Talking About Race Does Not Mean You Are Racist

by Pascale.Bastien on September 29, 2014 - 7:50pm

“Talking to Kids About Race and Class” by Kelly Wallace on CNN from August 25th 2014, discusses the discomfort and unwillingness of parents to talk about race to their children. It also contains several testimonials of different parents expressing their point of view on the issue. Wallace argues that this apprehension is even more present since the fatal shooting of Michael Brown, an 18-years old African-American man who got killed by a white police officer, while he was unarmed. Different approaches are use by parents to inform their children about the reality of race and class. While some African-American mothers teach their children about the beauty of diversity, others focus on preparing them to confront the reality of racism and inequalities without emphasising differences. The discomfort of talking about racism seems to be more common for white parents. There is even more pressure for them to teach their children about the white privileges and to denounce the injustices so they do not grow up racists. To help abolish racism, it is suggested that parents openly talk with their children about race and class without being uncomfortable. Many African-American mothers are calling for help through blogs hoping that one day their children will grow up in a society where they will not be perceived differently because of their skin color.

 

Although this article is providing testimonies of mothers telling about their perceptive on children’s education of race and class, it is not clear why this topic makes some parents so uncomfortable. Wallace is pointing out the fact that it is sometimes harder for white parents to talk about race and class to their children; however, I think she should have more deeply analyzed this phenomenon. At first, it is easy to think that white parents have more trouble discussing about race because they do not experience racism like black people do in their everyday life. I realized by reading this article and by looking at the mothers’ testimonies that the cause of this discomfort is due to many other elements. Being myself a Caucasian, I firmly believe that we should denounce racism and fight against it. However, I feel I must constantly be careful about what I say because I am a white person, and something I am telling could be interpreted as racist even if it is not meant to be racist at all. It is very hard to define racism, and in my opinion, this is what restricts many people from talking about race and class because they do not want to be seen as racists. As mentioned in the article, all parents should talk to their children about race and I totally agree with that. Nevertheless, I disagree with the mother’s testimony that says she always reminds her daughter that she is going to be looked at differently because she is black. It is frustrating to see that so many people are making efforts to fight racism and that there are still some black children that will grow up convinced they will be treated differently. Maybe by being more optimistic and by teaching children about the efforts that are made to counteract racism, people will stop emphasising differences and inequalities. I am not saying that we have to forget the past or deny the actual problems. I just think we also need to focus on positive things in order to have a society where everybody sees diversity as something beautiful.

 

Reference:

Wallace, K. (2014, August 25). Talking to kids about race and class. Retrieved September 20th 2014 from http://www.cnn.com/2014/08/22/living/talking-to-kids-race-class-parents/...

 

 

Comments

I find it interesting how it is mentioned how African-American mothers teach their daughters about the beauty of diversity while our mothers don’t, (so it seems). There are different ways to teach children about racism I agree, every parent was taught a certain way. Personally my parents had no difficulty teaching to me about diversity, they even encouraged me to make friends with different skin color than me to better understand see how the same we are, I am white and had friends in the same apartment building as I who were black. We got stared at when we would play outside or ride our bikes together but we didn’t care we kept on going, we didn’t understand I agree why they were staring but it didn’t bother us. I think it depends on the parents, some yes might have trouble but not all white parents have a hard time teaching this to their children. I fully agree with your point when you said it is not clear why this topic makes some parents so uncomfortable, I fully agree with you and think the same way. It shouldn’t, I believe they should embrace diversity and get comfortable with the subject. You bring very interesting points near the end of your blog, it is a very good possibility that some white parents have a hard time since they have not lived it, something that I didn’t think of into depth. Lastly I agree that we shouldn’t forget the past but embrace it and use it as a learning tool for the future generation