PBS: ‘You don’t teach prejudice by discussing its existence.’ How to talk to children about race and discrimination.
By Frances Kai-Hwa Wang/PBS NewsHour
As concern mounts from some parents about concepts like Critical Race Theory and whether it should be taught in K-12 classrooms, which it is not, some other parents are concerned about how to prepare and protect their Muslim, Sikh, Arab and Asian American children from bullying and harassment. Teaching children lessons about hate and racism has been especially important in the wake of major world events, like the withdrawal from Afghanistan, the lingering effects of 9/11, and the COVID-19 pandemic — events many children may not even understand.
On top of being impacted by these events along with everyone else, these families also bear the burden of being mistakenly and sometimes violently blamed for causing these events.
“Muslim American students often experience harassing comments by peers, such as being called ‘terrorist’ or being told ‘don’t blow us up,’” Dr. Amaarah DeCuir, American University School of Education, told the PBS NewsHour. “They describe being stared at during 9/11 lessons, or being singled out by the teacher to make comments addressing 9/11.”