As a parent of a black or brown child, the conversation of racism is a must that we will have to have at a young age with our children regardless of how uncomfortable it will be. This conversation is a must for us, this can mean life or death for our children. On the other hand, having a conversation on privilege or “white privilege” with your child can be uncomfortable for you as well.
Here are a few tips to help you with having this conversation with your child.
Before having the conversation of White Privilege or Privilege first understand what it means. According to Dictionary.com White privilege is the unearned, mostly unacknowledged social advantage white people have over other racial groups simply because they are white.
Now that you know what white privilege means, educate your self on the topic at hand. I would suggest finding reading material or visiting websites such as the following that can help you with educating yourself on the topic of racism and white privilege such as tolerance.org, How To Be A Anti-Racist By Dr. Ibram X Kendi, and Raising White Kids: Bringing Up Children In a Racially Unjust America By Jennifer Harvey.
It is never too late to have this talk with your children, but I strongly suggest that this conversation happens sooner than later! Regardless if your child is two years old or fifteen, know that your child is already learning, they are already seeing differences in people and forming opinions too. To think that your child is not mature enough to have a conversation about white privilege, or privilege is not giving them enough credit, children are amazing…and trust me, they will amaze you with what they know.
When you do have this conversation with your child, do not make this a lecture, depending on your child’s age, this will depend on how your approach will be. When having the conversation try to refer to historical facts in your conversation, especially when talking to older children. Younger children may not understand as much, so try to give examples to help them understand.A great movie to have younger kids watch that will help explain racism and white privilege better would be Remember The Titans with Denzel Washington (take notes while watching, ask questions during the movie, explain hard subject matter).
Parents, please stop saying that you do not see color, please stop teaching this to your children. I understand that a lot of you say this in what you may think is a heartfelt way, but it is offensive to people of color. By you saying that you do not see color, have you thought about what you are really saying? How it’s received by a person of color? I am beautiful black woman who is married to my very handsome black husband, with three beautiful black children. For someone to tell me that they do not see color, what that is telling me is that they don’t appreciate the beauty of my blackness, you refuse to see ME, and it makes you comfortable to exclude this part of me. It also can negate that your experience is as equal as mines as a person of color….and that it is not.
Instead of saying you do not see color, just tell your child that you do not discriminate against race or color. Talk to your kids and explain to them that if they see a friend or anyone experiencing racism, what they should do. Ultimately that is up to you as the parent how you would want your child to handle this, but I would hope that you would want your child to get a adult’s attention to stop what is going on.
We all must play a role to turn the tables on racism.
I am going to end this on this note, during these sadden times our country is facing dealing with racism, senseless killings of unarmed black men at the hands of police officers, and black men getting shot in the back 7 times. I would urge those parents who are white that want to raise their children to be anti-racist to acknowledge that they are born with what is called “white privilege”, explain to your children what being privilege means.
This past June I had an 18 year old white girl ring my doorbell at 12 AM. We all know nothing good happens when your doorbell rings at midnight. I checked my ring camera and asked how I could help her. She proceeds to tell me that she needs to speak to my son…. at midnight. She had come to our house, because my son had posted a screenshot from his ex-girlfriend where she had shared on social media that she would never date a N**** again (the picture referenced my son).
The girl explained to me that she had already asked my son to take the picture down, because her friend (who was my son’s ex) no longer feels the way that she has posted and really wants him to take the pic down. My son refused, because he wanted to show the racism he was exposed to. Had my 6’4 220 pound black son showed up at this white girl’s house, how do you think this would have gone down demanding that she take a picture off of the internet at 12 AM? This is what you call White Privilege at it is finest, where you can show up at someone’s house at 12 in the morning demanding that someone take a picture off the internet.