This episode is part of a series on understanding the intersection of race, privilege, and parenting. Click here to view all the items in this series.
I’d always assumed that if I didn’t mention race to my daughter, if it was just a non-issue, that she wouldn’t grow up to be racist. Boy, was I wrong about that. It turns out that our brains are wired to make generalizations about people, and race is a pretty obviously noticeable way of categorizing people. If your child is older than three, try tearing a few pictures of white people and a few more of black people out of a magazine and ask him to group them any way he likes. Based on the research, I’d put money on him sorting the pictures by race.
So what have we learned about reversing racism once it has already developed? How can we prevent our children from becoming racist in the first place? And where do they learn these things anyway? (Surprise: “We have met the enemy, and he is us.”)
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