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Dr. Ibram X. Kendi hopes to nip racism in the bud by speaking directly to toddlers

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Goodnight Racism is illustrated by Cbabi Bayoc
Goodnight Racism, the new book from Dr. Ibram X. Kendi shares a practical way to start conversations about race with the children in your life. Research shows that three-year-olds assign values to people based on their skin color. These conversations can't start too soon.

Dr. Ibram X. Kendi, the New York Times bestselling author and one of our nation’s foremost historians, joins us to talk about his new book “Good Night Racism.” While known in certain circles and definitely famous in Black world and Academia, Dr. Kendi shot into the public consciousness when a Texas senator held up his book “How to Raise An Anitracist Baby” during a televised Senate hearing to confirm Supreme Court Justice Katanji Brown. Despite the Senator’s maligning, all five books he held up experienced an 800% increase in sales. Dr. Kendi will be speaking at Agnes Scott College this evening (June 18th at 7PM). His event is brought to Atlanta by Agnes Scott College, 44th and 3rd Bookseller, and The Little Shop of Stories in downtown Decatur. Dr. Kendi, welcome to The Local Take.

I ask Dr. Kendi why he decided to tackle racism at the infant phase, so to speak, and he shares that the truth is that infants are nurtured to see the differences in people and to apply qualities to those differences. We can’t ignore the racist messages that toddlers are vulnerable to receiving. I ask about parents who say speaking about racism will remove children’s innocence. Dr. Kendi responds that parents have many different conversations with their children.

Discussions about being kind, thoughtful, and sharing should go along with talks about race and differences in skin color and hair texture. These differences don’t make a person better or worst. Parents need to reinforce messages against racist thoughts. Dr. Kendi shares that reading Goodnight Racism is an engaging way for kids to imagine a world without racism where everyone is treated equally.

I ask Dr. Kendi what participants can expect from his event at Agnes Scott College this evening. He says this will be his first public reading of Goodnight Racism. His mother and wife are both from Georgia, and he feels like he’s coming home.

For more information on Dr. Ibram X. Kendi 
For more information on Dr. Kendi at Agnes Scott
For more information on Goodnight Racism