How do you talk to children about racial issues?

How do you talk to children about racial issues?

Joined: October 12th, 2006, 1:00 pm

May 28th, 2012, 1:46 am #1

I live in Argentina and society here is VERY politically incorrect when it comes to racial issues. Now Im not a particularly PC person, but the degree of politically incorrectness here is such that it constitutes plain and simple racism-you would be horrified if I posted the examples I have in mind. I would like to raise my children to be more sensitive but Im not sure how to go about it. Do you have pointers? Have you talked to your children about discrimination? And about slavery? My daughters will be 6 years old in a couple of months. Some of this stuff is hard to understand and if it were up to me I would be glad if my DDs didnt even realize race was an issue. But they dont live in a bubble and Ive decided ignoring this is not the answer. What to do???
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Joined: November 23rd, 2007, 9:46 pm

May 28th, 2012, 2:27 am #2

and so far, that's good enough for us. No plans to explain any history until they are much older.

My son's ENT was a very dark skinned woman from S Africa? I believe. His sleep study doc was Eastern Indian. One of his pediatrician's is Asian.

I know they are used to seeing all sorts of people....

But no plans for any explanations and I don't really see the need until I think they could understand racism.

1st kids for us!
5th DE attempt
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Joined: March 1st, 2008, 11:55 pm

May 28th, 2012, 2:50 am #3

I live in Argentina and society here is VERY politically incorrect when it comes to racial issues. Now Im not a particularly PC person, but the degree of politically incorrectness here is such that it constitutes plain and simple racism-you would be horrified if I posted the examples I have in mind. I would like to raise my children to be more sensitive but Im not sure how to go about it. Do you have pointers? Have you talked to your children about discrimination? And about slavery? My daughters will be 6 years old in a couple of months. Some of this stuff is hard to understand and if it were up to me I would be glad if my DDs didnt even realize race was an issue. But they dont live in a bubble and Ive decided ignoring this is not the answer. What to do???
An interesting link about the importance of talking to your kids about race. I would have thought Andrea's approach was the way to go if I hadn't come across this:

http://parenting.blogs.nytimes.com/2012 ... bout-race/

I haven't posted here in a looooooooong time, but because this board was such a great source of information and support during my DE journey to my amazing twin boys who turn three in August, I keep up almost daily with the goings on here.

Happy Memorial Day Weekend to all of you! (Our way of celebrating? Starting potty training. Do we know how to party, or what?!)

0x0x0x0x0x,
Catelle
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Joined: January 19th, 2007, 7:18 pm

May 28th, 2012, 3:07 am #4

I live in Argentina and society here is VERY politically incorrect when it comes to racial issues. Now Im not a particularly PC person, but the degree of politically incorrectness here is such that it constitutes plain and simple racism-you would be horrified if I posted the examples I have in mind. I would like to raise my children to be more sensitive but Im not sure how to go about it. Do you have pointers? Have you talked to your children about discrimination? And about slavery? My daughters will be 6 years old in a couple of months. Some of this stuff is hard to understand and if it were up to me I would be glad if my DDs didnt even realize race was an issue. But they dont live in a bubble and Ive decided ignoring this is not the answer. What to do???
if you're in a less diverse society or a more classist society. (Having never been to Argentina, I can only go by your post.) Perhaps address it as issues arise, as a teaching moment, even if after the fact? Something simple like, "Everyone is created equal & that's important for you to know, but there are people who don't agree." Or something like that. Whatever fits the situation you're addressing, the viewpoints that you want to teach them, & their age.

I do think simpler is better when they're young. So far race has not been an issue raised by ds #1, but we live in a melting pot area & they have friends of different races. So far ds #1 hasn't remarked about anyone's differences.

We do have several same-sex couples we're friends with who have kids the same age, & the kids have also grown up with a girl whose mom is a single mom by choice. At this point, ds #1 will just ask how come so & so has 2 mommies or say he wants 2 mommies. Last night he told me he wanted 2 mommies & 2 daddies. We just keep it simple & say some kids have 2 mommies, some have 2 daddies, some have a mommy & a daddy, some have only a mommy, & some have only a daddy. Just factual & without judgment, which is in alliance with our feelings & beliefs. Deeper discussions will come some day, but for now, that's enough at 4.



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Joined: October 12th, 2006, 1:00 pm

May 28th, 2012, 3:25 am #5

Thanks to all three of you for your posts. The thing is society here is completely different from what you could ever imagine. There are ZERO blacks, and ZERO sensitivity. I don't merely want to teach my kids to be "nice". I want to explain that what they are being exposed to by people they very much respect like grandparents, teachers, and friends is wrong, racist, and culturally backwards. I cannot ignore the teacher using inappropriate vocabulary, for example. I don't merely need to say "some people have different skin color", I need to explain the majority of people around here are disrespectful and ignorant, which is much much harder and confusing for my kids. And I don't think merely modelling good behavior is enough. Ugh.

Catelle, I'm reading the article, thanks for posting it.

ETA: thanks for sharing your views and approaches. Societies being different doesn't mean I'm not learning from your experiences; thanks!



Last edited by Belen111 on May 28th, 2012, 3:34 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Joined: April 10th, 2008, 1:25 am

May 28th, 2012, 4:01 am #6

I live in Argentina and society here is VERY politically incorrect when it comes to racial issues. Now Im not a particularly PC person, but the degree of politically incorrectness here is such that it constitutes plain and simple racism-you would be horrified if I posted the examples I have in mind. I would like to raise my children to be more sensitive but Im not sure how to go about it. Do you have pointers? Have you talked to your children about discrimination? And about slavery? My daughters will be 6 years old in a couple of months. Some of this stuff is hard to understand and if it were up to me I would be glad if my DDs didnt even realize race was an issue. But they dont live in a bubble and Ive decided ignoring this is not the answer. What to do???
I will have to admit something I never admitted before on this board. As bad as I wanted children, and especially a sibling for my first son whom I adopted, when the doctor told me I was having twins I was over joyed. THEN it set in I already had 1 little black boy I was responsible for growing up into a strong man, I panicked at the thought I was having twin boys, to me that meant I had to grow up 3 young black men in the United States of America where they are the lowest on the totem pole (White males first, white females 2nd, black females 3rd, black males last) When I say last other minorities can come before the black male. For anyone that thinks I am over-reacting, they never have been a black person in the United States for 365 days x 47 years. I would sit on the bed and cry at the thought of growing up 3 black young men in the face of racism, stereotyping, profiling and the struggles they would face. I had to slap my self in the face the day I started to cry over the thought of twin boys. I had to say get a grip and be grateful you are pregnant! But God knows when the ultra sound tech saw my little girl first I almost fainted with joy. So now my son is 6yrs old and we have a diverse group of friends and family, my 2 best friends one is white (auntie Darlene) and the other is spanish (auntie Lucy), diverse neighbors, etc. His school is not that diverse he is the only black boy in his class and I have to keep an eye on how he is treated and make sure he is respected. No problems so far, but he has already started talking about different people black and white, he thank God is a very loving and caring person, but I dread the day I will have to deal with hard core race issues.

I plan to approach from a Christian point of view, we all were created by God and God wants us all to love one another and care for one another. If you see anyone talking or saying bad or not so nice things about "anyone" they are wrong. I will explain to him that how we were brought to this country against our wills a long time ago, how we as a people rose up and fought as a group for our freedom, our civil rights and the civil rights of all man kind. I will explain our contributions to this country and to society as a whole, explain that racism is built on hatred and jealousy 100 of years after slaves were freed. This is a talk that most African American parents are prepared for but dread the day we have to open this can of worms, for the day we open the can of worms our children's child like sense of innocence will be forever changed. I still remembered when I was first introduced to racism at the age of 6yrs old insulted by a white boy in my 1st grade class. My mom even then did not want to share with me what was the truth, she made up something for his behavior. Then when I turned 8 once again a little white boy started threatening me at the bus stop, it was only he and I. I was too scared to ride the bus with him, but my mom started walking me to the bus stop and gave him the evil eye and dared him to blink the wrong way. We took the bus across the street from his house, I am sure his mother looked out the window and watched my mother watching him....ughhhh

I suggest for you in a country where there is zero blacks that you buy books that have black children in it, living like any other child. Read these books at bedtime, show them the pictures talk about the different colored skins God created. The best way to fight hatred and racism is through Christian participles. It is the only way, you do not have to go to Church or be overly religious you just have to belief in God and understand he wants good for us all. Make sure before you talk about Racism, your child understands God in our lives. I would order movies that shows diversity, I would also order movies that have predominantly black families to show there is no difference between the races. You have to show your child, sense diversity is lacking from his everyday life.

Please no one flame me, just have sympathy that some one my age 47 is still dealing with the scars of my grandparents and their grandparents even with the major accomplishments we have overcomed as a country together against racism. Racism is alive and well. The worse thing any of us parents can do is not talk about it. We need to talk about it before someone ignorant and racist talks to our children, like their little racist classmates. Our children need to know right away that its wrong and to address it promptly with the racist. Basically saying "that is wrong", I will pull the race card in a minute if it needs to be brought out, I refuse to ignore it because its PC to do so. I even had to yank my best friends chain one day and asked her "do you hear what you are saying, do you know you are insulting me" she did not get it, she was being naive and not hateful and I had to explain in detail what I saw and heard. Don't let your child's naive or racist classmates, our other ignorant adults lead your child in a direction you do not want him to go.

Last edited by Dee.S on May 28th, 2012, 4:19 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Joined: August 6th, 2011, 6:43 am

May 28th, 2012, 4:01 am #7

Thanks to all three of you for your posts. The thing is society here is completely different from what you could ever imagine. There are ZERO blacks, and ZERO sensitivity. I don't merely want to teach my kids to be "nice". I want to explain that what they are being exposed to by people they very much respect like grandparents, teachers, and friends is wrong, racist, and culturally backwards. I cannot ignore the teacher using inappropriate vocabulary, for example. I don't merely need to say "some people have different skin color", I need to explain the majority of people around here are disrespectful and ignorant, which is much much harder and confusing for my kids. And I don't think merely modelling good behavior is enough. Ugh.

Catelle, I'm reading the article, thanks for posting it.

ETA: thanks for sharing your views and approaches. Societies being different doesn't mean I'm not learning from your experiences; thanks!


And no I couldn't imagine living in an area like that. It is very diverse where I live and DD is exposed to all sorts of different races on a daily basis. And she has a variety of friends of different races and sexuality as do we. It just is not an issue in our house nor her dad's house.

In your situation I think you just have to model good behavior and repeatedly tell your kids how wrong, ignorant and disrespectful the majority of people are in your area. Your kids will listen to you and they will watch what you say and do. So that means you will have to tell them that grandparents, relatives, neighbors, and teachers are racist, wrong, and ignorant. Ugghhh....

Since you live in an area lacking diversity then traveling to other areas to expose them to a variety of people would really help. Maybe find some books or movies about racism.

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Joined: April 10th, 2008, 1:25 am

May 28th, 2012, 4:11 am #8

Books and movies about other races living normal everyday lives, will show your child also there is no difference, and that its just mean spirited that someone is treated or spoken down to because they are of a different race or culture.

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Joined: October 9th, 2008, 2:53 am

May 28th, 2012, 4:29 am #9

I live in Argentina and society here is VERY politically incorrect when it comes to racial issues. Now Im not a particularly PC person, but the degree of politically incorrectness here is such that it constitutes plain and simple racism-you would be horrified if I posted the examples I have in mind. I would like to raise my children to be more sensitive but Im not sure how to go about it. Do you have pointers? Have you talked to your children about discrimination? And about slavery? My daughters will be 6 years old in a couple of months. Some of this stuff is hard to understand and if it were up to me I would be glad if my DDs didnt even realize race was an issue. But they dont live in a bubble and Ive decided ignoring this is not the answer. What to do???
HI,
We are here in Western Australia where some of the things that are said here about Aboriginals wouldn't be stood for in the Eastern states.
When R realises people are different. I"m not going to make a big deal of it. I'm just going to say 'yes she/he has dark skin...
'Did you know that the Aboriginal people are The First Australians? Did you know that many years ago they used to live in Indonesia but they wanted to explore the world near them. It was very exciting. They made a canoe, took their women and dogs (dingoes) and set sail.
To do that they needed to know about the tides, the moon, distances and seasons and what provisions to take. Aboriginal people are survivors. They are very smart people'.
Always show them respect as they have earnt it and deserve it. Infact everyone deserves respect whether they are the same as you or not.
This is what i"m going to say.
If anyone says to him stuff like 'oh they are dole bludgers, thieves..' I"m going to say Aboriginal law and English law is different - what is against the law in one is not in the other.'
best, THK
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Joined: November 23rd, 2007, 9:46 pm

May 28th, 2012, 4:31 am #10

An interesting link about the importance of talking to your kids about race. I would have thought Andrea's approach was the way to go if I hadn't come across this:

http://parenting.blogs.nytimes.com/2012 ... bout-race/

I haven't posted here in a looooooooong time, but because this board was such a great source of information and support during my DE journey to my amazing twin boys who turn three in August, I keep up almost daily with the goings on here.

Happy Memorial Day Weekend to all of you! (Our way of celebrating? Starting potty training. Do we know how to party, or what?!)

0x0x0x0x0x,
Catelle
In their preschool are two 1/2 Asian kids and one boy adopted from Africa to very white parents.

I'm not sure if its worthy of an explanation of how/why the parents adopted that boy. They like him and that's good enough for now.

1st kids for us!
5th DE attempt
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