They say children can't tell racial differences, but I think that's wrong. I think that even if you don't teach your children about the different races in the world, they can totally tell if they're black and their best friend is white. I mean, it's not like they're blind, right? Now, what I do think is true is that children are not born racist. I think this is something they learn along the way from what they see and hear around them.

In my home, we haven't really brought up the issue of race too much, but that's mostly because my children are too little and they haven't really started to ask too many questions about the subject. One thing that has been really helpful in the introduction of difficult topics like race is reading books about that specific subject.

But what if your children happen to get their hands on a book that is actually racist or one that is full of stereotypes? An article on The New York Times magazine today talks about this subject and it's definitely worth reading. 

While this has never happened in my household, I'm not one to think that children need to be protected from these kinds of books. I don't really think reading a racist book makes a child racist. But more than anything, I don't believe in protecting my children from the realities of our world, including some of our despicable history. I do believe; however, that there's a time for everything. 

In other words, my 5-year-old daughter is still way too young to understand what the Holocaust was all about, but I do plan on talking to her about it, in addition to what she'll probably learn in school. Because it's part of our Latino history, I also plan on talking to her about the all the atrocities committed against our people.

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While I'm obviously not proud of many parts of our history, I don't want my children to grow up thinking we live in a perfect world, where everybody loves each other and there's no hate. I think that would be a total disservice to my children. 

How do you talk to your children about race? Would you let them read a racist book? Tell us in a comment. 

Image via John-Morgan/flickr

About the author

Roxana A. Soto is a Staff Writer for MamásLatinas. She's a bilingual and bicultural journalist born in Peru and raised in Mexico, Argentina, South Africa and Miami. She's also mom to a first-grader and a preschooler. She loves languages, traveling and good food – especially if it's cooked by someone else.

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