Helping children understand and avoid racist attitudes, words, and actions

March 27, 2015

In one of her recent columns for The Guardian, feminist writer Jessica Valenti told of opening a library book her young daughter had brought home from preschool, planning to read it as a bedtime story. But upon turning a few pages, Valenti was shocked to see the book contained offensive caricatures of black people in both words and pictures. She immediately sprang into action because, she says, “If we want to raise anti-racist children, we need to tackle racism head-on.”

She writes:

“Research has consistently shown that proactively teaching your children (and white children especially) about racism—telling them that discrimination exists in the world —is far more effective than ignoring race and pretending as if the world is “colorblind.” As tempting as it is to think of even our young children as innocent, they are exposed to the same racism and biases that adults are in culture. The best thing that we can do for them as parents is to arm them with information about the reality of racism —historic and present— and teach them that it is unacceptable.”

Read Jessica Valenti’s full post here.


Letha Dawson Scanzoni
Letha Dawson Scanzoni (1935-2024) was an independent scholar, writer, and editor, and the author or coauthor of nine books. In 1978, she and Virginia Ramey Mollenkott wrote Is the Homosexual My Neighbor?, one of the earliest books urging evangelical Christians to rethink their views on homosexuality (updated edition, 1994, HarperOne). More recently, Letha coauthored (with social psychologist David G. Myers) What God Has Joined Together: The Christian Case for Gay Marriage (HarperOne, 2005 and 2006). Another of Letha’s most well-known books is All We’re Meant to Be: Biblical Feminism for Today, coauthored with Nancy A. Hardesty (Word Books, 1974; revised edition, Abingdon, 1986; updated and expanded edition, Eerdmans, 1992). Letha served as editor of Christian Feminism Today in both its former print edition (EEWC Update) and its website for 19 years until her retirement in December 2013.