Wired Magazine had an article recently on how to raise racist kids. Their formula?
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 [insert your ethnicity here] is better than everybody else.
The article laments that just putting kids of different races together in schools has not led to diminished racism as hoped.
As the father of two blond-haired, light-eyed, white-as-they-can-be sons, I do not want them to be racist. Yet I’ll admit my tendency (prior to reading the article) would be to not mention race. After all, how can we judge people “not on the color of their skin but on the content of their character” if we frequently point out the color of their skin? The media coverage on our [half-]black president and, a few years back, Halle Berry’s groundbreaking 2001 Academy Award (voted by the Academy and not society) emphasize the role that race plays in our society. Laments about the paucity of African-American coaches in college football, despite the large number of black players and assistant coaches, highlight the point.
It’s still a little counter-intuitive for me to note that someone is African-American or Hispanic or the like and not consider that [very small] seeds of racism. If color/ancestry is part of what we notice in a person (which we inevitably notice. I’m referring to making mention of it) then we single people out as being different. What I take from the article is the value of recognizing the achievements of those of different races should normalize those goals in the minds of our children rather than primarily noticing they’re different.
This didn’t turn out as coherent as I had hoped. Still working on the dichotomy in my mind and playing it out a little here on the blog…