were enslaved. We rarely talk about that intergenerational. Nature of the oppressors and minds and we talk about the fact that there were little girl standing at lynchings. Important now grandparents of college students. We don't talk about what that did sit down and so in addition to learning about history I think people need to dig deep into their own familial history to understand how that lives inside their DNA through at the genetics. Doctor Donald grant really educational we appreciate that. Thank you are dates you guys have in this segment.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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