Resources for Talking to Teens About Race & Racism

Resources for Talking to Teens About Race & Racism

As a social studies teacher, I had MANY difficult conversations with my teen students, including race and racism. My brown and black students already knew what I was talking about because they and their families lived it. I was teaching race and racism to the white kids, for whom this was completely new information.

White parents and teachers, there is still work to be done.

We must teach our teens about the impact of race and racism in America. They need to understand white privilege and systemic racism – that is the only way we will get these systems taken apart. And we must be obvious and intentional about it. This is not the time for subtlety.

I get that these conversations are awkward and difficult. Many white people of my generation were raised to be “colorblind.” That’s not how the world works, though; the world is not colorblind and that way of thinking ignores the real consequences for people of color. It also makes it almost impossible to talk to teens *about* racism.

[click_to_tweet tweet=”You don’t have to know all the answers now. But you do need to start learning.” quote=”You don’t have to know all the answers now. But you do need to start learning.”]

Start the conversation with your teens about race and racism TODAY. Get 2 copies of the books and read them together. Watch documentaries on Netflix as a family. Listen to podcasts together in the car. Then talk about them. If you have older teens, include them in the learning process. What topics related to race and racism interest them?

If you’re struggling with how to handle the repeated police killings of unarmed black men or the violent protests, this is how you can make a positive change in the world. You change the children you are raising and/ or teaching. 

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Resources for Talking to Teens About Race & Racism

teen race

I’ve listed the resources by medium – books, videos, websites, etc. They are mostly geared toward adults, but many of the books and videos are great for older teens.

Here’s my recommendation for how to tackle this list

  1. Listen to the Safe Space Radio podcast episode – Talking to White Kids About Race & Racism. It’s a great starting point.
  2. Order a book or two. Search for reading guides on Google.
  3. While you’re waiting for those books to arrive, pick your favorite medium – articles, videos, podcasts – and work your way through that list.
  4. Get your teen involved in this! What do they want to know more about? Learn about race together.

Books About Race & Racism

I have a lot of books in my bookstore. But here are some to get your started.



Articles & Websites

Documentaries, Movies, & Videos


Photo by Malte Wingen on Unsplash

Lesson & Resources for Teachers

Teaching Tolerance

Other Teaching Resources

I hope this helps you to start a conversation with the teens in your life. Please start it today. You don’t need the perfect words or activities. You just need to be willing to learn about racism and share that knowledge.

Which resources help you talk to teens about race and racism? Let me know in the comments below.

Related Posts: Talking with Teens about Charlottesville, 10 Powerful TED Talks for Parents of Teens

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