Essence magazine online has a post up today titled “Is it harder for black moms?” My take, which I shared with the writer, is that the question is unproductive. Blackness alone does not impact how hard or easy a time one might have as a parent. Class, location, marital status, education, level of other resources and support…these things all can effect parenting. Certainly, it is true that black parents and their children face an additional burden of racism. It is also true, as we have discussed here, that black motherhood is not elevated in our society the way of white motherhood is. A white mom with eight kids is a cute TV show; a black mom with eight kids is…something else.
Want to raise racist kids? Wired magazine tells you how: (via Racialicious)
Step One: Don’t talk about race. Don’t point out skin color. Be “color blind.”
Step Two: Actually, that’s it. There is no Step Two.
Congratulations! Your children are well on their way to believing that is better than everybody else.
Surprised? So were authors Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman when they started researching the issue of kids and race for their book NurtureShock. It turns out that a lot of our assumptions about raising our kids to appreciate diversity are entirely wrong:
It is tempting to believe that because their generation is so diverse, today’s children grow up knowing how to get along with people of every race. But numerous studies suggest that this is more of a fantasy than a fact.
Since it’s Black History Month, I thought it would be a good time to talk about race, particularly some of the startling things I found in this particular chapter of NurtureShock. What Bronson and Merryman discovered, through various studies, was that most white parents don’t ever talk to their kids about race. The attitude (at least of those who think racism is wrong) is generally that because we want our kids to be color-blind, we don’t point out skin color. We’ll say things like “everybody’s equal” but find it hard to be more specific than that. If our kids point out somebody who looks different, we shush them and tell them it’s rude to talk about it. We think that simply putting our kids in a diverse environment will teach them that diversity is natural and good. Read more…