A facilitation guide for discussing the difference between the intent behind our words and actions and the impact of our words and actions and how these differences are important. The discussion then turns towards an exploration of institutional racism and how our privileges can play out in conversations about race. Created by Sarah Gonzalez: Resisting Racism Youth Lesson
DISCUSS: While the ideas of white supremacy and institutional racism may not be accessible to elementary age children, understanding lack of representation is a way to illustrate the same points. One idea to say is, “Our Unitarian Universalist faith is having discussions all over the country about who is represented and how. We realized that many white people were in positions of making important decisions without people of color.” Invite the children to talk about one group of people making decisions for another can be limiting. The Teaching Tolerance activity that we recommend is one that is an accessible way to talk about representation. You may want to bring up the UU example after doing the activity.
This activity created by Teaching Tolerance presents an opportunity for children to think about how they identify. Invite the group to list how they would describe who they are to someone else. After offering an opportunity to share this, ask the group about the books they’ve read. Who are they about? Ask how many in the room read books with characters who identify the same way they do? Tell the story of Marley Dias (links to her story are in the Teaching Tolerance activity). Marley was tired of reading about “white boys and dogs.” She decided to do something about it and she started a campaign to collect books that feature girls of color called #1000blackgirlbooks. More information on the campaign can be found here.
Children's (K-3rd grade) TeachIn
Lessons and activities
What is Privilege? This is from session 11 of the Windows and Mirrors, Tapestry of Faith curriculum.
Discrimination is on the Menu, from Teaching Tolerance. Essential questions include: Why do people discriminate? What happens when you judge someone based on how they look?
What’s Fair, from Teaching Tolerance. Essential questions include: What does it mean to be fair? Why is it important to be fair?
Real Life From Multiple Perspectives / In Your Shoes, from Moral Tales, Tapestry of Faith. The “Empathy Scenarios” can be adapted for a discussion about being treated differently based on the color of a person’s skin, the country they were born in or the language they speak at home.
Discussion questions: What do you think about Marley and what she’s doing? Do you agree or disagree with Marley that it is easier to be yourself than to be someone you’re not? Why or why not? Thinking back on the identity terms discussed earlier, what were some of the things Marley looked for in the books she read? Why is it important to read about how people’s identities are similar and different from our own?
The Colors of Us, Karen Katz. Through the eyes of a little girl who begins to see her familiar world in a new way, this book celebrates the differences and similarities that connect all people. Clickhere for an online reading of the book.
Shades of Black, Sandra Pinkney. Using simple poetic language and stunning photographs, Sandra and Myles Pinkney have created a remarkable book of affirmation for African-American children. Photographic portraits and striking descriptions of varied skin tones, hair texture, and eye color convey a strong sense of pride in a unique heritage. A joyous celebration of the rich diversity among African-Americans. Click here for a review of the book.
All the Colors We Are / Todos los colores de nuestra piel , Katie Kissinger. This book begins with the affirmation that all of us have skin that is a different shade of brown. It offers children a simple, scientifically accurate explanation about how our skin color is determined by our ancestors, the sun, and melanin. It's also filled with photographs that capture the beautiful variety of skin tones. Reading this book frees children from the myths and stereotypes associated with skin color and helps them build positive identities as they accept, understand, and value our rich and diverse world. Unique activity ideas are included to help you extend the conversation with children. Click here for an online reading of the book. Each page is read in English and Spanish and the final pages of the book offer questions for discussion.