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How can I explain race in a kid-friendly way?

I have two six-year old boys, the other day my son asked me mommy how come they call us black if we are really brown? And how come white people don't look the the crayon? It's so hard for me to explain why we are so hung up on race as a soceity to a six year old. Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated. Thank you in advance.


Asked by kesabram at 11:07 AM on May. 18, 2009 in School-Age Kids (5-8)

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Answers (12)
  • Those are really great questions and really hard to answer. From a young age, we explained to our daughter that people come in all shapes and sizes and colors. I think that you need to express to your children that we all are the same inside: red blood, beating hearts, etc. We are fortunate to live in a multi-cultural community and have her in an educational system that truly embraces diversity.

    Answer by rkoloms at 11:44 AM on May. 18, 2009

  • I would just tell them I didn't know. I don't think we're hung up on races...races are a huge part of who we are and I don't think anyone can deny that. I think it's just how people are used to describing how others look. Explain that there's a lot more to people than the color of their skin :)

    Answer by ReneeK3 at 11:39 AM on May. 18, 2009

  • unfortunately it may only get worse as your children get older, so having those open conversations with them is soo important at this age. and to explain "colros" of people i would take them to buy the "people colored " crayons and draw with them. books at their age level would help you talk to them about it also. it is GOOD that they are now aware of things like this , it gives YOU the opportunity to have OPEN, POSITIVE communication.


    Answer by lovinallofthem at 12:08 PM on May. 18, 2009

  • Just tell them because that is how adults talk (which we do) and yes let them know that there are the crayon colors and that there are people colors we as human beings are different in a way as our color of our skin, where we come from and the shape and size we are in.

    There main colors we in America go by is White (caucasion) Black (African american) Hispanic (Mexican american) Asian (oriental) you can break it down like that. But a hispanic can be just as dark as a black person so it might get confusing for them just tell them that is the way God made us and wanted us to be :)  And he loves us very much no matter what we look like. Hope this helps :)


    Answer by Butterfly1108 at 12:52 PM on May. 18, 2009

  • Thanks so much for all your answers and I am sorry I said hung up what I meant was that we use race so much to describe people as in "that black guy" or "that white girl" I didn't mean it in a bad way. It is just hard when you are trying to explain it to a Kindergartener.

    Answer by kesabram at 3:40 PM on May. 18, 2009

  • there are great resouces on the Teach Tolerance website:

    Answer by rkoloms at 3:40 PM on May. 18, 2009

  • As we all know, there is a lot of overlap in the area of skin color....some people who might be called white are darker than some people who might be called black and no one is really white or black like the I can see why it is confusing to explain. I think the attitude behind your explanation is more important than the fact that you use. Even though "race" can be such a big issue, in reality it isn't even a real thing....We are all the same in more ways than we are different and there are so many variations in skin is all pretty meaningless, except for whatever meaning we put on it.

    Answer by BJoan at 4:57 PM on May. 18, 2009

  • My child has asked why some people have dark skin and she doesn't. I don't know what religion you are but I just told her that God wanted to make people of all different colors so He could enjoy all of the colors He made. I explained that all of our bodies look the same on the inside but that some skin is darker and some is lighter. She understood that and it hasn't come up since then.I'm sure when she gets older the conversation will have to be more complex. Personally I wish people didn't see each other this way. I was raised not to see a difference in anyone by appearance, only by behavior and I plan on teaching my children the same thing.

    Answer by khedy at 12:16 AM on May. 19, 2009

  • we tell our kids that people come in a rainbow of colors but we're all the same. Like khedy we let the kids know they people should not be judged by the color of their skin but by whats inside that counts.

    Answer by pagirl71 at 11:10 AM on May. 19, 2009

  • I would simply explain we are all the same on the inside..we all bleed red

    Answer by Anonymous at 1:12 PM on May. 19, 2009