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Raising colorblind kids
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Ravenclaw




 
 
 


Post  Mon, Feb 11 2019, 5:45 pm
Ok so this is kind of a spin-off of the blackface thread. Here’s the thing, I hate identity politics. I also hate racism. I just feel that identity politics is counterproductive and builds walls instead of breaking them. I am a fan of MLK, not Malcolm X. I hate when people are like, “Look at me! I am not racist! I don’t even notice that my friend is black!” Wouldn’t real acceptance be that it’s a nonissue and you never even thought twice about it, instead of virtue signaling?
That being said, I never made an issue of talking explicitly about acceptance to my kids, and instead just made sure that I had diverse enough books, etc. (same thing with feminism, instead of telling her that “some people think girls shouldn’t be scientists, but you can” for example, she doesn’t even realize that there is a difference in opportunity or that it’s an issue some places.)
But here’s the thing. Lately she has become more politically aware and has been asking to hear more about history. And it got me thinking, how do I tell her about inequality and all without ruining her current nonjudgmental worldview?
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sequoia




 
 
 


Post  Mon, Feb 11 2019, 5:48 pm
Ravenclaw wrote:
I hate when people are like, “Look at me! I am not racist! I don’t even notice that my friend is black!”


No one who has any sense says that. They’d get demolished for it.
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Ravenclaw




 
 
 


Post  Mon, Feb 11 2019, 5:54 pm
sequoia wrote:
No one who has any sense says that. They’d get demolished for it.


Not overtly, but through subtext?
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sequoia




 
 
 


Post  Mon, Feb 11 2019, 6:04 pm
Ravenclaw wrote:
Not overtly, but through subtext?


No, no one TODAY would say, “I don’t notice my friend is Black.” Maybe in the ‘50’s it would have been acceptable. Today, a white person claiming to be “colorblind” would be branded as a callous, heartless, privileged racist. That’s the reality, like it or not.
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amother




Wine


Post  Mon, Feb 11 2019, 6:11 pm
How old is she? At a certain point she will need to learn that racism is not only a part of history, it is alive and well today.
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Ravenclaw




 
 
 


Post  Mon, Feb 11 2019, 6:20 pm
amother wrote:
How old is she? At a certain point she will need to learn that racism is not only a part of history, it is alive and well today.


So that’s my question. When is it appropriate to tell her and how do I do it. She is six and has lately been asking me about the news a lot.
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Amarante




 
 
 


Post  Mon, Feb 11 2019, 6:51 pm
I don't think learning history including shameful aspects of America's past would make her judgmental.

I think the issue is that it has to be age specific so that it was appropriate to a child's level of cultural and historical sophistication. When I was in early elementary school, I learned that Abraham Lincoln freed the slaves - it was also a very important part of my family's Sedars in terms of the link between the Jews in Egypt and the African slaves. It wasn't very sophisticated but I knew who the "good guys" were - I also remember my parents playing some of the classical spirituals like Go Down Moses - Paul Robeson has a fantastic version if you can track it down.

I would think that there would be a lot of great books for children available now especially - it's Black History Month. I just googled and there are a bunch of recommended books on Civil Rights.

https://www.google.com/search?.....p;oe=UTF-8

Here's one about a child desegregating a school. As a child, I especially enjoyed reading books about other children and this one seems to have won a lot of awards. FWIW this is about a Latina child desegregating white only school in California. Not sure if it's too young for your child

Separate Is Never Equal: Sylvia Mendez and Her Family’s Fight for Desegregation (Jane Addams Award Book (Awards))

https://smile.amazon.com/Separ.....VGFZ3P6HJR

A 2015 Pura Belpré Illustrator Honor Book and a 2015 Robert F. Sibert Honor Book
Almost 10 years before Brown vs. Board of Education, Sylvia Mendez and her parents helped end school segregation in California. An American citizen of Mexican and Puerto Rican heritage who spoke and wrote perfect English, Mendez was denied enrollment to a “Whites only” school. Her parents took action by organizing the Hispanic community and filing a lawsuit in federal district court. Their success eventually brought an end to the era of segregated education in California.

Praise for Separate is Never Equal
STARRED REVIEWS
"Tonatiuh masterfully combines text and folk-inspired art to add an important piece to the mosaic of U.S. civil rights history."
--Kirkus Reviews, starred review

“Younger children will be outraged by the injustice of the Mendez family story but pleased by its successful resolution. Older children will understand the importance of the 1947 ruling that desegregated California schools, paving the way for Brown v. Board of Education seven years later.”
--School Library Journal, starred review

"Tonatiuh (Pancho Rabbit and the Coyote) offers an illuminating account of a family’s hard-fought legal battle to desegregate California schools in the years before Brown v. Board of Education."
--Publishers Weekly

"Pura Belpré Award–winning Tonatiuh makes excellent use of picture-book storytelling to bring attention to the 1947 California ruling against public-school segregation."
--Booklist

"The straightforward narrative is well matched with the illustrations in Tonatiuh’s signature style, their two-dimensional perspective reminiscent of the Mixtec codex but collaged with paper, wood, cloth, brick, and (Photoshopped) hair to provide textural variation. This story deserves to be more widely known, and now, thanks to this book, it will be."
--The Horn Book Magazine
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amother




Gray


Post  Mon, Feb 11 2019, 7:08 pm
I clicked on this thread because I have 3 colorblind kids (and couldn’t figure out what the big deal was in raising them) LOL
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amother




Amethyst


Post  Mon, Feb 11 2019, 7:29 pm
6 year olds are interested in the news??
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nchr




 
 
 


Post  Mon, Feb 11 2019, 7:49 pm
amother wrote:
6 year olds are interested in the news??


First graders usually share current events in class .
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amother




Amethyst


Post  Mon, Feb 11 2019, 7:51 pm
nchr wrote:
First graders usually share current events in class .


That's interesting, not when I grew up.

But AFAIK, OP is chassidish, and I highly doubt it is part of the curriculum there.
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amother




Wine


Post  Mon, Feb 11 2019, 7:54 pm
Ravenclaw wrote:
So that’s my question. When is it appropriate to tell her and how do I do it. She is six and has lately been asking me about the news a lot.


I guess it depends how soon you want her to have this knowledge. My kids at that age did know that there are people who hate other people just because of their religion or the color of their skin. They did not have a real understanding at that age of how common it is even today, just that it happens.
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Ravenclaw




 
 
 


Post  Mon, Feb 11 2019, 8:13 pm
amother wrote:
That's interesting, not when I grew up.

But AFAIK, OP is chassidish, and I highly doubt it is part of the curriculum there.


You are right, it’s not part of the curriculum, but after I told her a few things (shutdown, border wall) she became really interested. Now every few days she asks me, “so what’s happening in the news?” Very Happy
But yes sometimes she does discuss current events with her friends. I didn’t tell her about Pittsburgh, but she came home telling me that the flag is at half mast because of it (her friend had told her).
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Ravenclaw




 
 
 


Post  Mon, Feb 11 2019, 11:01 pm
amother wrote:
I guess it depends how soon you want her to have this knowledge. My kids at that age did know that there are people who hate other people just because of their religion or the color of their skin. They did not have a real understanding at that age of how common it is even today, just that it happens.


Was rereading my opening post and started wondering what exactly the point of this thread was. Now I realize though... I guess it just is an uncomfortable truth that I wish I could shield my kids from forever, but I can’t. Wish it wasn’t that way.
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lech lecha08




 
 
 


Post  Mon, Feb 11 2019, 11:47 pm
amother wrote:
I clicked on this thread because I have 3 colorblind kids (and couldn’t figure out what the big deal was in raising them) LOL


I clicked on it too because my BIL is colorblind and I was curious about the raising kids aspect
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DrMom




 
 
 


Post  Tue, Feb 12 2019, 12:06 am
amother wrote:
How old is she? At a certain point she will need to learn that racism is not only a part of history, it is alive and well today.

So you explain history and also how the situation has improved 1000-fold in the past 150 years through more enlightened understandings and improved legislation.

Is it 100% Gan Eden? No, but I don't think racism is "alive and and well" at all.
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etky




 
 
 


Post  Tue, Feb 12 2019, 12:22 am
DrMom wrote:
So you explain history and also how the situation has improved 1000-fold in the past 150 years through more enlightened understandings and improved legislation.

Is it 100% Gan Eden? No, but I don't think racism is "alive and and well" at all.


Maybe so, but race as an identity marker and the attendant issue of social injustice is a huge, unavoidable component of the political discourse in the USA today so the conversation that OP will have with her daughter will need to address these aspects too. This, I think, will be more difficult to navigate than the historical part.
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seeker




 
 
 


Post  Tue, Feb 12 2019, 3:57 am
There are picture books that highlight the more dramatic inequality in the past, and we have conversations around those (to be fully honest, we came across these mostly on storylineonline.net which I use as a stand-in for bedtime stories sometimes.)

In these conversations, I talk about segregation and racism as a thing of the past. It's true that some issues linger, but like OP I feel that at this point it's counterproductive to dwell on it. In REAL life, we live in a diverse neighborhood and I do not notice or feel any racism in local schools, businesses, and community. I work in a variety of settings with many "minority" (I put that in quotes because quite frankly by the numbers they are not the minority, at least in the Northeast coast area) staff as well as clients and I really do feel "colorblind." Statistically it may be true that there are more people of color with disadvantages such as generational poverty, but there are white people in those situations too, it's not unique and it's not discrimination - we can recognize everyone's individual situation without harping on issues of race except where they come up directly. I think Asians probably experience more discrimination that black people at this point.

Anyway I am totally going off on a tangent. The point is that I do discuss issues of racism in a historical context, leading to an emphasis on how everyone is the same inside and deserves equal treatment. We like to talk about news too but these political details don't come up in family conversations. Maybe I'm whitewashing a little (ok, VERY poor word choice there) but there's plenty of time for them to get up to speed when they're older, assuming these issues will still be talking points.

On a completely separate point, identity politics needs pushback.
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chicco




 
 
 


Post  Tue, Feb 12 2019, 7:38 am
I'm all for being honest with my kids. Your daughter's attitude towards things won't be caused by learning that they exist, but by taking cues from you how you behave and respond to them. I had never said anything to my kids about people being different. The first time it became an issue was when my five year old wanted me to see "The awesome flips the brown boy" was doing on the monkey bars.

Of course he noticed the kid looked different. But he didn't think anything of it.

I don't think it is wise to teach kids to be colorblind. We need to acknowledge that people are different, but that doesn't make them less. We need to teach them to be respectful and sensitive. That's all on you as the parent. If you model this and that is what your daughter sees, I wouldn't worry.

I've taught my kids that people are different and make different choices, and it is ok. It is not ok to talk about their questions in public, or treat anyone disrespectfully.
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nchr




 
 
 


Post  Tue, Feb 12 2019, 8:20 am
If you are chassidish and in America, your child will be exposed to racism - on the bus, in school, etc. If you want to counteract that, you'll need to speak about it. At six years old it is more than likely she has already heard her friends use racist words.

On another note, do you feel children should learn about the Holocaust? What about the genocides in Armenia, Bosnia, Rwanda, Darfur, etc.? Learning about slavery is also as important, as well as about racism in general. Likewise, it is also important to learn that most African slaves were slaves in Africa and they were sold by other Africans to the whites living in America. That does not change what happened in the US as part of our history, but it is important as part of African history. 6 may be a bit young for this, but it should come up as part of her education, at home or at school, during her childhood.
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