University Offers Guide on ‘Talking to Kids About Whiteness’

Adam Sabes, Campus Reform, March 15, 2018

The University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) has a new “resource for parents” to help them with “talking to kids about whiteness.”

“Given all the race, national origin, class-based violence, anti-blackness, and anti-immigrant rhetoric in the media and the subsequent backlash from white-identified people and groups, there is a growing need for mindful, supportive education for white children,” asserts the post sponsored by the UMBC Student Life Mosaic and Interfaith Centers.

“White privilege can lead to a chronic case of undiagnosed entitlement, creating poor listeners, impatient speakers who talk over others, and people unaccustomed to taking orders.”

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The first article, “What White Children Need to Know about Race,” discusses the “deep sense of shame” that the author experiences when discussing the subject of race, which he traces to the fact that his white family never engaged in conversations about race when he was growing up.

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The second article, a 2015 op-ed in The Washington Post, expands on that theme by providing specific advice for how parents can begin exposing children to “the discomfort of living with racism,” suggesting for instance that “pointing and showing” are the most effective techniques for communicating such concepts to toddlers.

As children get older, the author proposes gradually increasing the complexity of the conversation, focusing on emotion and empathy when kids are ages 5, 6, and 7 before switching to discussions of news and current events at age 8.

Curriculum for White Americans To Educate Themselves on Race and Racism-from Ferguson to Charleston,” the final resource on the list, asserts that white privilege can lead to a sequence of negative behavioral traits.

“White privilege can lead to a chronic case of undiagnosed entitlement, creating poor listeners, impatient speakers who talk over others, and people unaccustomed to taking orders,” Jon Greenberg contends in the article published by Citizenship and Social Justice. “Nevertheless, the movement for racial justice needs more White Americans to get involved.”

The “Talking to Kids about Whiteness” resource concludes by directing readers to a blog with additional information, such as “entries on how to name whiteness in books with all white characters and how to name race in other books.”

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