White Privileges

by Michelle on October 19, 2015 - 11:40am

In the article ‘’Talking About Racism With White Kids’’ written by KJ Dell’antonia in the New York Times in 2014, the author discusses the fact that white parents have to talk about races with their white children. She argues how difficult talking about race with kids is: there are so many things to tell, and after the parent have many questions. Did they explain it well enough? Was it clear? Dell’antonia, after talking about race with her son, was full of worries-had she done it clear enough and good enough? According to Rebecca Bigler, professor of psychology and women’s and gender studies at the University of Texas at Austin and an expert on gender and racial attitudes and the formation of stereotypes, the worry a parent experiences after the race talk is good, and even wanted, because that is how you know you it was deep enough. As stated by the author, the quote by Naomi Zack, a professor of philosophy at the University of Oregon and the author of “The Ethics and Mores of Race: Equality After the History of Philosophy”: ‘’Stack up discomfort, difficult conversations, guilt and worry against the nonwhite reality’’. The author uses this quote to explain what white privilege is: whites not having the race talk.

 

I think that yes it is important to talk about race with children, but at the same time not to make it a big ‘’case’’. When I was a child, I went to a multi-cultural school, and I did not even realise the ‘’colour’’ kids were different than me, and I do not remember having a talk with my mother. Just on a side note, when I really noticed race-meaning it affected me-, was when I was in high school and I had a friend from another culture. She did not want to talk about her culture, she was bothered when I wanted to taste her food (while she could taste mine) and she did not explain to me what and why she was doing some stuff that bothered me. Not wanting to talk about the why she was doing these things, I found it really hard to still be friends with her, which then she was thinking I was being racist and not supporting her in her religion. We were 16 years old at the time, which is quite weird when thinking that she thought I was racist; which is really not the case. To come back to the article, I find that it is very difficult to talk about race with pre-schoolers, but as in the article ‘’Children Are Not Colorblind: How Young Children Learn Race’’, by Erin N. Wrinkler, she states the example of the psychologist Beverly Tatum (1997), about the young white girl saying to her mom that the black girl’s skin is dirty, we should not shh our kids. I see this quite often while working with kids: white parents just bring their kids away from black families, probably just not to talk about it with their child, or for him to stare. I find this too intense… Parents should just say to the child, whenever he is starting at the different child, to give a high five, or something like that, because I find that 2 years old, is a little bit young to be explaining why the child is different. I also read on another blog, that I cannot find anymore, how different it is from culture to culture: white parents can afford to choose to talk about race, while black families have to talk about it, at a very young age. As said in the article Talking About Racism With White Kids written by KJ Dell’antonia, this is a white privilege, that should not exist.  According to the article ’Children Are Not Colorblind: How Young Children Learn Race’’, by Erin N. Wrinkler, parents should talk about race, or just do things that will answer the child’s questions, and will not ignore the fact that race exists. I find that children are not stupid and racist, they are just not answered correctly by adults, who them are afraid to talk about race. It is not the fault of the children; it is the fault of the society that thinks of race as a taboo subject.

 

 

 

Dell’antonia, KJ. (November 25, 2014). ’Talking About Racism With White Kids. The New York Times. Retrieved from http://parenting.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/11/25/talking-about-racism-with-...

 

Comments

When skimming through the news activist site, the simple title White Privileges caught my eye. It intrigued me because I wanted to know more about the white privileged and in what way the subject was explored. I work with children so I am aware of how the children especially the younger ones act and are intrigued by other non white children around. I think it is very important for parents to talk about race with their children starting at a very young age. Children very young start to notice the difference in skin color. I think it is very important to help children understand these differences. If parents take the time to explain racial differences then these children will grow up with this knowledge and avoid different forms of racism because they will understand why some are different. They will learn to perceive them just as any other white male or female. By not discussing race with children the children will grow up thinking race is a taboo subject and most people fear what they don’t know. So if they are never taught about other races they will grow up with this preconceived mind that other races then themselves are seen as bad and not worthy. Having the this kind of talk with children is difficult because there is no right words or a right way to explain but the consequences of not saying anything is greater then actually trying to say something.

I was drawn in, just as the person who commented above me, by your title.
White privilege is undoubtedly a huge issue in our society but is one that struggles to be taken seriously as it faces intense backlash from right-leaning pundits.
I could be wrong, I don't presume to know more about your friend you had when you were 16 than you, that would be ridiculous, but it should be considered perhaps that people with cultural backgrounds that have significant differences from mainstream western culture face a significant pressure to open up and share it with whoever is interested. While this may not sound so bad, when you consider how much damage cultural appropriation has caused, it's important to stop and think twice if we're prying a bit too insistently.
As for the talk of race, I think you hit several good points. Children are not inherently racist, it's a case of nurture not nature, either parents give them a poor explanation and pass down their bigotry, or they choose not to talk about it with their children which is ultimately a crap shoot because the child will end up picking up on it from his environment, for better or for worse.
In conclusion, here's an interesting link to an article by an educator that talks not only about the importance of discussing race with children, but also gender, as children start to notice both these differences at about the same time.
http://www.rageagainsttheminivan.com/2012/01/how-to-talk-to-kids-about-r...

The title of your post is what caught my interest. The aspect of your article that interested me the most was that you mentioned how white parents should have the “race talk” with their children. You also mention that they shouldn’t make a big deal out of it. I disagree and think it is not necessary to have a “race talk” with children especially nowadays when we should be getting used to being around different cultures. I went to a multi-cultural elementary school where most of the students were black and then I attended a high school that was primarily filled with Caucasians. I never had a race talk from my parents because I was just used to the adults in my life informing me that we are going to meet people from different backgrounds but should not treat them differently or less. Since my class is Gendered World Views , I realize and come to the conclusion that children should be more informed about the LGBTQIA community. The population is constantly growing and even I have so many questions about them. Children should be educated about gender identity and gender expression now so they don’t question it later on and they’ll understand their situation just like we adapted to the different races that complete our society. I think people are more open to different cultures because of what our past has presented us. The only way we can grow as society is to take the next step forward and that is making the LGBTQIA community have a sense of belonging in our society. If you want to learn more about the new generation of individuals who are coming out as who they are meant to be, then read: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/10/fashion/generation-lgbtqia.html?_r=0