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Dr. Aisha White of the P.R.I.D.E. Program on talking to kids about racism

Kristine Sorensen
June11/ 2020

It may be hard for children not to see or hear about what’s happening around our country with the protests and conversations about race.

The images are pervasive of people demonstrating, seeking equality for black and brown people.

Dr. Aisha White is director of the P.R.I.D.E. program at the University of Pittsburgh.

With festivals and educational programs, P.R.I.D.E. supports the Positive Racial Identity Development of young African-American children. She says the first step to helping children understand is to talk to them.

“The important thing is for parents to talk to their children because even if children are worried about it and confused about it, sometimes they don’t say anything,” Dr. White says.

When you begin the conversation, she says, first reassure children they are safe.

Then, explain racism as it pertains to fairness.

She says, “We also need to let them know that this country does not always treat everybody fairly, and kids understand what fairness is. You hear kids say things like ‘that’s not fair’ all the time, and so we have a whole lot of work to do to make sure that we change that.”

She adds that you can then discuss what your family can do to help.

The picture book “All the Colors We Are: How We Get Our Skin Color” helps kids look at skin color in a non-judgmental and more scientific way.

“What you can do is help your child understand that there are people who look different across the board in our world,” Dr. White says, “and often people who have darker skin are treated differently and in a more unfair and negative way than other people, which is not fair because it’s not fair fo bus to treat people a certain way just because of how they look.”

Kristine Sorensen

I am proud to work at KDKA-TV -- anchoring the news, hosting Pittsburgh Today Live and doing special reports. I am married to KDKA reporter Marty Griffin and we have 3 children. I first moved to Pittsburgh in 1999 but I’ve lived in Dallas, Johnson City, Tenn., Chicago, Williamsburg, Va., Milwaukee and Winter Park, Fla. Pittsburgh is now the place I call home.

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