How do you avoid talking about race? I don't get it. Granted, my child has dark olive skin and we live in a very white area, so we get comments about his skin color that make it impossible to avoid speaking about race, but even without that, I remember being horrified when we walked through the grocery store once when he was 3 or 4 and he said loudly, "I don't like that man. His skin is brown." OMG - it is still one of the most horrifying moments of my life as a parent, but it did lead to a lot of good discussions about race and skin color. And this is a child who has gotten the "Outside appearances don't matter" message consistently since birth, and a child who himself is identified by the people around him as not-white.
In 4K, he had a teacher who discussed Martin Luther King Jr. and slavery with the children. At the time, I had mixed feelings about it (did he really need to know at that age how ugly people can be to one another?). Now that I see where he is on race issues (at age 6 1/2) in relation to other the other kids we know in the area who did not have the same curriculum, I feel more comfortable that it was an appropriate subject to cover with preschoolers.
Well, we've managed to avoid it with my 6-1/2yo ds DESPITE the fact that we (who are Cauc) live in a heavily Hispanic town and have fostered children who are Hispanic and AA, had a close relationship with my mixed AA-Cauc half-brother and his family (who have since moved away ), AND adopted a very obviously Hispanic daughter . It just honest-to-God never came up.
That being said, after reading this thread, it's apparently time.
Thanks for the links.