This is a wonderful tool for families who are struggling to deliver important lessons about racism in a way that'll make sense to kids.

By Zara Hanawalt
October 09, 2020
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If there's one thing we've learned this year, it's that it is never too early to talk to children about race. It's more than just important that we as parents make our kids aware that racism very much exists in our world—it's essential. And if we do it right, we just might raise a truly anti-racist generation. With so much at stake, remaining silent about this massive issue is not an option.

But that doesn't mean lessons about racism are easy for parents to deliver, or easy for kids to understand. Luckily, we're seeing more and more resources that can help families initiate these tough (but oh so necessary) conversations.

Mattel, Inc.

Like this video from Barbie, which features the brand's titular character and her friend, Nikki, having a frank conversation about race. This video is a good one: It frames the topic of racism in a way kids can understand, yet it doesn't sugarcoat the issue. It features two characters—one white, one Black—having an open discussion about racism, and it shows Barbie listening to her friend's experience openly and allowing it to inform her perspective. In short, it shows Barbie becoming more than just a friend, but also an ally.

The video features Nikki sharing a few examples of how she's experienced racism. She tells a story about a time she and Barbie both sold stickers on the beach. Nikki was stopped and questioned by security three times while Barbie wasn't—even though both girls were doing the very same thing.

Nikki also shares a story about when she earned a perfect score on a French exam, only for the teacher to assume she had gotten lucky and couldn't actually speak French well. And when Barbie asks her why she didn't stay in the club to prove the teacher wrong, Nikki answers with a statement that'll resonate with so many people of color. "I don't want to have to constantly prove and re-prove myself," she says. "He supported you right from the beginning, and he didn't support me...people did these things to me because I was Black and they made the wrong assumptions about me."

"And they don't make those assumptions about white people like me. And that's not fair because that means that white people get an advantage that they didn't earn and Black people get a disadvantage that they don't deserve."

Barbie and Nikki also speak about how important it is for all of us to have these conversations and stand together against racism. And if your children are grasping to understand the protests happening right now, the video touches on that as well. Nikki explains that sometimes racist assumptions can get people seriously hurt, and that that's why people are marching.

This video makes an important point: That racism is something we all need to be thinking and talking about, regardless of which race we belong to—and bringing our children into these discussions? That's something we need to do as well. And it may be a bit easier for many families thanks to this video.

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