A Valuable Resource: “What White Children Need to Know About Race”
Written by Ali Michael and Elenora Bartoli, “What White Children Need to Know About Race” explores the role of schools in white racial socialization, and list skills that can be helpful in fostering anti-racist identities among students who are white.
“Growing up in the suburban Midwest, I (Ali Michael) never talked about race with my family. We were white, all of our neighbors were white, and it never occurred to us that there was anything to say about that. As a result, in later years, I developed a deep sense of shame whenever I talked about race — particularly in college, where I was expected to make mature personal and academic contributions to race dialogues.”
““While white parents’ intention is to convey to their children the belief that race shouldn’t matter, the message their children receive is that race, in fact, doesn’t matter. The intent and aim are noble, but in order for race not to matter in the long run, we have to acknowledge that, currently, it does matter a great deal. If white parents want their children to contribute to what researchers Matthew Desmond and Mustafa Emirbayer describe as a “racially just America”2 in which race does not unjustly influence one’s life opportunities, their children will need to learn awareness and skills that they cannot acquire through silence and omission.””
“Silence is a racial message and a “tool of whiteness.” In order to support the goals of their diversity mission statements and work toward a “racially just America,” schools need to take a more proactive approach to teaching white students about race and racial identity.”
“Students must develop a sense of how systemic racism works on an individual, community, and institutional level”
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From Aspiring Humanitarian, Relando Thompkins, MSW, LLMSW