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TALKING WITH WHITE KIDS ABOUT RACISM PART ONE: WHEN TO TALK by Paige Lucas Stannard

(This article is the first installment in a three part series for white parents. In Part I I’ll discuss why starting at an early age is essential. In Part II I’ll look at some resources and conversation starters for actually having these important talks. Finally, in Part III I’ll be answering parent questions about prejudice in kids. If you have a question, I’d love to hear from you! Please contact me on Facebook.)

Have you ever been walking outdoors and nearly jumped out of your skin at what you think is a snake? With your heartbeat accelerated in preparation for fight or flight, and your breath stopping and starting in gasps of fear, you then realize it was a just a particularly curvy stick. Thanks

for the near heart attack, stick! The fear of some things, like snakes, is literally hardwired into our brain. Fear of snakes, along with heights, spiders, and enclosed spaces are called prepared fears. We aren’t born with them per se but primed to develop them. These fears are nearly universal, occurring in all societies across the planet and are thought to be based on the survival needs of our early hominid ancestors. Arne Öhman, a psychologist at the Karolinska Institute and Hospital in Stockholm, Sweden says, “[Our ancestors] brains certainly had to be effective

NATURAL MOTHER MAGAZINE | 59


May 2016