I will use the term race here not as a real category but as a social/political/cultural construct. There is one race that is growing faster than any other in the United States right now and that is mixed race, people who identify with more than one race or ethnic heritage. If there was ever a time in our history where white parents need to be speaking to white children about race and racism, it is now.
A white parent has an obligation to raise their white children to be prepared to partner with someone who is either White, Black, Asian, American Indian, Alaska Native or some other race, or from a mixture of races, the fastest growing race in America. To do that, white parents need to speak to their children about racism and the legacy of slavery in this country. And I’m not just speaking about parents raising children in the south, I’m speaking about the entire country.
If you are the white parent of a white child, what conversation have you started in your house about other cultures, about other race, about the history of this country as a white eurocentric construct that has oppressed others: Indians, Africans, Asians? The conversations sometimes seems too hard to have don’t they? But for every white child that remains blissfully ignorant, there is a child of color that is being spoon fed history and taught to learn about racism. To the white parents these conversations seem rude, while to the families of color, these conversations are about survival.
The truth is one in seven marriages are interracial in this country. Is your child prepared to meet his or her partner on common ground? Probably not; so much work needs to be done besides teaching our children to master an iPad, we need to raise culturally competent, color conscious children to be prepared to live in the new world.
Partnering with a person from a different background is almost a no-brainer, with the influx of international students coming to the United States to go to school*, with the rising number of people who identify as mixed race, with the cultural barriers to marrying someone of another race easing. But let’s get real here parents – your child is more than likely going to parent a child who is not white. And how are they going to do that if you haven’t prepared them?
A white parent of a white child will more than likely see their child first partner with someone from a different background then parent a child of another race. Are you preparing your child for this future? Our schools are woefully lacking in this form of education, so there is some home schooling that needs to start
Confused as to how to take the first steps – start reading from our bibliography, your becoming aware is a first step, then take one of my workshops and I will give you a step by step guide on how to speak to your children about these issues. I will give you the tools you need to parent outside your comfort zone.
*According to the Open Doors report, the number of international students attending colleges and universities in the United States increased to 723,277 during the 2010/11 academic year. This represents a record high number of international students in our institutions of higher education. One challenge of the rapid internationalization of our campuses is that higher education professionals no longer have the luxury of working with individuals who share the same worldview, cultural norms, or language. Cultural competence is, undoubtedly, an essential skill for higher education professionals today. That is, professionals need to be aware that cultural differences exist (in self and others), have an understanding of what those differences are, and have the skills to adjust behavior to work effectively with culturally diverse populations and issues.