I spent the weekend watching two boys, ages nine and ten. On Friday night, the ten year-old had a friend over and the two started talking about the racial make-up of their small private school. They tried counting all the black kids in their grade and then all the black kids in their school. Eventually, they got out an old yearbook to help with the tally. After counting the black students, they started to count the Indian kids, but I had started to feel uncomfortable with the whole process, so I asked them to count redheads instead.
I don't think they meant any harm by counting these students and simply acknowledging the existence of other races doesn't qualify as racism. But, like I said, their unofficial census seemed somehow wrong to me.
Am I being overly sensitive? It's natural for kids to be curious about race, but I would hate to think that skin color is the only thing they see when they interact with students of different race. I tried talking to them about what it would be like to go to a school where they were in the minority, but I don't know if my words sunk in. Since they're not my kids, I felt like there was only so much I could do and I didn't want to make a big deal out of it.
Do any GTers have stories or advice regarding talking about race with kids ?