How to talk to your kids when hate, bigotry is in the headlines

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – More than a week after the violence in Virginia, debate over demonstrations of hate continues to reverberate across the country.

How do you talk to your kids about this turmoil the country is facing when it’s in the headlines and all over social media?

Starting the conversation may be difficult, but experts say the best way to start that conversation is by asking your kids what they’re hearing at school and then asking them how they feel about it.

“Unfortunately, race and bigotry and racism in particular can’t be handled in a hands-off manner. We’ve really got to take a collective breath and dive in with our children. Even if we aren’t talking about it around the dinner table, there definitely talking about it around the lunch table,” Sonia Gipson Rankin, Senior Lecturer in Africana Studies said.

Rankin, who teaches “Race in the Digital Age” at the University of New Mexico, said the best thing to do is to be proactive, rather than reactive.

That’s why she also said to talk to your kids ahead of time about race and diversity.

The next step is to actively speak out against what kids may be seeing online or on the television, such as stereotypes or prejudice, instead of avoiding the topic completely.

Rankin also said to lead by example. If racism, hate, or bigotry is happening within your friend or family circle, speak up rather than just letting it happen.

“Our inaction becomes our children’s reaction. Without any proper guidance from the home, where are they going to get their examples? They’re going to turn to their friends. They’re going to turn to social media,” Rankin said.

When it comes to what your child looks at on social media, Rankin said to try to catch any questionable posts and address them right away.

According to Rankin, right now is the perfect time to have this discussion and that talking about it will get easier over time.

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