| Register  | FAQ  | Search | Login 
It is currently Sun Apr 20, 2014 7:50 am

All times are UTC - 6 hours [ DST ]




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 63 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2, 3  Next
Author Message
 Post subject: Talking to Children about Race
PostPosted: Fri Feb 22, 2013 2:34 pm 
Semen Strong
User avatar
Offline

Joined: Tue Oct 19, 2010 7:10 pm
Posts: 18627
Location: Cliffbar NJ
I thought this was an interesting article on how children develop racial biases. In particular, it was really interesting to see how early children start to notice differences in race (6 months) and that many parents don't address those differences, because they feel uncomfortable having conversations about race and believe that by not mentioning race until later, children can grow up "colorblind." And so children are left to construct what race means on their own without much guidance, and researchers were surprised by what children believe, because even where the adults believed they were teaching tolerance, the children had clear biases for their own race and against others.

In studies, those conversations about interracial friendships were key to improving children's racial attitudes, and did so in a very short amount of time.

Quote:
For the early formative years, at least, [most parents] believe we should let children know a time when skin color does not matter. What parents say depends heavily on their own race: a 2007 study in the Journal of Marriage and Family found that out of 17,000 families with kindergartners, nonwhite parents are about three times more likely to discuss race than white parents; 75 percent of the latter never, or almost never, talk about race.

In our new book, NurtureShock, we argue that many modern strategies for nurturing children are backfiring—because key twists in the science have been overlooked. Small corrections in our thinking today could alter the character of society long term, one future citizen at a time. The way white families introduce the concept of race to their children is a prime example.

For decades, it was assumed that children see race only when society points it out to them. However, child-development researchers have increasingly begun to question that presumption. They argue that children see racial differences as much as they see the difference between pink and blue—but we tell kids that "pink" means for girls and "blue" is for boys. "White" and "black" are mysteries we leave them to figure out on their own.

It takes remarkably little for children to develop in-group preferences. Vittrup's mentor at the University of Texas, Rebecca Bigler, ran an experiment in three preschool classrooms, where 4- and 5-year-olds were lined up and given T shirts. Half the kids were randomly given blue T shirts, half red. The children wore the shirts for three weeks. During that time, the teachers never mentioned their colors and never grouped the kids by shirt color.

The kids didn't segregate in their behavior. They played with each other freely at recess. But when asked which color team was better to belong to, or which team might win a race, they chose their own color. They believed they were smarter than the other color. "The Reds never showed hatred for Blues," Bigler observed. "It was more like, 'Blues are fine, but not as good as us.' " When Reds were asked how many Reds were nice, they'd answer, "All of us." Asked how many Blues were nice, they'd answer, "Some." Some of the Blues were mean, and some were dumb—but not the Reds.

Bigler's experiment seems to show how children will use whatever you give them to create divisions—seeming to confirm that race becomes an issue only if we make it an issue. So why does Bigler think it's important to talk to children about race as early as the age of 3?

Her reasoning is that kids are developmentally prone to in-group favoritism; they're going to form these preferences on their own. Children naturally try to categorize everything, and the attribute they rely on is that which is the most clearly visible.

We might imagine we're creating color-blind environments for children, but differences in skin color or hair or weight are like differences in gender—they're plainly visible. Even if no teacher or parent mentions race, kids will use skin color on their own, the same way they use T-shirt colors. Bigler contends that children extend their shared appearances much further—believing that those who look similar to them enjoy the same things they do. Anything a child doesn't like thus belongs to those who look the least similar to him. The spontaneous tendency to assume your group shares characteristics—such as niceness, or smarts—is called essentialism.


Its hard to figure out how to have the conversations about race with children (and the article linked above does a good job on showing the pitfalls), but we can't just let them figure it out themselves, because they do live in a world where race matters. As an example, I read a really good article by an Asian American who talked about how all along his education, choices were made for him and his talents were nurtured in different ways based on what his teachers and coaches thought was "right" for Asians. He also talks about feeling the other "cool kids" move away from him as he got older and shut him out. http://therumpus.net/2012/09/different- ... ar-models/

I also don't want to step over the fact that the quote says that gender is plainly visible, which is not always the case. But there are lots of gender cues that we teach kids - pink, long hair versus blue and short hair to name a few, and so there is a conversation happening about gender, but it may well benefit from tweaking to move away from a cis- identified binary and towards more tolerance, and a reminder that there are no hard and fast gender divisions - girls or boys don't have to do X and they also get to do Y as well, if that is something they are interested in.

This is the very start of the conversation for us, so I'd really appreciate hearing from people about what their thoughts are!

_________________
But on a cold winter night, when the wind whispers through the trees and a bright, white moon hangs heavy in the air, you might hear a sad cry like someone thinking he knows what's best for you, and that'll be the white man a-passin' you by. just mumbles


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Talking to Children about Race
PostPosted: Fri Feb 22, 2013 2:44 pm 
Has it on Blue Vinyl
Offline

Joined: Sun Oct 24, 2010 6:15 pm
Posts: 2191
Hey, I sort of wrote my thesis on this! I think the chapter in Nurtureshock is interesting but also has some obvious problems--like the assumption that kids in progressive preschools only get ideas about race from natural ideas about in-groups and out-groups and not also from living in a racist society--but I still think it's good reading.

_________________
"No one with hair so soft and glossy could ever be bad at anything." - Tofulish


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Talking to Children about Race
PostPosted: Fri Feb 22, 2013 2:48 pm 
Semen Strong
User avatar
Offline

Joined: Tue Oct 19, 2010 7:10 pm
Posts: 18627
Location: Cliffbar NJ
So cool! I'd love to hear your thoughts on how to have the conversation! Also any resources would be much appreciated.

At least from the piece here, I thought they were focusing on the fact that even if the children weren't living in a racist society, they would still find ways to distinguish and that race is an easy way to do so. The parents they were discussing are described as "It was no surprise that in a liberal city like Austin, every parent was a welcoming multiculturalist, embracing diversity." So even without being exposed to open racism, children would still gravitate to others of the same race.

_________________
But on a cold winter night, when the wind whispers through the trees and a bright, white moon hangs heavy in the air, you might hear a sad cry like someone thinking he knows what's best for you, and that'll be the white man a-passin' you by. just mumbles


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Talking to Children about Race
PostPosted: Fri Feb 22, 2013 2:57 pm 
Level 7 Vegan
User avatar
Offline

Joined: Wed Oct 20, 2010 2:08 pm
Posts: 1573
I need more time to read the stuff Tlish posted but I'm very interested - D has a new preschool teacher who is black and she seems a little more reticent about him than the other white teacher, so I can't help but wonder...


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Talking to Children about Race
PostPosted: Fri Feb 22, 2013 3:13 pm 
Naked Under Apron
User avatar
Offline

Joined: Fri Nov 05, 2010 9:57 am
Posts: 1770
Location: Scotland
I'm waiting for my kids to say something about race first because my kids don't seem to care -- they've never said anything that makes me even think they've even noticed or considered it. Despite living in a particularly white area of Scotland, our friends are different races, and although we're white, our extended families are like a Benetton commercial or something.

God, I hope that doesn't make me sound like one of those "black people like me" folks!! It's just totally not a big deal for us and I want to keep it that way.

(As far as gender goes, my kids both had long hair until recently (I had cropped hair until last year) and were mistaken for girls all the time. I let Beetroot wear nail polish when he saw me putting some on (Raygold just wanted his big toenails painted pink and blue, so we did that, too) and didn't correct him when he told me he was going to turn into a princess on his 4th birthday.)

_________________
http://reallycrabbycrafter.blogspot.com
http://www.etsy.com/shop/TheTartanVicar


Last edited by TheCrabbyCrafter on Fri Feb 22, 2013 3:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Top
 Profile WWW  
 
 Post subject: Re: Talking to Children about Race
PostPosted: Fri Feb 22, 2013 3:14 pm 
Naked Under Apron
User avatar
Offline

Joined: Fri Nov 05, 2010 9:57 am
Posts: 1770
Location: Scotland
Weird double-post. sorry.

_________________
http://reallycrabbycrafter.blogspot.com
http://www.etsy.com/shop/TheTartanVicar


Top
 Profile WWW  
 
 Post subject: Re: Talking to Children about Race
PostPosted: Fri Feb 22, 2013 3:27 pm 
Trapped On A Desert Island With A Cow
Offline

Joined: Wed Oct 03, 2012 1:00 am
Posts: 402
That was a really interesting read. We have a very multicultural family, and my kids are biracial, so they see a lot of people from different races right in their family. I also realized a while back that with one exception, all of my friends' kids are biracial too, so maybe that's the norm my kids will think of and will wonder why other people have parents who look the same. I tend to talk to them about things as they come up, but it sounds like this article is suggesting that parents be more proactive than that.

A little funny though. I read the OP and was thinking about it when I went back to playing with DS. He asked my why my hand had colors. I was all set to have a great discussion about race and skin color when I looked down and remembered that we had been playing with food coloring and my hands look like a rainbow. So I guess the advice I would have is before you answer your kid's heavy questions, make sure that's what he's asking.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Talking to Children about Race
PostPosted: Fri Feb 22, 2013 3:31 pm 
Seagull of the PPK
User avatar
Offline

Joined: Tue Oct 19, 2010 6:46 pm
Posts: 7211
Location: Brasil
i read this article and linked through to the articles about "a different kind of racism", etc etc. Which made me think a lot today.

(my kid is half asian and half white, which maybe colors my thinking as an overthinking parent, although ideally all people get to have challenging thought about race. and gender and categories and perceptions in general)

i have a lot of thoughts about this but the nutshell version (as my daughter is doing her best termite imitation and eating every frigging thing in the kitchen before dinner) of my experience as a parent and a HS teacher is this:

-kids may not ask themselves obvious questions about race and stereotypes without being challenged to do so.
-even if they're challenged they may not think about it- OR they may not draw the conclusions that you would expect/hope they would
and most importantly
-kids need to know that EVERYONE sometimes has funny ideas about people that are wrong, and it's OK to change your mind. Sharing your own experience with a kid may help them to think differently. I have told my kid about my own idiotic comments about my black friend's hair (which as a kid i didn't know any better but probably drove her nuts), about growing up with an Indian family next door when I was a kid (and the neighbors complained about Mrs Bhatt's food smelling funny. Now my neighbors complain about my food smelling funny.).

Also, the kids are growing up in a racist society. Even with a thinking, engaged parent/teacher they are swimming against the current. And kids like to test boundaries and even with guidance and provoking conversation they may say things that make the parent catch their breath. It's ongoing and we can go back to the last point to keep conversation going and education moving. Today I blew my daughter's mind when she used the word "bisque" and I asked her to think a little more deeply about it and why we use it. She's not a sexist patriarchical oppressor, but she didn't realize how oppression looms so large that she can't even see it.

this is disjointed but i hope my main point comes across, the kid is eating dry TVP and i need to skedaddle.

ETA: i'll post more later, i asked her to consider what her opinion was about what colors and genders kids' baby dolls should be and we had a really interesting conversation.

_________________
Buddha says 'Meh'.--matwinser
I'm just a drunk who likes fruit. -- Desdemona


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Talking to Children about Race
PostPosted: Fri Feb 22, 2013 4:00 pm 
Should Write a Goddam Book Already
User avatar
Offline

Joined: Sun Nov 20, 2011 12:16 pm
Posts: 1045
Location: ATX
This is really interesting! I have Nurtureshock and haven't read it yet -- this is from the book?

My husband and I were just talking about how to address racial issues. Recently I've been noticing that despite living, like, next to Mexico, the vast majority of people we know (and all of Sven's toddler buddies) are white. All the cute little preschools we tour? Full of white kids. All the stay at home moms at yoga? White. It feels...uncomfortable? Kind of like we're kind of doing something wrong in our multicultural society. I don't want my kid growing up with a racial bias!


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Talking to Children about Race
PostPosted: Fri Feb 22, 2013 4:23 pm 
Semen Strong
User avatar
Offline

Joined: Tue Oct 19, 2010 7:10 pm
Posts: 18627
Location: Cliffbar NJ
I thought it was interesting that they start to see differences so young. I'm South Asian, my partner is white and Leela is mixed race. We have no South Asian family near us, so really, I'm the only South Asian she sees regularly, but she is fascinated by South Asian women. She will go up to random South Asians and try and get them to talk to her or play with her, and its hilarious. Its also interesting because they'll often say how beautiful she is for having such fair skin, which is kind of the opposite of what I want her to learn.

As an aside, she also has a fascination for bald men - seeing anyone with a shaven head will automatically make her smile. One of the bald men she was following around said that perhaps it was because his head looked like a boob, so who knows.

_________________
But on a cold winter night, when the wind whispers through the trees and a bright, white moon hangs heavy in the air, you might hear a sad cry like someone thinking he knows what's best for you, and that'll be the white man a-passin' you by. just mumbles


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Talking to Children about Race
PostPosted: Fri Feb 22, 2013 5:10 pm 
Trapped On A Desert Island With A Cow
Offline

Joined: Wed Oct 03, 2012 1:00 am
Posts: 402
That's really interesting Tofulish. My DH is Filipino and I'm of mixed Eastern European background. My husband only has brothers and I only have sisters, and my sister's husband is a black man from Panama. My Dad's partner is from Costa Rica. We joke that my kids are going to think that women are light skinned and men are dark skinned and wonder what happened to my dad.

Torque- Thank you for all of the points you made. My kids are too little to really be having too many conversations with right now, but it's good to keep all of that in mind as they get older.

I suspect that because of how many ways in which we are minorities, we will end up talking about race and culture much more than many families. It's good to hear how other parents handle it.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Talking to Children about Race
PostPosted: Fri Feb 22, 2013 5:41 pm 
***LIES!!!***
User avatar
Offline

Joined: Sun Feb 12, 2012 4:10 pm
Posts: 3436
Yeah, I agree it's really important to bring up the topic proactively and not wait for kids to ask. You want to be the one who shapes the story they have in their heads about what different colors of people mean and you want them to be aware that they might see or experience racism or be perpetrators of racism (even unknowingly, and that it's useful to notice, so you can change and do better). I also think that's especially important for children of color, because the story they wind up telling themselves about themselves may not wind up very flattering and may hurt them in the long run.

ETA: Not on the subject of race, but just differences between people: My mother raised me when being "color blind" was the rage, and she applied that principle to everything, including gender issues and religious issues. As a result, I had NO IDEA that other kids I knew weren't Jewish. I assumed everybody in the world was Jewish, but that some Jews were really weird (see: everybody) or had different (weird) traditions (like Santa Claus and Christmas, what the fizzle, utterly perplexing to a small child). This continued through the year I started public school in the 4th grade (seriously!) in a school of 500 students with only two Jewish families and where I experienced quite a bit of anti-semitism (of the "my mom won't let me play with you because you're Jewish" variety or "Jews are dirty, I don't want to be your friend"). You can imagine how that was extraordinarily perplexing. I do not recommend that way of raising kids. It also was really confusing to me when I got shiitake for being a girl and doing x, y, and z. It would have been helpful to have some expectations of the cultural challenges that I might experience down the line.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Talking to Children about Race
PostPosted: Fri Feb 22, 2013 5:48 pm 
Dislikes Rick Santorum
User avatar
Offline

Joined: Fri Apr 01, 2011 11:51 am
Posts: 4677
Location: United States of New England
have any of you read the whole NurtureShock book where this is from? it's really interesting. the race thing is only one chapter (ie not the whole book) but im about half way through the book and it's a really interesting read. i havent had the energy to read anything in several weeks so i dont remember where i am but i think im about halfway through. i know literally nothing about parenting or kids so the whole book kind of blows my mind because it's definitely different than conventional thinking (ie the example that all kids are colorblind). the whole first chapter almost had me in tears because it's like they wrote a chapter on my life. but i digress.....

i come from a very white bread family and live in a pretty white bread world so im definitely worried about the "race thing" and how to teach BabyPunk about different races and stuff. my husband and i are both super white and fair. like the sun is not my friend because i am so fair i will burn to a crisp. when i was a toddler i had white hair. both our families are of Northern and Eastern European descent. we're pretty quiet people and im a total introvert so we dont have a large social circle but now that i think about it i do think all our friends are white. the city we live in is pretty white too. we have a very large Brazilian population and after that a decent sized Indian population and other races here and there but mainly white. i dont know about the school systems.

i honestly dont know how to bring up race in a conversation with a child. this book is making it sound like you shouldnt wait until the awkward moment when your kid says something inappropriate or asks you a question. race is such a loaded subject. id be interested in hearing how people have taught their young children about races and how the differences are there but it's ok and we are all humans and we all need to be respected.

although i feel i have always been an open minded/tolerant person in regards to race i feel the best thing to really *understand* differences in people that i (unknowingly) did for myself is a lot of traveling. my husband and i have traveled fairly extensively and nothing breaks down stereotypes about things than going to experience them for yourself.
i would absolutely love to tote BabyPunk all over the damn world to show her different cultures and people and how we are all basically the same but financially it aint gonna happen unless something major changes. in fact i dont forsee any traveling anywhere in my distant future due to finances.

the gender thing too drives me up a wall. ive never been a girly girl and ive never been a tomboy, im like in between. i will wear skirts and dresses to work cause i like them or they are comfy but i also like ripped jeans and my favorite thing in the world is tank tops. i have ALWAYS hated the color pink, like it makes me shoot fire out of my eyes, and i NEVER played with dolls. i hate dolls (man do i love stuffed animals though). so it's insanely important to me that my daughter not be crammed into a pink box with purple ribbons and baby dolls. ive never had to fight with so many people about the color pink as when i decided to tell people we were having a girl (we didnt want to know the gender and were told by accident so i said fork it ill tell people). i mean dont get me wrong if BabyPunk shows interest in pink clothes or wants a baby doll then by all means she can have one i just think it's so stupid that ALL GIRLS MUST WEAR PINK AND PURPLE AND LIKE PONIES AND BABY DOLLS AND BOYS CANNOT PLAY WITH DOLLS AND MUST PLAY WITH TRUCKS. i mean making a baby registry for my shower just made me so angry. everything is labeled boy or girl and is pink or blue. it's sick. most of the stuff on my registry is labeled "boy" hahaha
we have "friends" (i really cant stand the husband so im hesitant to use the word friends) and they have a 5 year old son. the kid is not allowed to play soccer cause his dad says its a "gay sport"
i actually thought this was a joke for a long time because its so bizarre til i saw the kid kicking around a ball one day and HE GOT YELLED AT and his dad was like "WE DONT PLAY SOCCER IN THIS HOUSE"
WAT. i gave my husband that look like "if you dont get me out of here theres gonna be a huge problem"
what kind of weird bizarre message does that send?

and we can keep going on and on with this whole line of thought. how do you talk to your kids about gay couples? is that another issue you need address or is that one more "dont make a big deal out of it and they wont make a big deal out of it??"

i often wonder how i turned out so tolerant and liberal minded cause i dont remember any *specific* lessons my parents taught me.

_________________
Damn dirty vegan hippies and their carob.~~Moon

It's just funny to think that we could go through years of this, become the president of the damn country, and still, we'd be eating pasta with veggies at every. damn. function.~~Joyfulgirl


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Talking to Children about Race
PostPosted: Fri Feb 22, 2013 6:00 pm 
Dislikes Rick Santorum
User avatar
Offline

Joined: Fri Apr 01, 2011 11:51 am
Posts: 4677
Location: United States of New England
Ariann wrote:

ETA: Not on the subject of race, but just differences between people: My mother raised me when being "color blind" was the rage, and she applied that principle to everything, including gender issues and religious issues. As a result, I had NO IDEA that other kids I knew weren't Jewish. I assumed everybody in the world was Jewish,


i think i experienced something similar and it is very confusing.
i was not raised religiously but i knew my family was Catholic and i knew everyone else around me (in school, etc) was Catholic. so to me Christian and Catholic meant the same thing. to this day i have a hard time seperating them. we had i think 2 Jewish families in my school so i knew other religions existed but to be honest in my brain all people were Catholic regardless of how much they actually practiced.

i ended up going to a Catholic college (not because it was specifically Catholic but because it was the school i wanted to go to) so that didnt help squash the idea that everyone was Catholic in my mind.

my husband and i met and started dating in college. My husband's family is Jewish. neither one of us is religious so it never came up. the first CHristmas break we were togther i asked him if he was going home for Christmas and he said no and i was like "WHAT?!?!? you're not going home for CHRISTMAS?!?!?!?!"
and he seemed a bit uncomfortable and he finally said "we're kinda Jewish" AHAHAHAHHAA
my main point was more about you have a pretty long break in college and most people go home and most people have some sort of winter family celebration regardless of religion but apparently they really didnt do Hanukkah after the kids werent little anymore. it was just funny cause it never in a million years occurred to me he wasnt Catholic. i really could care less what religion they were but yeah in my mind all people were Catholic.

_________________
Damn dirty vegan hippies and their carob.~~Moon

It's just funny to think that we could go through years of this, become the president of the damn country, and still, we'd be eating pasta with veggies at every. damn. function.~~Joyfulgirl


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Talking to Children about Race
PostPosted: Fri Feb 22, 2013 6:09 pm 
Trapped On A Desert Island With A Cow
Offline

Joined: Wed Oct 03, 2012 1:00 am
Posts: 402
Quote:
and we can keep going on and on with this whole line of thought. how do you talk to your kids about gay couples? is that another issue you need address or is that one more "dont make a big deal out of it and they wont make a big deal out of it??"


For me, gay was easy. My dad is gay, and many of my friends are, so this is very relevant in our lives. The conversation was simple though. Basically it was, "You know how mommy is a girl and daddy is a boy and mommy and daddy love each other? Well, some boys love girls, but some boys love other boys. That is called gay. And some girls love boys, but some girls love other girls. That is called gay too."

Obviously I'll talk to them about bi and transgendered and all sorts of other things as they get older. But the kids were 2 and 4 when this particular conversation happened, so that seemed to cover what they needed to know in that moment.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Talking to Children about Race
PostPosted: Fri Feb 22, 2013 6:16 pm 
***LIES!!!***
User avatar
Offline

Joined: Sun Feb 12, 2012 4:10 pm
Posts: 3436
There are now tons of great little kids' books about gay parents, I would recommend seeking them out the same way you'd seek out books that showed pictures of kids of color to normalize it (these are normal families like every other family and they have the same joys and problems as other families). You can do that years before you have to have conversations about the status of gay rights or the potential for people being biased against gay people.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Talking to Children about Race
PostPosted: Fri Feb 22, 2013 6:18 pm 
Dislikes Rick Santorum
User avatar
Offline

Joined: Fri Apr 01, 2011 11:51 am
Posts: 4677
Location: United States of New England
i think i remember a few of those books from when i worked at Borders. the title "Heather has Two Mommies" sticks in my head.

_________________
Damn dirty vegan hippies and their carob.~~Moon

It's just funny to think that we could go through years of this, become the president of the damn country, and still, we'd be eating pasta with veggies at every. damn. function.~~Joyfulgirl


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Talking to Children about Race
PostPosted: Fri Feb 22, 2013 6:22 pm 
Nooch of Earl
User avatar
Offline

Joined: Sun Dec 12, 2010 2:18 pm
Posts: 3396
Location: Bella Napoli
I'd be curious to see an example of what people think is a good way to introduce the topic of race to a kid too young to ask about it. I guess I'm a little lost about how to even do that with a one and a half year old. We're in a fairly diverse city, and she definitely encounters a lot of bilingual kids and adults and people of different races, but for those of us in whose families the subject of race, if it came up at all, did not exactly come up in a way we'd like to repeat with our own children, what exactly does one *say*? Do I read bell hooks with her?


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Talking to Children about Race
PostPosted: Fri Feb 22, 2013 6:51 pm 
Semen Strong
User avatar
Offline

Joined: Tue Oct 19, 2010 7:10 pm
Posts: 18627
Location: Cliffbar NJ
Torque alludes to Different Racisms which I thought was a brilliant description of growing up Asian American in the US. It definitely gives me a lot to think about - as George Bush says there is the "soft bigotry of low expectations" in some fields for some groups and the soft bigotry of high expectations for other fields and groups.

annak, the first article talks about starting to have proactive conversations with your children about playmates. Its is so weird to do, though! We were playing with some of our African American friends, and I can't imagine stopping and saying "X is black and we're having the best time, right?" So yeah, that is where I am stopped. She has playdates with kids from different racial groups, but I wonder if that means anything to her without context.

And Ariann, I hear you! I grew up in Austria, part of the international community around the UN, but not as part of a South Asian community, and I see myself as so culturally "white" - Catholic, grew up in Europe speaking German and French, not Hindi, went to private international schools where I was one of one a handful of South Asians, and we'd all avoid each other and try and fit in with the white kids, some integrated, others on the margins. It was just weird. And I have no idea what L's experience will be like in the US, as I didn't grow up here, but I can't imagine that it is going to be racially neutral....

_________________
But on a cold winter night, when the wind whispers through the trees and a bright, white moon hangs heavy in the air, you might hear a sad cry like someone thinking he knows what's best for you, and that'll be the white man a-passin' you by. just mumbles


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Talking to Children about Race
PostPosted: Fri Feb 22, 2013 7:01 pm 
***LIES!!!***
User avatar
Offline

Joined: Sun Feb 12, 2012 4:10 pm
Posts: 3436
I wouldnt say anything at this age, just expose her to a variety of people and characters.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Talking to Children about Race
PostPosted: Fri Feb 22, 2013 7:10 pm 
Trapped On A Desert Island With A Cow
Offline

Joined: Wed Oct 03, 2012 1:00 am
Posts: 402
I forgot, I did have a conversation with my little guy a while back because he looked over my shoulder when I was on facebook and saw a picture of Ruby Bridges. He asked what that picture was, so I decided to tell him. He was 2.5, so it went something like this, "That little girl's name is Ruby. Do you see how her skin is dark and beautiful? Well a long time ago there were some foolish people who thought that people with dark skin should not go to school with people with light skin. But other people knew that was wrong, and said that everyone should be allowed to go to school together. So this brave little girl went to a school where no one else looked like her. It was scary for her, but she did it anyway, and that's what makes her brave. Who do you know in our family who has dark and beautiful skin like Ruby?" And DS thought about it and was able to tell me that his uncle had dark and beautiful skin. Then he thought some more, pointed to a freckle on his finger and said he had dark and beautiful skin too. So then we talked about how all sorts of shades of skin are beautiful and we looked at the difference between his skin and my skin. It was definitely not a value neutral conversation. I repeatedly used the word beautiful to describe different people, and I pointedly used the word foolish to describe the racists. I don't know if that's the right way to do it, but it felt right in that moment.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Talking to Children about Race
PostPosted: Fri Feb 22, 2013 8:04 pm 
***LIES!!!***
User avatar
Offline

Joined: Sun Feb 12, 2012 4:10 pm
Posts: 3436
Awwwwww


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Talking to Children about Race
PostPosted: Fri Feb 22, 2013 8:46 pm 
Seagull of the PPK
User avatar
Offline

Joined: Tue Oct 19, 2010 6:46 pm
Posts: 7211
Location: Brasil
DEG, that's awesome.

I don't think it's ever too early to talk about difference and acceptance, and I believe that early talking makes things much less awkward.

For example, my kids went to a super-diverse preschool where many of the kids were parented by same-sex couples. It was totally normal that Jordan's Mommy and Momma Jen came to pick up Jordan, for example, and as they got older when I was teaching high school I was the chair for the Gay/Straight Alliance, and my daughter came along with me to meetings. We never had a "some men love men" kind of talk, it was just taken for granted that some people love other people, with lots of variations. Now a good number of my friends (and clients) are very openly gay, and it's just a fact, not even worth remarking about.
Contrast that to when I was growing up and Difference was something that we didn't talk about. I didn't know about the existence of gayness in real modern life aside from calling someone gay as an insult, til I went away to boarding school at age 16 and met real gay people [of course, times were different then. cue old-timey music]. Worse, had there been "some kind of talk" i think it would have been so bizarre and unusual that i would have not gotten anything constructive out of it [i'm comparing to the one 60-second panicked "talk" i had about menstruation-sexuality-sex with my mom]. I guess what I'm trying to say is that creating the habit of talking about race, or religion, or sexuality, or people with disabilities, or any other type of difference early, makes it Less Of A Big Deal from the beginning, and that Big Deal type of thing makes the kid's radar go off and realize that this stuff is dangerous, or shouldn't be talked about. Maybe I'm just extrapolating too much from my own experience.

i'm sorry if i'm pushing it towards sexuality and away from race. I do think the approach is the same though- modeling acceptance, observation and acknowledgment of differences, challenging kids to empathize/sympathize, honest responses.

What made the reading about Different Racism so interesting to me is the notion of trying to be the parent of a different race helping the kid to form his or her own racial identity. Adoptive parents face a real challenge, to which I don't know the solution. Our own racial challenge has really been helping the kid to form her own confidence and to embrace those parts of her cultural identity that she would like to [and to ignore the hateful things that she hears, while offering empathy]. Yet, as I alluded to before, feeling oppressed for her own racial profile doesn't necessarily mean that she automatically can sympathize with other racial minorities, and I think I always have to be pushing her towards information that makes her realize that so much of society is so very non-accepting of minority groups in general, and that she can be a revolutionary thinker (we read lots of Howard Zinn, hehe). I have a FB friend that has been posting a lot of things about Black history lately and we've had some good conversation about it- not confrontational, but "can you believe" and "how would you feel".

_________________
Buddha says 'Meh'.--matwinser
I'm just a drunk who likes fruit. -- Desdemona


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Talking to Children about Race
PostPosted: Fri Feb 22, 2013 9:56 pm 
Has it on Blue Vinyl
User avatar
Offline

Joined: Thu Feb 17, 2011 10:13 pm
Posts: 2091
Ariann wrote:
There are now tons of great little kids' books about gay parents, I would recommend seeking them out the same way you'd seek out books that showed pictures of kids of color to normalize it (these are normal families like every other family and they have the same joys and problems as other families). You can do that years before you have to have conversations about the status of gay rights or the potential for people being biased against gay people.


I think there are great picture books that would help you talk about race, gender, and sexuality. Even when that is not the topic of the book, like the heather has two moms. So many good picture books have a variety of races and also challenge gender stereotypes. Oliver Button is a Sissy, and William's Doll are good ones off the top of my head. I have a picture book about ruby bridges, and there are many other good ones about the civil rights moment. Anyway, using books to generate discussions seems natural to me.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Talking to Children about Race
PostPosted: Fri Feb 22, 2013 9:59 pm 
***LIES!!!***
User avatar
Offline

Joined: Sun Feb 12, 2012 4:10 pm
Posts: 3436
Yeah, I was thinking of books where the characters just happen to be gay or black or whatever. I just got one called "Monday is a day" that I like a lot, about dealing with parents going to work, which features a family with two dads. I know the author and his family :)


Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Reply to topic  [ 63 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2, 3  Next

All times are UTC - 6 hours [ DST ]


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 5 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
Powered by phpBB © 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007 phpBB Group
Template made by DEVPPL/ThatBigForum and fancied up by What Cheer