White parents, you all really need to step up… If we want to better our society in opposition to issues of racial injustice and inequality, we must begin at a young age. As White parents, you must really talk to your children before these ingrained, societal beliefs corrupt their brains in believing they have privilege due to the color of their skin. White children need to speak out, become educated, and appreciative of other races, EARLY! In Noel King’s interview with Ibram X. Kendi and René Watson titled, ‘I See These Conversations As Protective’: Talking With Kids About Race, there is an apparent plea to parents of white children to teach their children antiracism YOUNG! With prior research discussing the acclimation of stereotypes and biases formulating off the environmental climate at a very young age, it is at the hands of the parents to raise their child as an antiracist individual. When these conversations are ignored or not discussed, “those kids are taught to be racist by society.” On the other hand, when there is a push toward showing white children, difference is not a bad thing, we value all different cultures and races as equal, let’s talk about this — kind of mentality and structure in a White home — children will learn the ins and outs of racism naturally and how to combat it. There is no better time to be learning a multicultural appreciative mentality than when you are a child. By negating the persistence of stereotypes and biases that perturb children at a young age it could completely change adults’ racist perceptions (whether they be subconscious or not).
A multicultural appreciation point of view deliberately being talked about at the dinner table to White children should be normalized. The conversation has to shift from maybe one day a White person being confronted in their adulthood to being prepared, knowledgeable, and intentional in discussing racism and racial injustice issues.
This podcast also discussed ways in which conversation becomes normal — one being through picture books that express Black people living their everyday life. One in particular Hair Love, gives the opportunity for conversation but also normalizes differences in appearances between White and Black girls. This all touches base with beauty standards and its societal, racial associations. I think back to when I was growing up and through all of Disney and my little picture books, everything was so whitewashed. It is easy to think back to my experiences or even just how books at school or media and movies were so encompassed around White characters. White children need to have exposure to other races than White, especially in the books, shows, movies, media, etc. everything they see. Lessons are learned, conversations begin, and this only pushes them forward as empathetic humans to all. Not only toward the other little White kids that remind them of whom they see in their little whitewashed picture books or whitewashed cartoons.
These conversations need to become normalized in homes at a young age. I know a lot of the time, this falls in the hands of education’s inability to truly discuss race and approach classrooms in a multiculturally appreciative way… but what if White students then could call that out? What if White students then at a young age could call out teachers and be the voice for the marginalized students who do not have one?!
Educated White children can be that support for Black children that may be lacking in confidence, that may be treated differently on the playground, and can fully appreciate differences but that all are equal… White parents need to do better! Talk to your kids, these conversations hold intentional power to the betterment of society!!