How to Discuss Racial Injustice with Your Child

by Jeff Jones

How to Discuss Racial Injustice

In moments of crisis and conflict, we often wonder, “What can I do?” and, “How do we talk about this?” It can be hard to know where to start, and that can keep us from discussing conflict at all.

We wanted to give you some tools to help you talk about the recent incidents of racial injustice in our country. Below you will find questions to discuss with your children and your small group. And we’ll share a few ideas of what you can do. As you think about having conversations about this, here are a few suggestions:

  • Pray before you start. Ask God for discernment, wisdom, and the ability to really listen.
  • Prepare and be proactive at the beginning of the conversation. Say something like, “Before we get started, I want to acknowledge the very difficult recent events in our communities and country and take a few minutes to talk about it as a group.”
  • State the purpose. Say something like, “Our purpose is to give ourselves an opportunity to air our feelings in a safe space.”
  • Establish ground rules. Say something like, “Before we talk, I ask that we are gentle and respectful with one another, since we may not all have the same experiences or see things the same way. It’s also okay if you don’t want to share.”
  • Demonstrate empathy. Try to understand each person’s point of view and feelings while acknowledging that theirs may be different than your own.
  • Don’t have all the answers. Don’t put the pressure on yourself to know everything (because, let’s face it, you don’t, but neither does anyone else!) Empathy, active listening, and a calm presence are enough.

Start to Talk About It

With Our Children

  • How would you describe the recent incidents of violence and anger toward people of color in our country?
  • Why do you think this is happening?
  • Who do you know that has a different skin color than you?
  • What can you do to be a good friend to them?
  • How can you help make a difference?

With Our Small Group

  • Growing up, did you have friendships with people of different races? Was anything challenging about those friendships? If so, what?
  • On a scale of 1-10, how comfortable are you in engaging in conversations about race and racism?
  • What emotions did you feel as you witnessed recent examples of racial injustice in our nation, states, and cities?
  • Do those emotions feel healthy or unhealthy? For you personally, what is the difference between healthy and unhealthy emotions?
  • Is there a right way for us to respond as followers of Jesus? How do we respond as individuals? As a group?
  • Read Galatians 5:13-15 together. How does what Paul said to the Galatians sit with you right now?
  • Pray together as a group.

With Our Small Group

  • Talk to someone who looks different than you. Ask questions. Be open and willing to listen.
  • Learn about race and racism. Go somewhere where you are a minority. Discuss what you are learning with others (see resources below).
  • Support organizations that are on the front lines of the fight for racial justice. Talk to your local police and inquire about racial justice education.

Additional Resources

Be the Bridge: 10 Things Every Racial Bridge-Builder Should Know by

How to Talk to Kids About Racism: An Age-by-Age Guide by Alex Mlynek

We Are a Salad, Not a Soup by Jeff Jones


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