Kids Aren't Colorblind

Kara Powell | Sep 11, 2009

Photo by Andrew Seaman

Irene on our FYI staff team sent me this fascinating Newsweek article on kids and race. It’s long, but worth the read. Highlights for me:

  1. Kids are very aware of race from an early age.
  2. Parents aren’t talking with them about race and so kids end up making all sorts of assumptions.

My husband and I are both very committed to talking with our kids about race. It all started when our oldest realized that my skin is more fair (or “pinkish” as he called it) and my husband is more tan (or “brownish”). He brought it up; not us.

But since then, we've been bringing it up.

Often when we have friends over for dinner who have different skin colors, we talk with our kids about it. I remember when Albert and LaRosa came over, we actually held up our arms against their so they saw the difference in Anglo skin and African-American skin.

A few days ago, my son was practicing soccer at Jackie Robinson Field at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena. I asked him if he knew who Jackie Robinson was, and since he didn't, I gave him a brief bio. I taught him the word “discrimination” on the way to the field.

This article strengthens my resolve as a parent and a youth worker to talk with kids about race. I'm curious: in what ways are you trying to talk with kids about race?

Multicultural Youth Ministry Posts

Kara Powell

Dr. Kara Powell is the Executive Director of the Fuller Youth Institute (FYI), a faculty member at Fuller Theological Seminary, and Fuller's Chief of Leadership Formation. Named by Christianity Today as one of “50 Women You Should Know,” Kara serves as a Youth and Family Strategist for Orange, and also speaks regularly at parenting and leadership conferences. Kara is the author or coauthor of a number of books, including Growing Young, Growing With, The Sticky Faith Guide for Your Family, Sticky Faith Curriculum, Can I Ask That?, Deep Justice Journeys, Deep Justice in a Broken World, Deep Ministry in a Shallow World, and the Good Sex Youth Ministry Curriculum. Kara lives with her husband Dave and their three children, Nathan, Krista, and Jessica, in Southern California.


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