My little one had a question about race? How do we begin the conversation?
Not talking about or avoiding the subject is not a way to keep your child neutral, that is an urban myth. Know that children between 4.5-almost 8 are very concrete and begin to label their world and place things in buckets of information. Race, color of skin, power, gender, these are things that children in this age group are classifying and understanding. The parenting task is to give them your values, beliefs and ideas around all of these topics so they fill their knowledge buckets with your family's information. One way to begin the conversation is with books. Here are links to books I enjoy and recommend:
For the little ones (under 6) these are two I like that gets the conversation going about being different shades of skin color:
Color of his Own: http://amzn.to/1Wd8xNy
Shades of People: http://amzn.to/1SXWgHG
To speak about stereotypes and getting to know someone before you judge them:
The Little Bit Scary People: http://amzn.to/1XHmNwT
For a sense of self and an acceptance of who they are, I recommend this book for 6-10 year old. I used to read it with the Central American immigrant population I worked with in Los Angeles that often felt judged by "who and what they looked like.":
Looking Like Me: http://amzn.to/1VhxOqM
Use them to start talking to your kiddos about ALL subjects!