Johnson County Library is hosting a new workshop for adults called Talking to Preschoolers About Race. The first event in the two-part series is 7 to 8:30 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 4, with the second session held at the same time on Wednesday, Nov. 18. Parents, family members, teachers, caretakers or any grown-ups in our community are invited to learn and practice talking about race with kids in an interactive format, hosted by a facilitator from Raising Race Conscious Children.
“Many of us, especially in majority white communities, did not grow up talking about race, and have even been taught not to acknowledge race at all. We are now finding from many researchers that ignoring the differences in how we see each other is not effective and continues to harm all children and adults,” says Michelle Ranney, a Youth Information Specialist at Johnson County Library.
The Library’s Youth Services team has long talked about how to make sure all kids feel comfortable at the Library, both through increasing representation in books that are read to and with children and encouraging a diverse audience at Library programs. When Johnson County Library decided to prioritize fall programming that intentionally spoke to matters of acknowledging race and the legacy of systemic racism, the Youth programming team wanted to make preschoolers a priority.
“The research shows that kids as young as 6 months are already making judgements about people based on their skin tone and how it is perceived in their community,” says Ranney. “We just want to get the conversation started.”
Raising Race Conscious Children is a resource to support adults trying to talk about race with young children. The goals of these conversations are to dismantle the “color-blind” framework and prepare young people to actively challenge racism in their every-day lives.
To register for Talking to Preschoolers about Race, visit jocolibrary.org/events. Registration closes at 6 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 4, one hour before the program begins. The Library is planning additional programming for elementary and high school audiences throughout the winter.