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Our Skin. A first conversation about race

Our Skin. A first conversation about race

Video Transcription

A transcription in case you are more of a reader than a listener

A book for talking to young children about racism.

Hi, I’m Cath Hak, and welcome to Sex Ed Rescue. Sex Ed Rescue is my website, which is where I help parents to find a better and easier way to talk to their kids about sex education. So, love, sex, relationships, growing up, a whole range of different conversations. And one of the first conversations that we can have with children is about diversity. And this book is about diversity and skin, which is also about skin colour and racism.

And it’s a lovely little book. This is a series of books. There’s one on gender, which I’ve also reviewed, and I’m in the process of tracking down the consent one as well. And I’m quite curious to see what other books I have. Sorry.

This is a library book and it’s got a funny plastic wrapping and it keeps showing up as a glare, so it’s called Our Skin the First Conversation About Race, written by Megan Madison, Jessica Raleigh and Isabelle Watson is the illustrator. So this is a board book, which is what I like about it. It’s just perfect for younger children. What I really liked was the start. It starts off, we all have skin, it comes in different colours, and an elephant.

This is the first book that I’ve seen that actually, when I saw an elephant, I just thought, wow, elephants are covered in skin. They’re not covered in fur like a snake. It’s covered in skin. But I just thought it was just wonderful that here was this elephant popped in. And that’s also something younger children can relate to.

So it talks about all the different skin colours that you see and all the different tones, and how even in one family can have different colours. And I love the fact that it also has questions. So what about in your family? What do you love about your skin? So there’s constant questions there, which can help with conversation as well.

And then it talks about how we get the colour in our skin and what it means. Then we use about some of the words that we can use to describe people with different coloured skin. And it’s got a lot of different group names, groups of people around the world. And then it’s about the fact that even though we’ve got this different colour skin, it doesn’t actually tell you about a person. If a person has skin this colour, it doesn’t tell us that they love rice bubbles for breakfast, or that they like to sing in the shower.

It doesn’t tell us anything about them. It’s just a part of how they look. It has nothing to do with what’s on the inside. So when we look at racism and the history of racism and stuff, what I like about this book is it actually dives into some of that stuff. So then it mentions about the fact of how that way back in the past, different groups were sorted into different labels melanian, Mongolian, Caucasian, and how there was a belief that having white skin meant that you were better, smarter.

And then it goes about how that’s not true, then it goes into racism. An example. So here’s a great example of a teacher standing here saying, Silent. This person is walking up silently, but look at these kids here. So why are they allowed to run up there but this child isn’t?

So this is a question you could say to your child and then you could go and give an example, what else have we got about? And then just different examples of how racism can play out into play and how it’s about being fair and treating people respectfully. And then this information at the back with ideas on how to continue the conversation. So, look, I really liked this book. I thought it was great.

I wish it was a book. My kids are now, at the time of recording this, 16 and nearly 13. I really wish this book had been around when my kids were younger, because it’s those little things like you go to the park and they go, Why has that person got black skin or something? And here I am, sitting here on my white skin with white children. And as a parent growing up in Australia, I don’t want my children to grow up racist.

I don’t want them growing up with bigger views about people with different skin colour to them. And as a parent, you hear kids say this in your automatic thought is you have these fears of racism, but all they’re doing is just pointing out the difference. So a book like this can be great. You can borrow this from the library or buy a copy and you can sit there and you can go, well, hey, you know how we were at the park the other day and you asked me about why that person had black skin? Well, I bought a book that would help us with talking about this, so that could be just a nice, comfortable way to lead into the conversation.

Books like this is just really important, because what I have found about parents who want to do sex education, who want to have these conversations with their kids, is that we all want the same thing. We want our kids to grow up to be nice people. We want them to help make the world a better place and to keep it a better place. And a good way to do that is by growing up kids who are inclusive, who aren’t going to exclude people based on their skin colour and also ability. It will be interesting to see if these offers also have a book coming up on different abilities and disability as well.

I’d really like to see them tackle that one. Anyway, great book to have. And as I’ve said, my kids were younger. This is a book buying and I would be having on out bookshelves. Because the messages in this are a message that’s going to last through their whole lifetime.

Okay. I hope you find that helpful. Cheers.

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