Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Society Inside You

My last post was about a racial problem at a school in Prescott, Arizona. People in the community who were against having dark-skinned kids on the school mural drove by yelling racist slurs at the artists and children. The principal asked the artists to lighten the skin color (of paintings of actual kids who go to the school) on the mural.

This is how discrimination perpetuates itself.

It's not just white kids who learn that white is good and black is bad, stupid, mean, etc. Black children learn it too, and they learn that society is against them. Black parents have to have discussions about race with their children all the time because it comes up again and again in their lives. White parents have the privilege of not doing that. They probably even think that not mentioning it is better, because then their children won't notice it in the first place. But that's not true.

Children learn what they see happening. They internalize the status quo, even when it is against them. A study by CNN replicating the doll study initially done at the time of Brown v. Board of Education showed that, sadly, nothing much has changed since the time of de jure segregation.

As a parent, I think you have a responsibility to society to actively teach your children to fight racism. Unless we do that, we're going to have this ugly discrimination that contributes to the cycle of poverty. If you've been told all your life that you're not worth as much as a white kid, and that you will always be poorer, dumber, and meaner, would you really believe that you could do better with your life?

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