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Anti-Racism for Parents

What is Racism and Anti-Racism?

Racism is a learned behavior. Racism is also a complex system of advantage. Racism can be unlearned. Racist systems can also be dismantled. Your goal is to unlearn and dismantle racism where it shows up around you. Anti-racism is the process of unlearning racist ideas; co-learning new ways of seeing the world; engaging in the challenging work required to make meaningful change; enacting policies that manifest the changes needed to make our communities equitable for all. We will not solve the social plague of racism overnight, after all, it took hundreds of years to get here. However, that does not mean we give up!

Each individual, each family, each school, each community must commit to the work required of eliminating racism. This includes:

  • B: Building cross-racial coalitions
  • L: Learning full and complete historical accounts
  • U: Understanding how our justice system is experienced differently by different groups
  • E: Eliminating the inequities that impact some groups disproportionately
“In a racist society, it is not enough to be non-racist, we must be anti-racist.”
Angela Y. Davis

Kids see color and learn to become silent about it or attribute negative connotations to it when parents are silent or are not explicit about discussing race. Although we are not born racist, our communities, our school curriculum, and our environments inform and fuel the biases and prejudices present in each of us. If we’re going to start the journey of unlearning racism, we must commit ourselves to the hard work ahead. This toolkit will provide action steps, encouragement, a bit of history, and insight into how families can get started on their anti-racism journey.

Webinar: How to Raise a Socially Conscious, Anti-Racist Kid with Amber Coleman-Mortley, Sonia Mathew and Dr. Shawn Healy


Derman-Sparks, L., Higa, C. T, Sparks, B. https://www.teachingforchange.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/ec_childrenraceracism_english.pdf

Hirschfeld, L. A. (2008). Children’s developing conceptions of race. In S. M. Quintana & C.

Kelly et al (2005), “Three-month-olds, but not newborns, prefer own-race faces”

Kinzler, K.D (2016), How Kids Learn Prejudice

McKown (Eds.), Handbook of race, racism, and the developing child (pp. 37–54). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.

Mann, T. C., Ferguson, M. J. (2015) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4437854/

Racial Equity Tools

Winkler, E. N. (2009) https://inclusions.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/Children-are-Not-Colorblind.pdf