Thursday, August 9, 2018

Snowflake Alert: Raising white kids to be racially sensitive -- and proactive

by Jennifer Harvey  [Jennifer Harvey is a writer, speaker and professor at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa. Her most recent book is "Raising White Kids: Bringing Up Children in a Racially Unjust America."]

(CNN) Parenting in the current political climate isn't for the faint of heart. Recently, my 9-year old daughter asked me, "Mama, I know it's really bad they're putting people in jail, but do those people think, 'Well, at least I'm safe from war?' "

My 7-year old daughter quickly followed up with, "Why would someone say Donald Trump is keeping us safe?" Clearly, my two white kids, like all children in the United States, are absorbing the racialized rhetoric about immigration and "others" that's everywhere right now.

Numerous studies have shown the early and negative impact society's racism has on children's development. By the ages of 3 and 4, American children internalize racist stereotypes of self and others. By age 5, they recognize that different groups are treated differently and understand something about the racial social status. Children will never just "unlearn" these things on their own.

These studies were pre-2016. Public displays of racial hostility have since amplified, showing up in such topics as talk about kneeling NFL players, black families' attempts to enjoy a summer swim interrupted by white neighbors calling the police or immigration debates implying that people from south of the border are uniquely dangerous. We can only speculate how much worse the damage will be to children's long-term notions of self and others, and to what a just and peaceful society looks like.

Family dialogues about race are crucial to help children process what they're seeing and hearing and, over time, to develop a strong anti-racist racial identity. Families of color have long engaged in precisely these kinds of conversations, but a strong majority of white families do not.

If white parents want to raise children and youth who play a role in creating a just, inclusive society, we've got to start talking.

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This is an example of what a metric shit-ton of fuckery looks like. This idiot is a University professor feeding this tripe to young adults. - Minuteman

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