ARP Tuesday Links

Parental bias and anti-racist parenting: Yesterday, columnist Deesha Philyaw wrote about when anti-racist parenting goes wrong due to assumptions on the part of mom or dad.  Over at, Kerby T. Alvy, discusses how parents’ racial biases can impact their children.

Much of the time this occurs unconsciously. Parents, in their own behavior – especially facial expressions and posture and body language – convey a lot that kids see. Other times, it can be more obvious, when parents actually talk about their biases out loud. Parents may tell children they don’t want them associating with a certain group of people. For some, prejudice can be a family value.

There are also times when parents participate in ethnic self-disparagement. That happens often in groups where negative attitudes from society have affected the way people see and feel about themselves. Parents sometimes perpetuate those attitudes with their children. You see this, for example, in an African American family that looks down upon being “too dark.” It is possible to have prejudice against your own. Read more…

Study claims immigrant children less active than American-born kids: There is something I deeply distrust about this study. But then, experience has shown that well-meaning (or not) scholarly “research” about people of color often yields results flawed by bias.

CHICAGO (AP) — Immigrant children of all backgrounds get even less vigorous exercise than their U.S.-born counterparts, the largest study of its kind suggests.

Plenty of earlier evidence shows that U.S. children are pretty inactive. The new study of nearly 70,000 children simply found even lower levels of activity among immigrants.

Almost 18 percent of foreign-born children with immigrant parents got no vigorous exercise on any days of the week, and 56 percent didn’t participate in organized sports.

By contrast, 11 percent of U.S.-born children with American parents got no vigorous exercise, and 41 percent didn’t participate in sports.

Given the obesity epidemic and immigrants accounting for about 13 percent of the U.S. population, the authors said it is important to know whether there are ethnic differences in physical activity and sedentary behaviors. They were led by Dr. Gopal Singh, a researcher at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’s Maternal and Child Health Bureau.

Here’s how the researchers explain their results: Immigrant families surveyed were on the whole poorer than nonimmigrants and lived in less safe neighborhoods. That means they likely had less time for exercise and sports, and worse access to places to engage in those activities.

But also, many immigrant parents place a high emphasis on reading, language lessons, studying and other inactive pursuits. Read more…

Home schooling has a black face, too: This article isn’t new, but it is good. The piece, from an April issue of The Village Voice, covers black parents who choose to home-school their children.

In the 2006–2007 school year, the city’s Department of Education says that 3,654 students in New York were homeschooled. Most are white, but a growing number are African-American. Black parents tend to take their children out of the schools for other than religious reasons, and homeschooling groups say black children taught at home are nearly always boys. Like Robinson, some of New York’s parents have concluded that the school system is failing the city’s black boys, and have elected to teach them at home as an alternative.

Robinson’s motives were even more specific: She wanted to cushion Tau from the serious culture shock of moving from rural Missouri to her hometown of Brooklyn.

She had been teaching in Springfield, Missouri, as a professor of architecture at Drury College, the only black member of the architecture faculty. Her son, meanwhile, was teased in the usual way for being one of the few black students in a white school. Tau says he had to explain to his teachers and fellow students that just because he was black didn’t mean that he was from “the ‘hood.”

“Somehow, he was supposed to serve them better if he was more ghetto,” says his mother. “We were out there on our own in the badlands.”

Robinson decided she’d had enough of Missouri, left her job, sold her home, and brought Tau back to Brooklyn. To prepare her son for the change, she decided to teach Tau at home and live off her savings. Read more…

Image courtesy of neloqua on Flickr.

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About Tami

Tami Winfrey Harris writes about race, feminism, politics and pop culture at the blog What Tami Said. Her work has also appeared online at The Guardian’s Comment is Free, Ms. Magazine blog, Newsweek,, Huffington Post and Racialicious. She is a graduate of the Iowa State University Greenlee School of Journalism. She is mom to two awesome stepkids and spends her spare time researching her family history and cultivating a righteous 'fro.
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