Racism is a sin.
In an episode of The Kids Ministry Collective Podcast, Mahogany Dudley-Finley labels racism for what it is: a sin. She encourages children’s ministry leaders to recognize that and then approach teaching about racism the same way we teach children about other sins. (Listen to the full podcast episode here.)
As we examine our own hearts regarding racism and equip the families we lead to do the same, here are some resources to facilitate conversations and change on a personal, communal, and global level:
- Resource Roundup – An entire blog post about talking with kids about race including developmental studies (babies as young as 6 months notice race!), books for parents and kids, and more. If you don’t share anything else, this one is a good place to start: Your Kids Aren’t Too Young to Talk About Race
- Article from Rockpoint Church in Minnesota: How to Talk To Your Children About the Death of George Floyd
- Book for White Christian Parents: Raising White Kids – Bringing Up Children in a Racially Unjust America by Jennifer Harvey
- Set of books for Parents & Kids: The Gospel in Color Set: A Theology of Racial Reconciliation for Families
- Downloadable PDF guide (with lots of helpful links!) from Gabrielle Veneracion, a Christ-led, Black & Asian Female Pastor of a multi-racial community: How To Talk About Race With Your Kids
- Podcast and Tips from NPR: Talking Race With Young Children
- 6 Family Devotions to help families discuss racial issues from a Biblical perspective from the Precious In His Sight download on Deeper KidMin
- Articles, Discussion Guides, and Recommended Resources from the Talking About Things That Matter Bundle on Deeper KidMin.
- Discussion questions from Michayla White, executive director of INCM. See the original FaceBook post here.
- What do you notice about God in all the special ways He made people?
- How does it make you feel to be uniquely you? What do you want to ask God about how He made you?
- How can you celebrate and respect how others were made by God?
- When people hurt others because of their differences, how does that make you feel? What do you want to tell God about that?
- When you notice someone being hurt or made fun of, what can you do to help them? How do you think Jesus would help them?
- There are people who hate others because of the color of their skin or their ethnicity. What does God say about how we love one another?
While parents and leaders may not know where to start, children’s books on the subject offer great conversation starters! Disclaimer: I have not read all of these books, but I have ordered several to use in my own home. The links below take you to Amazon, though some books are temporarily out of stock, and I encourage you to search your local bookstore for a copy of the book.
- Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes by Mem Fox
- A is for Activist by Innosanto Nagara
- We’re Different, We’re the Same (Sesame Street) by Bobbi Kates
- Global Babies by The Global Fund for Children
- More, More, More Said the Baby by Vera B. Williams
- The Youngest Marcher by Cynthia Levinson
- God Made Me AND You: Celebrating God’s Design for Ethnic Diversity by Shai Linne
- Last Stop on Market Street by Matt De La Pena
- Same, Same But Different by Jenny Sue Kostecki-Shaw
- The Color of Us by Karen Katz
- All Are Welcome by Alexandra Penfold
- All the Colors We Are by Katie Kissinger
- What’s the Difference? Being Different is Amazing by Doyin Richards
- Something Happened in Our Town by Marianne Celano
- We March by Shane W. Evans
- This is How We Do It by Matt Lamothe
- God’s Very Good Idea by Trillia Newbell
- The Story of Ruby Bridges by Robert Coles
- Daddy, There’s a Noise Outside by Kenneth Braswell
- Colorfull: Celebrating the Colors God Gave Us by Dorena Williamson
- The Other Side by Jacqueline Woodson
- Rosa by Nikki Giovanni
- Let’s Talk About Race by Julius Lester
If we want to lead our families and church members well, we have to check our own hearts too. Use these books to deepen your own knowledge and understanding of race issues. Disclaimer: I have read some, but not all of these books. The links below take you to Amazon, though some books are temporarily out of stock, and I encourage you to search your local bookstore for a copy of the book.
- Be the Bridge: Pursuing God’s Heart for Racial Reconciliation by Latasha Morrison
- White Fragility – Why It’s So Hard For White People to Talk About Racism by Robin DiAngelo
- Cultural Intelligence: Improving Your CQ to Engage Our Multicultural World by David Livermore
- So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo
- The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
- The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America by Richard Rothstein
- Bridging the Diversity Gap: Leading Toward God’s Multi-Ethnic Kingdom by Alvin Sanders
- The Color of Compromise – The Truth About the American Church’s Complicity in Racism by Jemar Tisby
- Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? by Beverly Daniel Tatum
- Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
- I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness by Austin Channing Brown
- White Awake: An Honest Look at What It Means to Be White by Daniel Hill
I’ve listened to these podcasts and really enjoyed their perspectives and insight. I’ll add more as I have the opportunity to listen to more.
- Bridging the Racial Divide- Mahogany Dudley-Finley & Pastor Eric Hamp on The Kids Ministry Collective
- Brene Brown with Ibram X. Kendi on How to Be An Anti Racist from the Unlocking Us Podcast
- Can I Live? Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor from Melanated Faith Podcast
- What Does This Moment Require of Me As a Leader? from Michael Hyatt
Organizations & Websites to Explore:
- Be the Bridge – In addition to reading some of the books listed above, this is the main resource I’m using in my own education. I highly encourage you to spend some time exploring their website and social media accounts!
- Black Lives Matter
- One Race Movement
Other Helpful Articles:
- Racism and the Role of the Children’s Ministry Leader by Michayla White from INCM
- This Children’s Minister’s Perspective on Racial Injustice from Esther Moreno of Child’s Heart
- When There Are No Words from Kathie Phillips of KidMinspiration (originally posted in 2016 but still so relevant)
- 75 Things White People Can Do For Racial Justice
- Social Justice Resources
- Why We Must Start Talking about Race in our Children’s Ministries
One way to broaden your inclusivity and learn from others is by “auditing” your social media feeds. Who do you follow? What leaders are you learning from? Here’s a list of organizations or leaders of color that we can support and learn from:
Though I have not watched all of the shows listed here, they’ve been added to my to-watch list! They are all available on Netflix. Note: From the previews I’ve seen, they are not all suitable for children, so be sure to screen them yourself before watching with kids.
- Explained: The Racial Wealth Gap (to help understand the concept of “white privilege”)
- Time: The Kalief Browder Story (true crime docuseries – the story of a teenager wrongfully charged with theft and jailed at Riker’s Island prison for over 1,000 days)
- When They See Us (true crime docuseries – based on the Central Park jogger case. 5 teenage boys wrongfully convicted of a crime they did not commit
- 13th (documentary – analyzing the criminalization of African Americans and the U.S. prison boom)
- Who killed Malcolm X? (an insight into Malcolm X, his beliefs and his mysterious death)
As a believer, I am heartbroken over injustice in all its forms and praying for the peace that will only come through racial reconciliation.
As a ministry leader, I am wrestling with how we equip our churches to help kids and families tackle racism in a Biblical way.
As a white woman living in a suburb of Atlanta, I am doing what I can to educate myself and take peaceful action alongside my BIPOC friends.
As a mom, I am researching tools, books, and daily habits I can use to help raise my daughter to love and respect all people.
As a human, I am on the side of love, even when that means confronting my own discomfort.