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race and our children

Posted by on Jan. 18, 2010 at 2:01 PM
  • 21 Replies

 Today being Dr. Kings birthday, I started thinking about how children naturally react to other races and whether have a discussion about race can help to keep them from judging others negatively because of their race or will a discussion on race make them more aware that there is such a difference. The other day my 4y/o daughter saw a black man that my husband works with (not that she hasn't seen black people before) and asked "Mommy, why do some people have brown skin?" I told her that was just how they were made. She went on about blue people after that, so we just left it there. But today I began wondering if a more in depth discussion was necessary after hearing the recording of Dr. Kings speach on NPR this morning.

I wonder, do you think its necessary to discuss race with your children, or do you think simply setting an example is good enough?

Heather
The Witchy Momma

Rise up this morning, smile at the rising sun; Three little birds, pitch by my doorstep; Singing sweet songs, a melody pure and true; Singing, this is my message to you-ou-ou; Singing Don't worry, about a thing; Cause every little thing is gonna be alright.

by on Jan. 18, 2010 at 2:01 PM
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Replies (1-10):
mamadixon
by Gold Member on Jan. 18, 2010 at 2:04 PM

I think it is necessary to do both...as it is with all other areas of good parenting.

Peanutx3
by Ruby Member on Jan. 18, 2010 at 2:06 PM

This subject has actually not come up in our home.  My kids attend daycare/school with a mix of races and they are friends with everyone.  I don't think I would bring up the differences but if my kids asked about it I would then have a discussion with them.

Talee
by Gold Member on Jan. 18, 2010 at 2:07 PM

Definitely both...I think it is very important to talk about different cultures and colors, they will have to learn this stuff anyway down the road so at least they have some basics.

When my son was little, he went to a primarily white school (he is half white half native american) and on his own mind you, pointed out the differences in mexican kids (skin etc)...as though he were a total white kid...I had to set him straight and tell him "Hey you have brown skin too!" It was kind of funny.

 

Joqui
by Joqui on Jan. 18, 2010 at 2:07 PM

I don't feel it's necessary... my step dad is white, my husband is black, I am brown (latino) and so my children see everything... I asked my son what color is daddy? he said he's dark brown, I said what color is momma? momma is cream, what color are you? I'm light brown, what color is abuelo (my step dad) he's pinkT (as he says it)... my son was 2 when I asked him just to see if he saw a "difference" he most certainly did but it didn't make him any difference in how he felt towards them.

I've had people tell me, ohh my daughter starts crying when she sees a so and so race because you know she's never been around that... and I just look at them in awe but choose to shut my mouth because ignorance is just ignorance...

EireLass
by Ruby Member on Jan. 18, 2010 at 2:07 PM

i can only speak for my experience. for us, it was just never talked about unless they brought it up. where we lived, there was never anyone outside of our race....even in ther schools. when they went to college, they met other races and never had an issue, made friends. they're now in their late 20's, have multiple friends of various races, and don't really think or talk about it. by the way....what is there to talk about? if you even bring it up as a topic, isn't that telling, that there is a difference?

OoShannonoO
by Member on Jan. 18, 2010 at 2:14 PM

Setting the example should be enough but isnt always enough. Children especailly at a young age doesnt really notice color of another person and shoudnt. My children have no problem accepting other races.

mamadixon
by Gold Member on Jan. 18, 2010 at 2:18 PM

I live in a multicultural city and my kids are exposed to several different races on a regular basis. I guess I should change my answer to say that  the issue is not one I would have brought up on my own, but found it necessary to have a discussion about it once the kids noticed the differences. We also just this past fall had an experience with some discrimination that had to be worked on so it was very important to me to illustrate how the differences were only skin deep and of no importance to them. At the same time, it is not enough to simply tell your kids not to discriminate...you must set a good example.

aidans_mama
by on Jan. 18, 2010 at 2:20 PM

I will do both.  My mama thought she could avoid the discussion by just not bringing it up and setting a good example for my sister and I.  That didn't work as soon as I went to school and the kids (and some parents) made it real clear I was black.  Was she trying to save me some hurt?  Idk, but I feel as though a discussion BEFORE it was known to me that black=dirty would have helped me deal with it a lot better.

I will be talking to my sons about race.  Setting a good example doesn't do enough for me.  They get the best from you at home, what they get from the outside might not be as good.

mamadixon
by Gold Member on Jan. 18, 2010 at 2:22 PM


Quoting aidans_mama:

I will do both.  My mama thought she could avoid the discussion by just not bringing it up and setting a good example for my sister and I.  That didn't work as soon as I went to school and the kids (and some parents) made it real clear I was black.  Was she trying to save me some hurt?  Idk, but I feel as though a discussion BEFORE it was known to me that black=dirty would have helped me deal with it a lot better.

I will be talking to my sons about race.  Setting a good example doesn't do enough for me.  They get the best from you at home, what they get from the outside might not be as good.

This is a great answer, I feel bad that you went through that as a child. I cannot imagine how your mother must have felt.

aidans_mama
by on Jan. 18, 2010 at 2:32 PM


Quoting mamadixon:


Quoting aidans_mama:

I will do both.  My mama thought she could avoid the discussion by just not bringing it up and setting a good example for my sister and I.  That didn't work as soon as I went to school and the kids (and some parents) made it real clear I was black.  Was she trying to save me some hurt?  Idk, but I feel as though a discussion BEFORE it was known to me that black=dirty would have helped me deal with it a lot better.

I will be talking to my sons about race.  Setting a good example doesn't do enough for me.  They get the best from you at home, what they get from the outside might not be as good.

This is a great answer, I feel bad that you went through that as a child. I cannot imagine how your mother must have felt.

Oh, it hurt her deeply.  I tried to make it sound as though it were not a big deal, but she could see right through it (lol, mothers).  My grandma is only 56, but she is a pro-fist pumping, pro-black woman.  She had to be, but she talked with my mother and her siblings about race coming from a place of hate.  She thought she was helping her children, but she didn't have any real good experiences with people who weren't black (mostly white people, but she's had some encounters with some hispanics).  If all you tell your children are the negatives about people, you are doing them a disservice.  My mama didn't want to do that to us, so she chose to not talk about it.  At all.  She regretted it, but I don't.  We had some really good talks, some really good lessons come from my bad experiences dealing with race.

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