Liz Kleinrock told her elementary students that one reason why racism exists is because light skinned people have looked down at people with dark skin. People will even use reasons as excuses to dehumanize them. She explains that reason why they were learning racism was to teach them to understand and know better.
It is not teach them what to think, but it's about giving them the tools, strategies, languages, and opportunities to practice how to think. Kleinrock believes this approach to teaching should also be taught as if she were teaching kids how to read or do math.
A disservice to the students would be to act like the students aren’t capable of having these conversations. Although these topics may be intimidating when talking to students, even younger kids can differentiate between things that are fair and what is equal.
The idea of consent is often associated with sex, but it can be very well taught to third-graders without any mention of it. Consent is about boundaries, and the fact that different people have different levels of comfort with their boundaries. Kids get it.
All of Kleinrocks’ students think that not only are they capable of having these conversations, but they view this as a right to learn, not a privilege, since these topics will be impacting their lives as well.