Why White Parents Need To Talk To Their Kids About Racism

Aug 16, 2017

I’m white and Jewish and grew up in a middle class liberal Canadian home in the ’70s, so I was raised with two contradictory messages about race and racism:

  1. Racism is bad.
  2. You should never talk about race.

I think the idea was that we shouldn’t talk about race because it reinforces racism. But teaching kids, particularly white kids, that they shouldn’t talk about race isn’t a step toward less racism or greater equity. Instead, it creates silence where existing systemic racism — and the white supremacy that underlies it — continues.

It teaches white kids that they don’t have to think or talk about race, and it contributes to a white, mainstream world that doesn’t care about or acknowledge the ways that black, Indigenous, and kids of colour experience prejudice (and pride).

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