Father Unsettled by Kid Hanging Out with Other White Kids

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  1. Firstly, I would like to thank for sharing this, but it has perturbed me from the time I read it.
    The first stirring of racial consciousness is nothing to be alarmed at but as he navigates society, it will be reinforced into more than just otherness that is only hair deep.

    The key here is how often you and your family socialise with people of colour and their families. That is where he will learn about inclusiveness, that part is not mentioned in your article.

    I can remember visiting a White family in Johannesburg years ago and the colleague insisting that his children interact with me and him. His problem was that quite simply, the only people of colour who came regularly to his home was the gardener and the maid. So while school might be multi-racial, home was not. He made a good point.

    I wizzed by a study of a multi-cultural high school which found that the only race group to use race as a marker of positive/negative was White kids. Interestingly they did not do it always, only in some cases. Your child’s comment on the hair, but still playing with other kids, aligns with that story.

    From Handbook of Peer Interactions, Relationships, and Groups pg 260. ‘thus whereas children from ethnic minority backgrounds did not use skin colour as a basis for judgements for similarity, white children attending ethnically heterogenous schools differentiated between some dyads based on race’
    Again, thank you for the post

    • @Thabo, you wrote: The first stirring of racial consciousness is nothing to be alarmed at
      The author wrote: the better I felt about Selby’s racial realization
      You wrote: where he will learn about inclusiveness, that part is not mentioned in your article
      The author wrote: when we pick up Selby from his preschool in downtown Saint Paul, the parents with whom we exchange brief pleasantries embody a wide swath of humanity. There are black couples, white couples, interracial couples. Minnesota natives, transplants from the Deep South, immigrants from West Africa and Southeast Asia. Mommies and daddies, mommies and mommies, just mommies and just daddies.
      Your assertions, while valid from a societal perspective, don’t make sense to me as a response to this article.

      • Thabo Mophiring says:

        Note: ‘parents with whom we exchange pleasantries’ . They are never invited to the White home, is that only reserved for White people. Children are clever, they begin to learn our tricks for deceiving ourselves from a young age.

        These ones my parents only relate to when forced to, when picking me up at school. These ones get invited into our home. Which ones are all right? obvious really.

        So to be more blunt, the White Liberal parents are acting out their unconscious racism in front of their child and he is beginning to pick up on it. And we should not be alarmed, because hey they are Liberals.

  2. Robert in Arabia says:

    Wait until he gets to high school. In every America high school I taught at, the cafeterias self-segregated themselves. Health people prefer to socialize with members of their own tribe.
    The only mixed tables were occupied the LGBTY students.

  3. This is a very creepy piece. I’m not one to tell others how to raise their kids, but if it were mine, I’d leave him along to do what he wants to do. Children automatically navigate to the familiar, and socially branch out once they establish a comfort zone.

    Letting your over-zealous, almost self-flagellating misplaced guilt question what your 3-year-old is doing indicates more about your horrible sense of personal worth and overabundant political angst than anything healthy about your attittude towards parenting.

  4. Perhaps my satiric intent wasn’t as evident as I’d hoped. For the record, I am not genuinely worried that my 3-year-old is a racist, nor do I devote my time to molding him into a hyper-sensitive post-racial American. His hair comment just got me thinking about how vastly different his world is from the one in which I spent my childhood. I decided to write about that gulf while poking some fun at my own ’90s neuroticism, nothing more, nothing less.

    • It was pretty clear to me. Lines like “there’s no harm in letting the boy enjoy the company of his hairmates. The more I think about it, the fact that he finds that little pocket of homogeneity noteworthy is a pretty good indicator that embracing diversity isn’t going to be an issue for him. Hell, it probably isn’t going to even be a concept for him” contradict and invalidate Gorb’s misplaced criticisms.

      • Thabo Mophiring says:

        it is pretty clear to me that creating categories in a mind on the basis of racial distinctions is really not what the rest of call diversity, it is what we call racism.

  5. Why do you hate your own race?

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