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  • Writer's pictureREH

Considering Race-Conscious Parenting

It has long been said a parent is a child’s first teacher. And today, many parents are considering whether to engage their children in age appropriate conversations about race and racism. But because we live in a racialized society, the decision to engage these conversations has largely been decided for us. If we remain silent, others voices will inevitably shape our children on these issues. 

Apart from that, some parents don’t have the privilege to “just have conversations" on race/racism with their children as their family’s lived experiences include racism. So, if our neighbors are experiencing racism, which is an assault against their imago dei (Genesis 1:26) and their wellbeing (Philippians 2:3-4), we must teach our children about race and racism not only for their own good but also for the good of others as we help shape them into doers of the word (James 1:22) in the vein of fulfilling Jesus’ command that we love our neighbor (Matthew 22:39). 

In her book, Raising White Children, Dr. Jennifer Harvey emphasizes the importance of parents adopting a race-conscious parenting approach. What does this mean? Essentially, this means that parents commit to a “broad and proactive way of thinking about how (they) engage race with children; a way that teaches and lives out antiracist commitments with children on a regular day-to-day basis.” 

With the goal of helping equip parents in a race-conscious parenting approach, our Children’s Ministry Manager, Mrs. Nohemi, found this online article for talking to children about racism (in age appropriate ways) so we wanted to pass it along. Though not comprehensive or faith-based, this article is a good starting point for parents who are dipping their toes into the vast ocean of race and racism conversations with their children. 

Additionally, here is a quick book list (a few are faith-based) for your consideration as you seek to (1) learn, (2) teach, (3) diversify your bookshelf in the goal of embracing a race-conscious parenting approach. 

Note: not all titles have been personally vetted by REH. Many have been recommended to us by trusted individuals, though. If you are a congregant who has recommendations to add to this list, feel free to contact us.

Books for adults:

Books for kids:

Books for teens:

We are praying for you, rooting for you, and walking with you, parents. –REH


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