Shut! Racism is a secret; there are children near you...

by Vanessa Ex on October 19, 2015 - 11:18pm

The article “ It’s My Job to Raise Children Who Are Not Only Not Racist But Actively Anti-Racist “ published on the first of July 2015 and written by Mandy Hitchcock illustrates an aspect of racism in society from a different point of view due to the fact that she is a White mother of a four year old White son. The author demonstrates various facts in order to emphases the problem of racism in the United States. She mentions the tragic events of southern black churches burned and the countless unarmed black men, women and children who have been killed by police officers who are the same ones that are in charge to bring them safety.  She explains how privileged she is about not constantly being fearful of loosing her life or her son’s life due to their skin color. Therefore, she might feel lucky to not have to deal with direct racism and to not feel any duty to teach her son about it, because they are not victims of racism. With an ironic tone, she exaggerates her relief about having the possibility as a White mother to not do anything about this issue. She mentions it as a ‘luxury’.  Then, the author adds an interesting fact stipulating that it is important for parents to talk and inform their children about race and racism when they are young. Knowing that black four-year-old children are far more likely to be suspended from preschool than their peers, should people stay silent on this issue and enjoy quietly their privilege based on injustice? Her answer is: No! She strongly encourages White Americans to inform their own children about white privilege in order to fight racism.  It is to them to raise the new generation where white children will no longer be racist and will end racial discrimination. The author mentions the fact that many White mothers or fathers might feel uncertain or uncomfortable to teach their own children about an issue that they do not really know about. However, she comes up with various ideas and solutions, which are: joining a local group that sensitize people about racism, read articles about the issue on internet, and ask for librarian help in the library to find relevant sources.

 

I personally find this article interesting on the fact that it informs the reader on racism and on the American’s parents’ responsibility. The mother, who wrote the article, specifies the importance of talking to children about racial issue. That reminds me the main point of another article entitled ”Children Are Not Colorblind: How Young Children Learn Race”. At the very beginning, it states many false ideas that parents may have such as “ children (…) cannot develop racial prejudices until they are explicitly taught to do so. This common argument leads many adults to think that it is not necessary to talk about race and racism to young children. However, the rest of the article demonstrates why it is important to do so.  It is shown that children re highly influenced by their parents and their environment. Some of them developed racist attitudes towards others and some adults or older individuals may think it is the parent’s fault when it is not. In this article, a study shows that children are highly adaptable to their surrounding and like racial attitudes practice those are learned through their peers like an accent. Even if a child has immigrant parents who speak English with a foreigner accent, the child will speak perfectly English if he is born in this Anglophone environment. Therefore, knowing that society is shapes children mentality and daily habits, it is even more important for parents to act. The article “ It’s My Job to Raise Children Who Are Not Only Not Racist But Actively Anti-Racist “ completes this idea by bringing this aspect of White parents taking an active role in this issue that have subsisted for too long.

It is often easy to simply blame ‘society’ for all the injustices observed in the world. I am not blaming anyone for this, knowing that I am the first doing this. This author illustrates a clear problem and brings effective solutions. Therefore, this article is not a message of despair but a message of hope and active change. 

Comments

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First of all, I wanted to comment this post because I feel like it is extremely important to teach your children about racism, regardless of your own skin colour. It is sad to hear, but the fact is you are advantaged if you are born in a white family compared to black family. As a kid, if you are black in an environment of white people majority, you will most likely be racially bullied as mentionned in the article '' It’s My Job to Raise Children Who Are Not Only Not Racist But Actively Anti-Racist ''. The post mentions how important it is for parents to actively teach their children how to counter racism, rather than simply not being racist. Just like you explained in you andswer and as we learned in class with the Jane Elliot experiment, children tend to learn racism at a very young age, which further demonstrates the importance of teaching children about racism at a very young age. While it might be hard to talk about your children if you are a white person and have never witnessed racism at a young age, I feel that the article gave very good ways to counter the problem. Things like: joining a local group that sensitize people about racism, read articles about the issue on internet, and ask for librarian help in the library to find relevant sources are all good ideas to help parents in teaching their children about racism and that, in my opinion, is the most important part of the article, which was very well summarized and explained by you.

First of all, I wanted to congratulate you on your post. You made a good summary of the text you read and analyzed it well. Your argument about the fact that children learn racism not only from their parents made me wonder if you ever thought about linking your article with sexism as society also has a role in it. I was wondering this as sexism just like racism can be learned in a school yard by observing others or by any other social activities. You could have for example said that parents should also teach their children how not to discriminate based on someone’s race, gender and more. You could also have inserted intersectionality in your text as black boys are often more seen as the bully since they are male and from another race. Intersectionality is the when many system of injustice overlap to reinforce each other and my teacher also said that when one system of injustice is accepted, others are more easily accepted. If so, you could have argued that parents should not only teach their children to be anti-racist but also anti-sexist or even to not discriminate at all. To conclude, you text was really good at exposing the duty of the parents to teach their children to not be racist and I feel it would strengthen your point of parents duties if you talked about sexism and intersectionality.

If you are interested with intersectionality here is a link explaining it: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intersectionality

I strongly agree with the arguments made in the article as well as your analysis of it. The difference between being not racist and actively anti-racist is night and day, as the former can suggest apathy towards racism while the latter definitively expresses a firm and active stance against racism. A fundamental lesson I’ve learnt from my course (which is also revolves around discrimination but that of gender rather than race) is that it is very difficult to understand another person’s experiences and the degree to which it may affect them, especially when it comes to discrimination. This is because it requires a person to relate to something that is completely foreign to them. While this concept is simple, it isn’t something you can really wrap your head around until you’ve learnt the ideologies, studied readings and watched documentaries about people’s struggle. This is also why it is important to educate everyone from a young age about discrimination; not simply that it exists but also about the experiences that other people may have had and the privileges of not having to worry about these problems ourselves.
Another reason why it is important to properly teach children about discrimination is because there is a lack of proper education on the topics. In Mandy Hitchcock’s article, she mentions that “[p]arents assume racism is taught, and if racism is taught, then as long as they don’t teach it, they have done their jobs”. This assumption isn’t unjustified considering many schools nowadays commemorate it by having Black History Month take place at their school. But the way schools communicates the struggles of black people is very censored. In Ta-Nehisi Coates, an African American writer’s “Between the World and Me”¸ he explains that there was a fundamental difference with the history that was being taught at school and the reality he was learning and living at home. If schools are abstracting the perspective of what is being taught, then children are consequently going to have a lesser understanding of the degree of discrimination felt by other races.
If you want to have a deeper understanding of how black people are misperceived, I would recommend the documentary “Beyond Beats and Rhymes” by Byron Hurt. While I haven’t completely finished it itself, the portion that I have watched shows how black people and their values are often misperceived because of what the media has distorted it to become. It is definitely interesting and worth watching.

Hi, I find your post really progressive because like you said at the end, it is a message of hope and active change.

I am taking the course of Gendered World Views and found that all what you have said about race can be applied to gender. Here is why.
Children can develop racial but also gendered prejudices at a young age, influenced by their parents and environment. One of the first questions my teacher asked the class is: “Why are robots for boys and Barbies for girls?” The answer is simply that kids see other kids play with assigned gendered toys and are likely to imitate their peers.
You mentioned that black children are more likely to be suspended from school, but I would be more specific and say that black male children are more likely to be suspended from school. The reason has to do with intersectionality, which is an exponential function and not a simple addition (when race intersect with gender, it is not a good thing) and also gender. The example is thoroughly explained in the book Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates (http://www.amazon.ca/Between-World-Me-Ta-Nehisi-Coates/dp/0812993543). In short, it says “Not being violent enough could cost me my body. Being too violent could cost me my body” because black boys usually grow up in a very violent environment, but they need to lower this violence every time they go to the outside world (school, church, malls, etc) (Coates). Therefore, is the black boy, his parents or the society responsible for his violence?

To conclude, education is indeed very important because it helps to make people understand and hopefully accept all of the behaviors influenced by very subtle environmental elements.
Have a nice day!

To begin, I strongly agree with your article, which is why I would like to add my point of view on the topic! I believe the problem is mostly due to white privilege, which is when a population is advantaged because of their race and therefore believes that there is equality for all since they have never been a victim of discrimination nor inequality. Therefore that is why the sensitization of everyone is important. I believe that it would create an understanding of the problem to a wide range of people, especially those who have been benefitting from white privilege, which they have constantly been in denial of because of the lack of “proof”. However, I also believe that the education of our children about race is extremely important. Teaching children that the difference in race has no significant meaning will lead to a more open and less racist community. Obviously, there will still be people who have been brought up with the idea of racial hierarchy, however it is a great way to start. Racial discrimination was created in the past, we are now in the 21st century and therefore it is time to leave the past in the past and move into brighter things like equality. Regardless of the fact that the fight of equality has already begun, media coverage on events such as #pray4paris show that we still have a long way to go in order to achieve equality and that is why drastic change must start NOW. Hence, even though many people are well aware about the severe inequality in our world for many different minority groups, do you still believe that pure equality is achievable?

References
Nouvet, A. (Fall 2015). White_Privilege [Powerpoint]. Retrieved December 4, 2015 from Champlain College St-Lambert Lea website: https://www-c35.omnivox.ca/cvir/ddle/ListeDocuments.aspx?C=CHS&E=P&L=ANG...