Discussion of NurtureShock, Chapter 3 “Why White Parents Don’t Talk About Race”

We're talking about NurtureShock by Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman allsummer. One chapter every Friday. Jump in whenever you'd like. The first week we talked about Chapter 1 about praise. Last week we talked about Chapter 2 about sleep. This week we're talking about talking about race with your kids.

This chapter is called "Why White Parents Don't Talk About Race" and I found it really, really interesting. One of the things I think is so much fun about this book is the way Bronson and Merryman start with the assumption and then tell the story of the research process instead of just reeling off figures. They tell you what the researchers thought they were going to show, and whether that turned out to be what they showed or not.

This chapter opens with a description of a study that was trying to look at the effects different ways of talking about racial differences would have on little kids. But that study didn't pan out, because so many of the white parents in the study dropped out or refused to talk about race with their little kids. So the researcher started looking at why the white parents were so uncomfortable talking about race with their kids.

We've been taught that racism is learned behavior. So we assume that if we don't want our kids to be racist, and instead want them to know that people are people, we should just not talk about it, because talking about it makes a big deal out of it.

The problem with that, though, is that little kids naturally categorize things and people. They can't help it; it's a normal and necessary part of learning to be human and to interact with others. And physical difference, like skin tone, is one of the easiest distinctions to make. And that kids naturally prefer people they see as "like them." One of the researchers said that:

"kids are developmentally prone to in-group favoritism; they're going to form these preferences on their own. Children categorize everything from food to toys to people at a young age. However, it takes years before their cognitive abilities allow them to successfully use more than one attribute to categorize anything. In the meantime, the attribute they rely on is that which is the most clearly visible…The spontaneous tendency to assume your group shares characteristics–such as niceness, or smarts–is called essentialism. Kids never think groups are random."

So, basically, we're letting kids interpret physical differences, like race, all on their own, without any guidance, thinking they're blank slates. But instead they're drawing the exact conclusions we don't want them to.

Another mistake white parents make is assuming that the Diverse Environment Theory is true. The DET (Bronson and Merryman's term) is that if you surround your kids with people who all look different, the kids will just learn that everyone's the same and it won't be an issue.

I have to admit that I assumed that was true. I've been assuming my kids are cool with everyone because we live in NYC and they each have had friends and classmates of all different races and ethnicities. But the research (and Bronson's anecdotal experience) shows that, once again, when we don't give our kids guidance by talking explicitly about race and ethnicity, our kids aren't drawing the conclusions we want them to.

As I was reading, I was thinking about how easy it is for me to talk about gender with my kids. How many "Of course girls can be doctors" conversations we've had. But we don't have many conversations about race like that. (The last one was probably during the 2008 election, honestly.) So I wasn't surprised when the authors pointed that out, too.

There's also a whole discussion about the fact that schools that are more racially diverse seem to have more stratification, so the reality of desegregation isn't what we thought/think it would be. I'm not even sure how to start unpacking that.

But what I'm taking away from all of this is that I need to start being explicit about talking to my kids about why their friends look different than they do, and what that means.

I feel like I have NOT done a good job of summarizing this chapter. Can someone else help me out? Thoughts? And if you're not a white parent, please go ahead and comment on what you see white parents doing/not doing and how that dovetails with how you talk to your kids.

118 thoughts on “Discussion of NurtureShock, Chapter 3 “Why White Parents Don’t Talk About Race””

  1. great topic! I haven’t read the chapter, but this comes up a lot for us. (I guess I should say: we’re white – west coast, no-connection-to-the-old-country, American mutt white)I had always made the same assumption about the Diverse Environment – we’re in SF, Mouse was the only white kid in her toddler daycare, we’re out and about, we must be good, right? I actually got the first inkling of all this during the presidential campaign in 2008. I made Mouse stay up and watch Obama’s victory speech when he won, and I told her she needed to remember it because it was really important.
    Mouse: why?
    Us: well, he’s actually the first dark-skinned-person to ever be president. That’s a big deal.
    Mouse: why?
    Us: well, for a long time the people with skin like us treated darker-skinned people really badly and it was pretty much impossible for someone with dark skin to get into an important position
    Mouse: what did they do? how were they mean to the dark-skinned people?
    Us: gulp. Well, in some places and times they made rules and in some they didn’t but the worst thing was that long ago, white people actually bought and sold black people as if they weren’t people at all. Things have gotten better but it’s still harder for darker-skinned people.
    Mouse: why did they do that?
    …you get the idea. She really wanted to know and it was *really* hard to even start to explain in any kind of age-appropriate way. But I’m glad we tried. We keep at it.
    (I also made her watch Hillary’s concession as a great example of how you’re supposed to behave well when you lose!)
    These days, Mouse attends a civil-rights focused public school in SF. They taught about the bus boycotts and segregation in her kindergarten class and it was great both because they have experience with doing this and also because they took advantage of the diverse environment there. (It’s a no-majority school.) The biggest thing was making it personal to her in a way that I think it can fail to be for a lot of white or just privileged kids – those movements were important but they benefitted the people that aren’t like me. Well, Mouse came home saucer-eyed one day after they had actually gone through the class and explained who wouldn’t be able to be friends under segregation, and who wouldn’t be able to use the same drinking fountain, etc. I think that bit, about how racism/sexism/etc affects even those who aren’t the specific target, is really key.
    I do not have any other answers, but school forces us to keep looking at the questions.

  2. So far the only good race conversation I think I’ve had with my 3-yr-olds was just before Passover. We were talking about the story of the exodus and I was trying to teach them songs, and then I launched into “Go Down Moses.” After we (er…I) sang it through, I told them it wasn’t actually a Jewish song – it was written by other slaves who were inspired by the biblical exodus story. (Uh….not exactly in those words.) The three of us had a nice meandering conversation about slavery and then I went back to the “other” slaves and talked about skin color and how some people thought that it was okay to make other people slaves because of it….but it’s not really okay, and we don’t do that in this country any more.We need to have more involved discussions like this, I just don’t know how.

  3. There was a Newsweek article on the same topic (possible even an excerpt from this book). Here it is (ahhh, the magic of google):http://www.newsweek.com/2009/09/04/see-baby-discriminate.html
    I read it and decided that I would explicitly talk about skin color with Chuckles (he’s 5 and we’re white, for the record).
    I actually found myself having to say the following sentence: “Yes, well, it is good that you want to be friends with AA and ZZ because you like them, but kids with white skin can be your friends too. White kids can be nice.”
    Chuckles had just indicated a preference for “brown” (his word) people. Which I thought was really open-minded, except, I didn’t want him judging people (anyone) on the color of their skin. So, we went through his classroom, which is a study in DET and talked about what color skin each kid had (using his words to talk about colors not using grown-up words for what those colors represent). So as not to put too much emphasis on race, we also talked about whether the kids were boys or girls, what kind of hair style they had, whether they had brothers or sisters at school, pets, games played at recess, etc. The color of the skin was just one more part of the kids. We also then talked about a couple of the kids who were actually from other countries and how those kids could be his friends too (well, the nice ones at least). It was eye-opening, and I was a little nervous that he might repeat some of the things we said while at school and then have people take it out of context. So, I made sure to tell the teacher and day care center director what I had been doing.
    Oh, and one time I mentioned that the President was black, and he corrected me to say “brown” because truthfully, his skin is brown. So, then, I had to explain that black is a sort-of shorthand for how we talk about skin color for certain people who are brown (much like we say “white” about ourselves even though our skin is more peachy or caramel colored). And then I worried if I was supposed to be saying African-American. To Chuckles, brown encompasses a lot of people whose ancestors are from widely dispersed geographic areas (India, Mexico, the Caribbean, central America, Africa) so I think it might help if I made distinctions, but then I wonder if making distinctions starts to classify people unnecessarily.
    All of this is a long way of saying, it’s hard to talk about race, but I’m trying to do it and downplay it at the same time.
    My prediciton: this post might get fewer comments than some of the other chapters in the book because people don’t want to talk about race.

  4. Interesting. Growing up in a tiny parochial school, we didn’t have a lot of different races in my class at school until high school (and even then, I graduated w/ maybe 15-20% non-white students in my class) but I never thought about the Asian kids being different from the rest of us (we didn’t have any black kids until upper elementary school, but had 2 Asian kids in K-4th grade in my class of 20-30 students). But I know that I never thought of myself as even remotely racist until I met a girl in high school who defied all African-American stereotypes and I realized that maybe I HAD made some assumptions about people through the years. (seriously, this girl should be President of the USA some day. She is that amazing and brilliant and classy. Much more so than anyone else I had ever/have ever met since – black, white or purple) Of course, my parents also owned a business where most of the employees were lower class (read: barely educated) and a lot of them were of other races, so I think my assumptions came from those interactions.I hope I am better at pointing out the equality of these things to my own children.
    Of course, I also know a bunch of white people who claim “race isn’t a big deal” and several non-white people who say that it is a big deal and the whites just don’t realize it. I wonder if that is why so many white parents don’t talk to their kids about race – they just don’t see it as a big deal. And when you never have to worry about it for yourself, then maybe you don’t realize that it is/can be a big deal. Just a thought.

  5. About a year ago, I read a post somewhere(that I haven’t been able to find again for the life of me) that said children interpret silence about race as shame and/or A Thing That Must Not Be Discussed, and that kids who are given an opportunity to talk about race always have a TON of questions that they’ve just been saving up.In light of that, I decided to try to talk to Fitz-Hume and Milbarge about race early, so there wouldn’t be A Big Awkward Conversation later.
    This probably sounds silly, but I’ve been having a lot of “important” conversations with them since they were one, mostly so *I* could practice.
    We’ve talked about skin color and same sex marriage and manners and strangers and where babies come from and a dozen other things, and I doubt they understand or remember much of it, but I want to be in the habit of having casual conversations with them about important issues without things getting all AWKWARD and FRAUGHT with WHATEVER.
    Right now we’re in this stage:
    “This doll/baby in the picture book has (X color skin) because his/her parents have (X color skin. You have (Y color) skin because Mommy and Daddy have (Y color) skin,” because…you know, they’re two.

  6. I read that part of the book excerpted in Newsweek and it has completely changed the way I discuss race with my daughter Tori.Right after I read that, we were blessed with an opportunity to talk about race because of hair. See, my daughter has mostly African-American classmates in her preschool and she really, really wanted to have multiple braids ending in barrettes like her friends do. So we had to have a long talk about race, and different kinds of hair, and we actually went ahead and tried it on her hair and it didn’t work. So now she speaks quite often about “brown” people and “white” people. We talk at length about different people coming from different parts of the world originally, etc.
    But I have to admit, when she asked a classmate if she is “white or brown” (the girl happens to be both) I cringed. I have no idea how to train her to either ask that question or to not to ask it — and I don’t know what is appropriate. And I feel weird asking my African-American friends about it too because yeah — I don’t much like talking about race.

  7. Of all the chapters in the book, the chapter on race has the most direct impact on my own parenting. Like many people, I was assuming that DET was enough. I read that chapter very shortly after a visit from my brother-in-law and his girlfriend. (DH, daughter and I are very light skinned Irish-y peoples – like, ghostly white – as is my brother-in-law, his girlfriend is from Haiti, and has very dark skin.) I sat down with my then 2.5 yo, and commented on the differences between her skin/hair, my skin/hair, and my BIL’s girlfriend. Holy cats! She had SO much to say – lots of questions, commentary – I was so glad that I had brought up the subject with her. Since then DH and I have made a real effort to discuss race, ethnicity, gender, size, and sexual orientation with our 3 yo. I think we are moving, I hope, as a society from a “we’re all the same,” to “we’re all different, and we’re all valuable,” so that sociocultural differences can really be appreciated. Fundamentally, it’s not like kids don’t notice – I think they just learn that they shouldn’t comment, which isn’t the same as not judging.

  8. I’ve been thinking about this lately, because I’ve been considering sending my (white) 3-year-old to a school without much diversity. Worrisome.

  9. Haven’t read the book yet (though I’ve requested it from the library).Somewhere along the line I happened across a blog which used to be called Anti-Racist Parent and is now called Love Isn’t Enough. I started to follow it in hopes of getting help in raising my white son to not be a racist. They’ve discussed the topic of this chapter in the past; it came as a real shock to me. (This was the post which really got me thinking about this. (And now that I go back and reread it, I see that it talks about Nurture Shock.)
    My husband and I have been working hard to make sure to talk about these things with T as a result. I’m also glad to say that they’ve also talked about this some at his child care — he’s come home with slightly muddled but essentially accurate ideas. (Someone killed Martin because he wanted people with brown skin to be able to sit in the front of the bus!)
    He’s clearly puzzled about the whole thing, but just as clearly less uncomfortable talking about it than I am (because he doesn’t have the same emotional baggage attached yet). It is an awkward conversation, but necessary, just like the conversations about sexism, different sexualities, and disabled people which we’ve also had.
    (Posting instead of lurking as usual because I do want people to talk about this!)

  10. I don’t talk about race enough with my kids. They go to a very diverse school and are interested in the differences they observe, and naturally enough they want to talk about it. I don’t think I do a good enough job with those discussions.Part of my discomfort with talking about race is that I’m white, and so I don’t want to make assumptions about other people’s experiences – especially the experiences of people of other races. It’s sort of like when male friends (even lovely pro-feminist types) go on about gender issues – sometimes I’m appreciative but sometimes they say something really irritating and insensitive and they have no idea why anyone would be offended. Because I haven’t suffered because of my race I’m unsure of what to say about racism or of how to educate my kids about it. Friends of other races can be really helpful, but I don’t want to presume on them because it’s not their job to educate everyone else. So I muddle through, and am very thankful that my kids have many amazing teachers of different races. I tend to follow their lead whenever I can.

  11. I haven’t read the book yet (waiting for it to be available at the library), but this is truly an awesome discussion. As a white woman raising biracial kids, I’m trying to make it a point to make discussions of race a normal thing. In theory.My 2.5 year old is all about learning his colors right now, pointing to things, asking what color. So, yesterday he started doing this with skin, for himself, his much darker complected brother, me, daddy etc. And even though he’s just learning primary colors, (let alone “Fuchsia, beige, peach”)I found myself being VERY specific: kind of a caramel color, a dark beige. And it was just a little reminder: I’m still super uncomfortable having this conversation.
    My husband and I are comfortable discussing, but when thinking that everything I say may be influencing my son’s perceptions of race? I’m feeling a lot of pressure. Perhaps because these are things he will actually have to deal with, and I’m not just teaching him about “you and others.” He’s learning about how HE may be perceived, and even harder, how he perceives himself.

  12. Oh, one thing I saw somewhere (and I haven’t read Nurtue Shock…just the excerpt so it might be from there) is that this is the least helpful thing to say:We’re all the same on the inside.
    Because kids know that’s not true. They know boys and girls are different. They know mommy is different from them. They know. And then, they think you’re lying. They don’t realize you’re talking about race. They just know that you’re wrong or confused because what you’ve said directly contradicts what they have observed for themselves. So, you have to be specific about boys/girls/skin/hair/country of origin/language/LBGTS, and any other differences you want them to know are arbitrary or don’t matter, whatever.

  13. As my wife and I are “mixed-race” (m wife is French-Canadian, I’m Chinese-Canadian) race is a present and natural part of my son’s life. I’ve been talking about race with him since he was around 2, mostly around the idea that people come in all shades and speak many difference languages, but we’re all still just people.For the most part, we don’t make a huge deal about race in the same way we don’t make a big deal about the differences between sexes. It helps that Canada is very much a multicultural society, so he’s been exposed to a multitude of people from all corners of the world since be was born.

  14. I think the hardest part for me is knowing what to say to my almost-three-yr-old about why people look different. I was certainly convinced to do so by this chapter of nurture shock, and wanted to start right away, but being white and never having “learned” how to properly discuss race, I am leery of what I can teach her that won’t sound offensive to someone when it inevitably comes out later. Discussing parentage with her (x’s parents were also light/dark/etc skinned) doesn’t answer her questions about why people look different… I would absolutely love to hear more perspectives on how we can broach the subject to our little ones so it comes out right. So far I have started by getting more books from the library on different animals from various continents because I am trying to introduce the concept of the world and its diversity to her. Also she is a princess-aholic so we have lots of talks about how belle comes from France which is close to where our families came from, which is why we have light skin, etc. I am starting this way because a) she is extremely curious and b) loves animals and is starting to get the concept of the different places in the world but also c) I thought about the concept of pride of heritage and thought that, even if it is totally not PC to be proud of being white, at least she can understand that we came to America from somewhere else and that other people move around too. And just writing this down has made me completely terrified that I have offended someone so that is why it is so garbled… I suppose my point is, what exactly are people going to start SAYING to introduce thus concept concretely to our children? Because in the book it seemed very clear that tiptoeing around the subject with kids made things worse…

  15. This has been on my mind this year–the information in this chapter seems to have been floating about the Internet and has prompted some good conversations with friends.I’ve initiated some conversations with the kids (ages 2 and 4–all of us white, for the record) about this, but it is hard. For instance, in public, if my son says something like, “boys are better than girls,” I have NO problem talking about that with him, in the moment. But if he says something about someone else’s skin color, I feel very uncomfortable talking about it, at least in public. Quick example: The other day at the grocery store, he started trying to talk with a girl with darker skin in Spanish, assuming that because she looked Hispanic, she would speak Spanish. She just looked at him funny (and her mother looked at me funny), and I steered him away. I’m sure that I did not handle it correctly, and it’s this very “in the moment” moment that I’m having the hardest time with regarding this issue.
    I think the reason is this: I have agency when discussing gender issues. I am a woman, I have a daughter. But regarding race, I think part of the reticence of well-meaning white parents is that we don’t feel like it’s “our place” to talk about race. Like, racism was not our experience and I would be, somehow, co-opting that experience by trying to explain it to my kid. That sounds lame, and I know intellectually that it is lame, but it’s almost an emotional response. Which is why it’s so hard to flip off “in the moment.”
    Of course, I know that I have to make doubly sure that I get over my own discomfort and keep talking.

  16. I always thought the line that we’re all the same on the inside referred to internally anatomy. People of all color have lungs, hearts, stomachs, etc., but maybe that’s the biologist in me. I think it can be difficult for all people to realize this concept. People are people.

  17. Like Coley, I am on the hold list for NurtureShock from the library. But I have read and discussed with my DH and provided my daughter’s teachers a copy of the article Sarcasticarrie linked, which was written by the authors of Nurtureshock and linked to me by MK of Musings and Mutterings when I was having a hard time in January with all of my kid’s preK teachers talk about “black people”. We had worked so hard to not label people with the color of their skin!But she was right to do it. My daughter had been noticing all along. Asking the UPS guy, “Why is your skin a different color?” Asking the apartment manager, “Why is your skin so dark?” She asks why everyone who works at our local post office is black. And even though she has close friends of all different races in diverse L.A., if you put a palette of pictures of kids in front of her and asked her who would be a nice friend, she would probably pick the lightest color friend.
    So we point out people’s differences now and explicitly say that even though our skin colors are different, we’re nice friends, or she’s a good doctor, or we’re lucky to have such a fun playdate.
    And she quizzes me on these conversations, so I know she’s mulling it over. I just hope that these conversations help.
    I grew up in a (grandparent’s) household that was very openly racist and yet my friends were always very diverse and my beliefs always reflected humanity over color, so I guess I don’t understand what the end result of all of our hemming and hawing will be, though, truthfully. But, that said, they ALWAYS were willing to talk about people being different. There was no “we’re all the same”. In their defense, where they grew up was very white and so in their later years when they were actually exposed to diversity, they embraced it.
    How did your parents’/grandparents’ attitudes on race affect you? What will our end result be? I’m really looking forward to getting this book.

  18. Ours is a mixed-race house, where almost everyone’s mix is a little different. We’ve talked about civil rights history and the struggle to my step-son (he’s black, white, and Asian); we’ve also talked about how interracial relationships weren’t always common or acceptable. We’ve also talked about what life would have been like for my husband had he stayed in Vietnam, as a person who is white and Vietnamese.I wish that I knew more about the fight for civil rights, that I were able to discuss more than a general outline of it. My hope is that his mother and his mother’s family have had some time to answer questions about it.
    Oh, and after his sisters and I go to the school open house for his school, he always fields questions about whether he’s adopted. 😛

  19. Re the princesses, my daughter was a little resistant to Tiana, instead embracing Snow White. We’ve had a number of talks about how *stupid* and helpless Snow White is. And how Stupid Arek is from The Little Mermaid – he falls in love with a VOICE and then can’t tell the difference between the good one and the WITCH, and it’s finally his DOG that figures it out.We went through the stories one by one. She doesn’t know beauty and the beast, although we’ve talked about it, but we talk about how Belle and Tiana are much smarter about life and love that Stupid Cinderella, who let her nasty stepmother and stepsisters boss her around and then moved in with a guy she hardly knew. 🙂 And then I point out that Tiana and her prince have dark skin.
    It’s all a process. At first she was SO MAD that I was insulting her beloved princesses, but now she points out in the movies where they made bad decisions.

  20. I’ve had to explain to my 5 yo son on more than one occasion that I’m not Asian like his dad (I’m white and really pale) even though I speak an Asian language. I find it interesting that he does not assume a connection between skin color and linguistic/ethnic background.

  21. Discussion of this chapter alone makes me want to read this book. Some guidance in the area of race or ethnicity would be really helpful. We haven’t had much opportunity to discuss it because of the ages of my kids. We have lots of books with diverse images of kids, but we tend to run into white or white-ish people around here. Working in Chicago brought me friends of many backgrounds and countries, but now living in Maryland with small children as a SAHM brings me in contact with more people of similar look and background.I haven’t tried to bring up race with my 3 year old, because I felt like I wanted him to bring his questions to me. I didn’t want to make him hyper-aware of something he might not be making a big deal of otherwise. I guess that is simply avoidance. I like a few of the suggestions above – talking about picture books, etc.
    I recall thinking most of the brown skinned people I befriended growing up (not very many in our town) were really beautiful and I even went through a stage in which I wished desperately that I had such beautiful skin. Mine is very light and freckled.
    There wasn’t any talk of race in our family which I think was because of my mother keeping a lid on my father’s prejudices. I was shocked to find out how he categorized people, when he began to talk more frankly about race as I became an adult and yet, his actions and attitudes of individuals was completely different. Also his opinions have evolved quite a bit in the last ten years. I guess this makes the whole thing a lot more confusing for me to approach with my own kids.

  22. @sweetcoalminer, you can have a lot of fun with the “real” – unDisneyfied, unBowdlerized – versions of the princess stories. there are still traditional views in them but the Grimm’s or Andersson versions are a lot more ambiguous.

  23. My stepfather (who is therefore one of my kid’s grandfathers)is black, while the rest of my family is white. I guess this creates an opening to talk about race, but I’m not sure how. “Your black grandfather is just as great as your white grandfathers” seems weird.

  24. @Charisse, we’ve gone that route, but I so don’t want to explain to her how Rapunzel got pregnant. :)I’m interested in what you do, because before we did any disney, we checked these beautifully-illustrated books out of the library for many of these stories, but there’s something about the Disney versions (the marketing? The nightgowns/costumes/bicycle helmets) that she is drawn to.
    But you’re right. She’s older now and I will try harder.

  25. I totally agree with @Molly when she says “I think part of the reticence of well-meaning white parents is that we don’t feel like it’s “our place” to talk about race. Like, racism was not our experience and I would be, somehow, co-opting that experience by trying to explain it to my kid.”I can easily get on board with talking about the color of peoples’ skin because, well, there it is. It’s on the outside; no one can deny that there are different skin colors and I can’t imagine that anyone would be offended by acknowledging that. I actually expect that to come up pretty soon with my 2 yr old as my neices and nephew are biracial.
    However, I am not sure how to address the experience. Is it even my place? I don’t want to downplay it too much but I also wouldn’t want to overdo it… When the time comes, I hope to find some good age-appropriate books to read together.

  26. I really liked this chapter. My son, too, goes to a very diverse pre-k program (he’s almost three), with a wonderful black women who is his teacher. He also loves my mom’s 16-year old foster kid, Angela, who is very dark black. But we’ve never discussed race at all. He even pointed and shouted at a woman who he thought was his teacher and I was horrified – but later realized that she DID look a lot like her (she was across the street), but I was so embarrassed at the idea “all black people look alike” that I quickly whisked him away. It seems so silly now, but eye-opening and I hope I’ll be better prepared for such conversations from now on!I liked learning about the study that when children were read a book about Jackie Robinson, including language about how he was a victim of discrimination by white people, it made a real impact on the kids.
    I went to the library to seek out some books, but came up short (lots of books with diverse races, none that discuss discrimination explicitly – i’m talking picture books for a preschooler.) I’d love some suggestions!

  27. I have the book at my desk and still haven’t picked it up! Sorry—lazy. I’m not sure if what I have to contribute is relevant—but–I grew up in an entirely White area. Now, we live in an urban setting that is much more diverse (although still ((informally)) segregated to a shocking degree)—Eldest went to preschool through a program housed in the public schools. For various reasons we chose a school that is almost entirely African-American, Black, of color—whatever term you like. Eldest was, for the first half of the year, the only white kid in the class. I was *so grateful* she had this experience, so unlike my school experience. And it really stretched her Dad and me, too, in ways we didn’t expect. “Why do we call them Black when they’re brown?” was definitely a point of curiosity. Hair, too. And then, halfway through the year, a new girl joined the class. “Mama, she’s WHITE like me!”Man, the topic exhausts me—and here’s the thing, it’s like my trying to teach Eldest Comparative Religion (we are attending religious ceremonies of all different types this summer, resulting in me attending my first Catholic mass this past Sunday…) It is SO HARD to get your arms around where to start. (Me, during the service, to myself, “I think a reading of the book of Luke might be in order…”) And you don’t want to screw up. But, like religion, with race, if we don’t go to the bother to teach our kids, there are plenty of other people that would jump at the chance to fill their heads with their own agenda, you know? So it’s worth the work, but it’s hard.

  28. I’ve got Nurture Shock still sitting on my shelf and have been meaning to jump in on the discussions. So I haven’t read the chapter yet, nor have I had to discuss race yet with my 13-month-old, but just wanted to share my personal experiences.I am a mostly Irish white mutt who grew up in Los Angeles in the 70s and 80s. This was during a period of rapid immigration by Asian (Cambodian, Vietnamese, Laotian) and Latino (Salvadoran, Nicaraguan) refugees to SoCal, adding to the already rich ethnic and racial mix in the public schools. I do remember as a very little girl (maybe 4 or 5?) asking a black kid why his teeth weren’t also dark. I chalk that interchange up to simple curiousity, or an attempt to categorize as Moxie talks about, as cringe-inducing a memory as it is.
    Once in mid to late elementary school, say 3rd or 4th grade, it seemed that we took care of our own diversity training peer-to-peer. Yes, we had MLK day and Cinco de Mayo as institutionalized opportunities to talk about race. But we had also learned by then that not all ‘Orientals’ (as was the term) were Chinese, nor were all Hispanics Mexican. So I remember the question, “What’s your nationality?” being a fairly common one, albeit probably a mostly one-way street from white kids to kids of color. But in fairly short order we learned that Filipino was different than Cambodian, which was different than Japanese, and so on. I don’t remember my parents explicitly talking much about race, which makes me wonder if the DET does work to some extent in a highly racially varied environment like the LAUSD. Which is not to say that we kids didn’t self-select our peer groups on the playground along racial lines, but it didn’t feel like it was out of fear or distrust per se. It was just the way things were.
    In any event, very interesting discussion. Maybe I’ll cram this chapter tonight and chime back in.

  29. I’m sort of fascinated by the differences between my approach to race (I’m a white American, raised in a liberal household that tried to be non-racist) and my husband’s approach (a white New Zealander, raised similarly). He is just soooo much more willing to discuss race, and always has been. I often wonder if that is because the racial history in New Zealand at least doesn’t include slavery. The document that is the foundation of their state is a treaty between the Queen and the native people (the Maori), who are the largest group of non-white people in the country. They are still arguing over the interpretation of that document, but I have to think that is a far better starting place than what we have here. Now, everything is not smiles and sunshine with regards to race in New Zealand, but my husband’s instinctive approach to discussing race with our children is much closer to the one recommended in Nurture Shock than mine is.We’ve both read the Newsweek article and are still trying to figure out how to incorporate it into our parenting. We want to read the actual chapter, but haven’t gotten around to it yet. That probably says something, too. Our oldest daughter is 3.
    Diversity is one of the things I’ll be looking at when we decide on a school for Pumpkin. I am the product of fairly diverse schools, and that is one of my favorite things about my pre-college education. I learned a lot from my classmates. Maybe one of the biggest lessons I got was how it is next to impossible for me to really understand the daily crap that someone who is not white has to deal with. But that my friends were willing to forgive me when I got things wrong, if I was honest in my attempts to learn and do better next time. And that trying was better than pretending that there wasn’t a problem there in the first place.

  30. I can’t wait to read this chapter. My mom’s bringing the book over tomorrow. We are white, we live in a town of 4,000 that is 98% white, and the elementary school is 95% white. We don’t talk about race unless our son brings it up and it’s usually because he says something surprising or shocking.We went camping two weeks ago and he said, “Hey, have you noticed there are no brown people camping here? Why were there brown people at the WalMart but no brown people camping?” I had no answer for that.
    Hey, at least we don’t have that diversity thing going against us too.
    Yeah, I need to read this book.

  31. I too fond this chapter fascinating because I saw that I was doing everything wrong (avoidance). I’m white, my husband is Filipino so my boys are inter-racial. My husband and I have had conversations about how neither of us will ever truly understand their (the boys’) experience since they aren’t Filippino or White but rather both. Lately, my boys have been noticing things like their skin is darker than mine but lighter than their dad’s. We’ve talked how I “watered” down Daddy’s dark hair and dark skin. They wonder if they will have hair on their arms like me or none like their dad and why do some people have hair like that and others don’t, etc.My mom is from Berkeley and so we grew up in a pretty liberal household. My dad remaired a lady from the South (and they live in Texas) and it still stuns me how different it is there than on the West Coast. Since I turned out pretty open-minded, I kind of just assumed my boys would too (especially given they are bi-racial). The idea of pointing out different skin colors seems so foreign to me as it seems so in your face, this person is different from us. But as someone above said, I have no issues pointing out who is a boy and who is a girl.
    I do notice my boys picking out like people in the sense that my one son wears glasses so he will constantly point out that another person wearing glasses is just like him (just because they both happen to wear glasses) so that compartmentalization is going on in their heads.
    I think the one thing (and this was in general across most of the Nuture Shock chapters) that I had really hoped to see at the end of the chapter was some concrete examples of race conversations. How do you bring it up? What happens when (as most kids do) they start talking about it out of context or say something in appropriate in a public venue? What are some age-guidelines in terms of what to say when?
    Charisse – your pre-school/school sounds great. Definitely something I would expect to find in the Bay Area.

  32. Two books I used to start conversations about diversity:One World, One Day by Barbara Kerley. Shows how kids around the world live their days.
    Shades of People by Shelley Rotner and Sheila M. Kelly
    I don’t think the text of either is sufficient by itself, but they were helpful for me, because I needed a springboard.

  33. I’ve read most of the posts and wanted to throw my two cents in. We’re a mixed-race family. Just like -R- my stepdad is black. So my kids have a black and while grandfather. My sister just adopted a sweet, adorable black/Hispanic little one, can’t tell I’m in love can you!When the kids were little we lived in a well-known-fancy-dancy area outside of SF. In the beginning there were a lot of looks when papa came to see us. The thing about my stepdad is he has the deepest voice I’ve ever heard; you can’t miss that voice. So when he yelled hello to the kids, lots of people appeared at the window or opened the door to see what the ruckus was all about, and the kids noticed that. That’s when the questions began.
    We told the kids what Andrea @ 03:00 PM said. If you look inside of every person on the earth you’ll see the same thing, red blood (boys love blood) a beating heart, and the ability to breathe in the air we need to survive. Then I broke it down into kid language for them. I asked them to think back to the butterfly pavilion and remember that most of the butterflies were different from each other, but they were all butterflies, and that’s how it is with people. I told them to think about the dress up box at their friend’s house. I said, GOD has put each of us in a different outfit, a different skin color, different hair, different nose, some with glasses, some without, but at the core we are all the same.
    Of course then the inevitable questions came, like why did we sell slaves. What worked for me was to tell the truth. I told them I don’t know how people could have done that. I said I believe that it came from seeing people as separate, not equal to others, and not part of the big picture we call humankind. I told them that I believe to act on separateness is to act from ignorance.
    I took each stage as it came. When it was time to talk about slavery we did, but we looked at it across history, not just the civil rights movement. My kids cried and were deeply hurt that someone could have told us that we couldn’t love papa! They couldn’t imagine a world where that could happen.
    I listened to their questions and let them take the lead. Other kids would ask me why the boy’s grandfather was black and not white, and I would say, because their grandmother fell in love with him. I always told the truth but from a different point of view. I choose not to make our family’s truth about race, I chose to make it about the love we have, the equality we believe in and the fairness we extend to all human beings, and they were comfortable about that.
    They grew up knowing all humans have value in this world, and that you look beneath the skin. That’s what we did. Taller has been living with his African/ American girlfriend for 3 years, and Tall is dating a woman from Sweden, so I guess some of it rubbed off on them.

  34. I live in France with two daughters (we’re all white – aspirin white to be perfectly honest). Two anecdotes:My younger daughter (6) has four friends with the same first name, so they’ve all got an extra “nickname” to distinguish them. One is “Lucy music” because they were in the same music class, one is “Lucy Anaïs” because her big sister Anaïs is my elder daughter’s friend, one is “Lucy last name” and the fourth is “Lucy school where they first met”. What’s funny about this is that Lucy music is blond, Lucy Anaïs is half French-half African, Lucy last name is brunette and Lucy school where they first met is Kenyan (but adopted by a white mother)… Neither of my daughters ever mentions that Lucy school is black – my daughter told a friend, “that’s my friend Lucy” and the other friend asked “which child?” and my daughter described her clothes but didn’t say “she’s the only black girl in the playground”…
    Second incident: my daughter was given a Tiana costume for her birthday. She looks adorable in it, but really, really not like Tiana (did I mention we’re whiter than white?). Her older sister said that yeah, the costume was nice but that it would look better on Lucy (school) or Lucy Anaïs. My daughter looked perplexed and asked why. Her sister said that it was because the two Lucies in question both have brown skin (one much darker than the other). My daughter looked at her arm in amazement, having never apparently really noticed that her skin is much, much whiter than her two friends…
    We’ve talked about Kenyan Lucy (school) and her origins, looked at pictures of Kenya and so on, so it’s not like we’ve avoided the subject, but I really don’t think it’s an issue. Both my kids have had friends from different cultures all their lives (lots of North Africans in France, plus Vietnamese, Sub-Saharan Africans…) and maybe race questions are less sensitive here in France. I don’t know. But the fact remains that they are at a private, Catholic school where there are kids of all races and religions, and skin colour really doesn’t seem to be a problem (unless you want to look like Tiana – my daughter was heartbroken that she’d never really look like Tiana!). I hope it stays that way because of course there is racism in France…

  35. Does anyone else feel overwhelmed with the share number of things we’re supposed to do right? Compared with the number of things that our parents did ‘right’?I read the book and loved it, it also freaked me out about all the things that I think I’m ‘not doing good enough’ and race was a big one. I have tried to incorporate it into daily life. However, I have been slack on race too. When you are just trying to make it through the day and then you think of all the things you’ve been doing ‘wrong’ – praise, sleep, race etc it gets way too much.
    However, this discussion has made me realise what my daughter has really been asking me when she says to me “Why is ‘T’ my friend?” “Why does ‘M’ play with me?” (For the record, white family here, moved from the US to New Zealand – VERY multi cultural where we live.) What she is really asking me, is ‘why, even though he/she looks different to me that we still are friends?’ I think I’ll address that one tonight. (Every night at bed time we turn off the light and talk about things that she wants to talk about.)
    I have tried really hard to just be casual about talking about sex, but I am very bad about talking about race. I will try and just comment here and there and be casual and let her ask questions. I have noticed, when I try ‘too hard’ with my daughter it backfires. If I answer questions openly and honestly and tell her she can ask anything, she seems very satisfied with that.
    However, I look at my family of origin and see the blatant racist beliefs that were present and I realise that I turned out ok. I grew up hearing stuff like “For a ‘X’ they are a nice person/hard working/smart….” And “Bloody ‘X’ they are taking over and there will be nothing left for us.”
    Mind you I also grew up hearing: “I wish you were a boy, why were you born, you were a mistake etc etc” I distinctly remember at age 8 deciding I would NEVER be like my family. I wonder if that decision meant that I LOVE living in a multi cultural society.
    So the upshot is I think I will just try my best at everything and hope that my kids turn out ok. I think I am finally ‘over’ trying to do everything perfectly, because you know what, they are going to grow up, and have issues about something and all I can do is hope that they know, they were loved, respected and challenged, and I hope that translates to them loving and respecting and challenging the world (in a good way).
    Sorry if I’m rambling, I have a 4 month old and we all know what that does to the way you express yourself!

  36. The problem with relying on DET is that people are relying on it only at the child’s peer level. It’s perhaps more important that we adults have diverse peers and close friends. It also takes the pressure off feeling it’s not “our place”. When you have close friends of different races, the conversations arise naturally over dinner, etc. And if your kids are present, they absorb it. when they’re old enough they likely will even begin to participate.

  37. I read this chapter a while ago and I remember thinking about the DET when i read it. It’s totally spot on. I too live in a very diverse area, the bay area, and am south asian. One thing I noticed was that even though it is very diverse here (all kinds of asian nationalities, europeans…etc) so much so that whites are almost a minority – People still hang out MOSTLY with their own kind. (Hang out here means deeper friendships as opposed to interactions that you have at the park or bank etc). Think about the type of folks you would invite home for dinner. This I feel is very much in-group.In my son’s pre-school he is the only brown kid (though he is not the only one of asian origin). So far he hasnt commented about skin color at all, but like most kids I think he is able to figure out which kids are more of his kind (as opposed to white). I really dont know how I should broach the subject with him, or if I should point things out to him. (when he hasnt yet shown any curiosity abt his skin color or that of his friends). If he did bring up the subject, I suppose at that time I could talk to him about it.We’ve been talking to him recently about gender since he has been all about what girls can or cannot do. Perhaps books about the subject would be good too…but I didnt take away too many things from this chapter that I could act on in my life today..(my son is 3)

  38. No time to read all the comments, and I’m late to the post, but after reading Moxie’s intro, all I could think about was my students in Revere, MA, about ten years ago. Many of them were Latino or Cambodian and they were very vocal about race. There was a lot of gang activity and racial tension, but on the other hand, plenty of “mixing.” I still have a gorgeous photo of a red-headed Irish girl, a Thai girl, and a girl whose parents were born in Kenya. The contrasts are strikingly beautiful, as is their obvious friendship. One 13 year old didn’t hesitate to say she hated white people and I asked her how she could like me, since I’m white. “You’re not white, you’re Jewish,” was her answer, which was really surprising. I have no idea how to bring up race with my almost 3 year old, but I hope to learn something from reading these comments, maybe when the newborn gets older . . .

  39. I don’t know if the book addresses it but we also have started not only to discuss race (something we try to do often since C and I are a different race from the girls) but also deformities/SN/etc. A good friend had cleft and Cammie asked him about it. Conor freaked, I then explained to Cams and she was like Oh o.k. Conor freaked cause he was worried it was rude, I said it wasn’t cause she asked politely and she is 3! Anyway, will be interested how people comment.

  40. My sister recently came out of the closet and when she told me, I was so happy for her. And then I thought about it and realized that I was happy for myself and my children, too, because now we can have authentic conversations about same-sex marriage. Then I asked my sis if there was any way that the girl she was in love with was black. She laughed and said if this one didn’t work out she’d see what she could do. It would have been nice because then we could also talk about race in the same breath.Our parents are off-the-boat Cuban but my sibs and I look mostly white. We tan up nice in the summer and some people assume we’re hispanic, but it surprises others when we bust out in Spanglish. So I don’t really know what people assume about us. When we were children, however, we lived in white-ass MN and boy, did our town wig the eff out when we moved in. I can still feel the sting of my 5th grade teacher telling my dad I would never be prom queen b/c I was brown. (BTW – He was wrong. We just had to move to Florida.)
    Anyway, my dad is a vocal racist. We grew up with him constantly sneering and muttering not-quite-under-his-breath about n-word this and n-word that. But my sibs and I…we’re not racist one bit. So maybe his constant vocalization worked.
    Today at the pool my friend brought her boyfriend, who is black black. (As in not brown black.) E (who is almost three) stared at him for a few minutes and then went about his business. I realized that because we live in whitey Colorado, that was probably the closest he’d ever been to someone so black. We will talk about it tomorrow after he’s had a good night’s sleep. We’ve talked about skin color but mostly like “oh yeah, this fire truck came with a white firefighter, a “mom” firefighter, a “dad” firefighter and a brown firefighter. Look at that.” Curious to see what his thoughts are.

  41. A while back I read the Newsweek article about this subject that a few folks have mentioned. The idea that our kids are categorizing people, just like they categorize everything else, makes a lot of sense to me…it actually seems rather obvious once it’s explained like that.Actually incorporating this into real life conversations, though…well, we’ll see. I’m from the US and my husband is from Australia, so we have different cultural baggage associated with race. We live in Mexico. Our son was born here so consequently is both a Mexican national and the only “white” kid at his school. When we talk about what people look like so far I’ve kept it to explaining that he has blond hair and blue eyes because his dad and I do.
    It’s socially acceptable here to refer to people based upon their physical characteristics, so my child gets called güerito a lot. With all the nicknames based on whether you’re chubby or have dark skin or whatever, I think we’re fine as far as everyone openly acknowledging that yes, people do look different.
    As far as learning that this doesn’t have anything to do with the value of a person, though, I have a hard time imagining how the conversation would go…”Yeah, it’s true, Pablo and Jesus and Araceli all have darker skin than yours. You have so much fun playing with them, don’t you?”…”Why wouldn’t I, Mom?”.

  42. Like a few others have kind of mentioned, I got to the end of the chapter and was thinking ‘What? Don’t leave me now! I know what NOT to do in talking about (or not talking about) race now, but what do I DO? Specifically? Examples, I need examples!’.And again, as a few others have mentioned, it’s hard to have conversations about something that you’ve only experienced second hand. I’ve never been subject to racism. I’ve witnessed it. I’ve been offended by it. But I don’t know what it’s like to have predjudices held against me due to the colour of my skin. It’s easy to talk about gender. I have 40 years of experience with that.
    Haven’t had any race discussions with DS who is 2. He goes to a very diverse daycare where white kids (like him) seem to be the minority. And to be honest, I don’t even think there is a majority race in the kids that attend. Very diverse. I’m assuming he’s categorizing, but as far as I can tell, the kids he plays with the most are from a variety of backgrounds, and the majority of the educators are Latino.
    One day when we were talking about sunscreen to DS’ main educator, she said she (lovingly) calls him (and the other pasty-white kid in his room) ‘mi Guerro Quebecois’ (my [little] white Quebec boy). Writing this down, I realise that it could be taken as racist, but I took it more to be a term of endearment and to refer literally to very pale, white skin (DS is very, very pale). After reading the NurtureShock chapter on race, I’m kinda thinking it’s a good thing that his educator is frank about their differences, yet she treats him with the same love and warmth as the other kids (DS is IN LOVE with her…cries when she attends to other kids…but that’s a whole other issue).
    While I understand and agree that DAT does not work alone in combating racism in kids, I think it provides the possibility for having friends from different backgrounds, understanding more about different races and cultures, and at minimum, providing a basis for conversations about race. But the explicit conversations need to happen. I must admit I’m still working it out in my own head – how to talk about race (not just have it be the (no pun intended) white elephant in the room). What helps a lot, I find, is hearing about (non-white) friends’ thoughts on racism or details about their own experiences with racism.
    After reading the chapter, it’s now plainly evident that I have to start the race conversations soon. I’m thinking talking about friends at daycare and about food (we love to eat food & dishes from a lot of different cultures) may be the way to start things off. I also like the idea of introducing the concept of the different continents via animals, which DS loves. And not to wait until 3rd grade (as I probably would have if I hadn’t read the chapter…unless questions were asked, or if a situation came up). DS doesn’t have many words yet so for now, the conversations will be mostly one sided.
    @akeeyu, I LOVE your idea of ‘practising’ the challenging conversations when your kids are young. Totally stealing that.
    Oh, and last point. My best friend is of Persian and Irish descent. She is commonly thought of as ‘white’ by most people. Even I had (unwittingly) categorized her this way until one day, about 5 or 6 years into our friendship we were talking and she was telling me how for her, as a kid, she often felt conflicted because friends would say racist comments in her presence (often about Indians), assuming of course that she was ‘white’. Of course, at the time, she felt ashamed for being who she was while also guilty and conflicted about not standing up for herself about this part of her, and meanwhile, fearful that the ‘friends’ would find out the ‘truth’ about her. She’s worked it all out now as an adult and embraces both sides of her heritage. But it’s a good reminder that really, and truly, we can’t make assumptions about people. I think it’s this sentiment that I think of most when I think about talking to my son about race. We can see how someone looks on the outside (skin colour, hair colour, etc.) but to know about someone’s experience in life (i.e. how they are on the ‘inside’), and the kind of person they are, we have to get to know them. Everyone has a different story.
    @Andrea, I think of the same thing with the ‘We’re all the same on the inside’ line (biology not emotions). But I guess I’ll need to be explicit as @Sharon mentions, if I ever use that line.

  43. If this topic interests you, you should read “Other People’s Children” by Lisa Delpit. While written for educators, it talks about a lot of what everyone above is talking about. The most striking thing I remember from reading her book years ago was that while white people think they are being open-minded and liberal in saying things like, “I don’t see color, I just see people” was that comments like that completely invalidate the most fundamental aspect of someone’s identity – their race and cultural background. Plus, it’s a lie. Of course you see someone’s color – it’s the first thing you see. Teaching your child not to value that by *purposefully not noticing it* is teaching children to deal with cultural differences by ignoring them. Um….not exactly what we’re shooting for, and possibly why we find ourselves in such a mess in our country compared to other countries.

  44. I don’t have a lot of wisdom to share on this, but I do have a story. Many years ago (late 80s) I had a boyfriend who was black and I remember a friend’s (white) son, who was about 3 at the time, asking my ex why his skin was so dark. He answered very openly and easily that he just happened to have dark (he might have said black, although in reality it was a medium reddish-brown). The 3 year old was very curious about whether it was the same as his skin, whether it hurt when he scraped it and such. My ex (who turned out to be a real sh*t in most ways) handled it really well and made it such a natural conversation.Like a lot of the previous posters, I would have a really hard time answering these kinds of questions so easily because I am white and I guess I don’t feel that I have a lot of credibility on the topic of racism. My daughter’s schools have been helpful, talking about MLK and civil rights in January, and we have been able to have some decent talks about it. She tends to describe people of color as brown and when playing with other kids at the park or whatever doesn’t appear to notice or care what color they are.
    I do have concerns because *everyone* at her school and pretty much all of our friends and aquaintances are white, with the exceptions of a couple of Asian kids in her class. We do live in a racially diverse area but segregation is, IMO, even more entrenched than ever these days.

  45. I was talking to my husband about this chapter last weekend and in trying to describe it I realized that I didn’t really get it either. So I’m glad to be talking about it here. I “got” it to the extent that I understand that talking about race to kids is a good thing and avoiding it is a bad thing, but the specifics of exactly how and why and when and what aren’t so much there for me.That said, a few things stood out. I live in one of the more diverse neighborhoods in Chicago, my almost-4-year-old’s best preschool friend is black, and we have good friends who are indian, asian, black, etc. That said, the kids her age who live near us are almost all white (there are quite a few black kids but they are all just enough older that they aren’t in her peer group when we’re all playing outside). I was embarrassed, however, when she brought up a woman’s “beautiful skin” at Target. I think I handled it ok (what do you like about it? yes it is a lovely color, it is pretty cool that people all look different so that people get to all have cool skin colors and eye colors and so on, I went on like that for a bit), and the woman gave me a big smile so I assume she wasn’t horrified. I was trying to figure out why I was embarrassed though, and realized that I think it’s because I felt like I hadn’t done a good enough job already in explaining it, and when she mentioned it in public it was like it exposed my parenting flaws. Perhaps irrational, but it’s just such a LOADED topic.
    I do know that one of the big things that I want to convey but I’m not totally sure how to get this one across to a little kid is that people get to choose how they feel about things. I mean, I tell her that about herself, but I just feel like our society is so focused on “right” vs. “wrong” ways to feel about things it’s exhausting. For instance, there’s constantly something in the news about native americans being offended by whatever sports team. In my experience (growing up in a small town in MI where the biggest minority is native americans), there’s no consensus and people sometimes are fine with it and sometimes offended by it. But our overarching culture seems to be divided into “this is horribly offensive to this culture” and “those people should get over it” – when the ACTUAL culture may come down somewhere in the middle. I am rambling and I doubt it’s making sense, but I just really want to be able to convey that I don’t get to decide what offends people, THEY do, so try to be empathetic.
    In other news, I didn’t get much sleep last night. Sorry for the incoherent comment.

  46. I thought this was a really interesting chapter. We’ve started talking about race for several reasons: my daughter’s first friend was adopted from Guatemala (and had lesbian parents–a twofer!), at her second daycare her best friends were a girl of mixed black/white/native American heritage and a lily white blond girl. Her current closest friend is from a family on exchange from the Mediterranean, so very brown. We’ve talked about the differences in skin color between all of her friends. It might be harder with my son b/c his class is very very very white at the moment.Her daycare also took the time to talk about MLK day (and even did a play about Rosa Parks) and they’ve talked about Kwanzaa, so she is getting it there too.
    Funny story: My husband and I met in Africa and we have a house full of African stuff. I am always going into class and talking about Africa. One day my daughter asked me (in total confusion) why we weren’t black if we’d lived in Africa. A teaching moment.
    I think we can still do more though, and we probably will. I might also mention this chapter to the kids’ teachers. I hated the first chapter of this book (annoying) but the past two have been nicely backed up by data. Although I can’t figure out why they mention some researchers by name and others only by university. It seems to put all the expertise on a few individuals when many people are involved. But that is the scientist in me talking and wanting full on citations!

  47. I have been lurking for a long time but I thought I would post because my approach seems a little different and it doesn’t feel so wrong. I found it interesting that ‘all I see is people’ is construed as a negative approach. I am a ‘white’ Australian (a term I have NEVER used and intend to never again use as it is inaccurate and by it’s very nature non-inclusive) and so is my husband – but my heritage is Indonesian (of which I am very proud although it is impossible to tell from looking at me) and (we recently found out) my husbands’ is possibly Middle Eastern (anecdotally Bedouin – a family of red haired, fair skinned folk with darker skinned, dark haired family members punctuated through the last 3 generations – that I have been able to observe. The anecdote involves a red-haired, fair skinned merchant seaman falling in love with a Bedouin woman). My daughter, 4, is olive skinned with dark brown hair – elements of her father and me. When we talk about skin colour we talk about, quite literally, how we are all different. Every single one of us. My skin is the lightest, then my daughters slightly darker and then my husbands slightly darker again. It, to me, is a truism that people are people because talking about the way we look like – no two people ARE the same. And kids are so literal – could it be so wrong to state the obvious? And I don’t see this as invalidating someone’s heritage because skin colour doesn’t necessarily reflect a person’s heritage. I think this attitude comes from more than Australia’s multi-cultural environment because our treatment of our True Australians is ghastly. Maybe it has something to do with our history and education where we are taught we were a colonized country so all new to the country and all visitors to this country. I don’t feel any ‘ownership’ of Australia so all must be as welcome as I have been. And yes, I was born here. It eats at my soul when people assume ‘ownership’ of this country – it seems to suggest some people have more right to it than others. Anyway, I digress.
    I haven’t yet read NurtureShock and maybe i am missing the point. And I accept my approach may be wrong, but I truly hope it won’t be damaging. And this discussion will give me much to think on…

  48. Following with interest–part of the reason I was happy to move to Israel was that there is a much greater chance of my kids being in the same classroom with kids who don’t look just like them (i.e., from white European extraction)…but while there are Jews here from all over the world, the distribution of people from Ethiopian, Yemeni, Algerian, Morrocan, Iraqi, etc. backgrounds is not even through the country. There’s racism and stereotyping (not in our immediate circle, but in the country in general). All things to deal with–but it’s good for me to know that just having my daughter have a kindergarten crush on a dark-skinned, dark-haired, dark-eyed boy isn’t enough. (/oversimplification)

  49. I’m white and grew up in a predominantly white area. Left for several years and came back to settle down.A bit of back story, though. I have a brother much older than me. When I was young he used to babysit and his friends would come over and drink. Not a good scene. The only one that wouldn’t drink was the one black kid in my brother’s high school. He would keep my sister and I safe. To this day I have the opposite reaction to the stereotypical white woman’s reaction when I’m in the presence of a large black man. I feel safer and can feel my body relax.
    In my mind, I’ve come to think of the uncomfortable tension white people have around discussing race as something similar to how straight men learn the ins and out of living with women and their hormonal changes with their periods or pregnancies.
    They can’t live it. They can’t completely understand it. But they do live with women, so they get some kind of and education about it. The women in their lives teach them what is dumb to say and do.
    The difference is that many white Americans don’t have enough people of different races in their lives around them to clue them in to what they are ignorant to. But we’re clued in just enough to know we are indeed ignorant. We’re afraid we’ll reveal our ignorance, or worse yet, say or do something really offensive. Even though in our hearts we really don’t feel like we’re racist.
    I hope that made sense.

  50. If I remember the Newsweek article, I think that’s where I picked up the idea to relate skin color to family origin generations and generations ago. People’s whose ancestors lived in Africa often had darker skin. People whose ancestors cam from Europe had lighter skin. It was a good start of a topic, one that confused my kids more than I realized.I grew up with the diverse environment, but I think the liberal politics helped cement my civil rights / anti-racist viewpoint. I also had experiences and teachers who showed us some of the small racisms people face, even if the laws aren’t (as) racist anymore. And about white privilege – I think without talking about race as an experience for people of color white kids don’t see their privilege. Now we’ve moved to a very white area and I worry about how to get my kids not to just see that all people are people, diversity is good, but to share my liberal politics 🙂

  51. I’ve find a lot of familiar feelings and observations in the comments so far – a deep discomfort on the part of many (if not most) white people with discussing race, an earnest insistence on one’s efforts to see people “for who they truly are,” and a great deal of bewilderment as well about what exactly we are supposed to do. All of these questions resonate with me as well, and as a white woman married to a South Asian man, I find myself even more challenged when I think about how to approach these topics with a toddler.One thing that seems to me important to discuss is the importance that race often has for people of color. We can grant, all of us, that “race” qua biological-essence-used-to-justify-discrimination is biologically and ethically bogus. But that doesn’t mean that race as social category used to parse the world will disappear when we point out, and keep pointing out, that analytical bogusness to our children.
    Nor does it mean – and here’s where it gets even trickier, I think – that in the real messy complicated social world that we live in, that all people of color would *want* race to disappear, to live in a world “where everyone was judged by the content of their character,” etc. etc.
    What I’m inarticulately trying to say is that one thing that has come through over and over to me in conversations about this topic is that “looking at everyone the same” sounds an awful lot like “looking at everyone as white,” to many non-white folks.
    Social anthropologists talk about marked/unmarked categories, and the power relations that tend to obtain between them. One useful way to think about race, I think, is in these terms: what, for whom, constitutes the taken-for-granted background of a given interaction, wish, desire, expectation? So often, in the US and in the Brit Commonwealth countries I’m most familiar with, it’s a certain kind of whiteness – not one that every white person as an individual will identify with, but one that nevertheless constitutes the unspoken horizon of many of the important institutional interactions we have – at schools, at work, on the consumer market, in the media, in politics.
    Women are often sensitive to the ways this works with gender – hence our frustration at comments like “female doctor” that imply that a plain old “doctor” would be male – and a parallel (but importantly also different) process is at work with race, I think.
    As our kids grow up they *will* notice that the world is parsed according to social differences, and that one of the loudest, most pervasive of those is this thing called “race.” (To the extent that they don’t hear it loudly they’re probably just absorbing the quiet status quo of unmarkedness that shapes/d so many of us, especially us mildly privileged liberal types.) We have to be able to talk about it to them in ways *more* than MLK (in the US) or things-in-the-past-that-were-awful. We also need a vocabulary to talk about the present day, about the ways that grave and insidious injustices continue to take place because of how people are categorized within our social structure, but also how these categories provide meaning and shape people’s lives.
    And to stress that, to me at least, it seems useful to think of racism as a structure that exceeds our individual intentions and feelings and selves – as something systemic and tremendously powerful, that requires more than our good will to transform. Even as it starts, and can only start, with our good will!
    One book that addresses this subject from a slightly different angle but is quite readable is Tim Wise’s “Colorblind:The Rise of Post-Racial Politics and the Myth of Racial Equality.” I know, I know – we have little ones, when do we have time to read (more than this blog)?!? http://www.citylights.com/book/?GCOI=87286100165330
    That’s actually something that struck me- almost all of the comments here were about talking to our little (preK and below) children about race. Are there words of wisdom from parents of older children out there? (Or is it mostly those of us with little guys reading here?)
    I’m sorry this is so long, and not nearly as clear as I would have liked it to be. I’m an avid lurker, but I wanted to add something to this conversation this time. I guess if I had to sum it up, I’d say: I think we need to find a way NOT to say “differences don’t matter” but to articulate how and when and in what ways they DO matter, both bad and good.
    In age-appropriate ways. Somehow.

  52. excellent post, berivan – thanks. and thanks to all – you’ve really helped me codify my thoughts, especially with why i’m uncomfortable in the spots i am.

  53. My 3 year old loves the DK book “Children Just Like Me.” It’s meant for older kids, but she loves looking at the pictures and asking each child’s name and where they live on the map. She doesn’t seem to take much notice of skin colour, although she’s very interested in other languages, particularly Chinese and Spanish. For now, I plan to just address her questions as they come up or find natural teachable moments to discuss race and national origins. I agree with other posters – this chapter surprised me, but left me wanting details on HOW I should talk with my kids. We are white and live in a diverse Canadian city.

  54. @berivan, Thank you so much for the great post. You’ve added a lot to the discussion, especially from the perspective of celebrating difference. I personally find the thought of discussing race with an older child a lot easier. But with a toddler it just seems hard to distinguish what’s age appropriate and also developmentally appropriate (i.e. what will they ‘get’).@Kuma, Thanks for the book rec. It reminds me of a book we used to have as kids about countries and people around the world. Loved that book. Will definitely pick this up for DS who is only 2, but will probably, like your little girl, love looking at the different boys and girls and wanting me to repeat where they are from.

  55. This thread is good. I’m getting lots of good info for conversation starters for my two little ones. We are white and live in the south in a mostly white area.My almost 3 year old has pointed out “brown” people before and I have said something along the lines of his mom and dad are brown and so he’s brown. He does an important job in our community by delivering the mail/driving trucks/etc. I need to elaborate more.
    My issue is with my 18 month old. When she crosses paths with any dark skinned person she freezes and stares. What do I then? Clearly, she’s pondering the differences and I’m doing nothing. I know that’s not good.

  56. I’ve been thinking about this thread a lot.I attend an HBCU (history black college/university) in DC. It is mostly black, and I’m an education student, which means that I end up talking about race and children with black folks a lot (I’m white). What I’ve mostly noticed is that–and perhaps this is that concept that was being talked about upthread, that white folks don’t always feel like we/they have the agency to discuss racism–that my black peers will discuss race much, much more openly. I’m wondering if there is a way to train ourselves to talk to children (I do not have children of my own yet, so I mean more generally) in this kind of open way–I think it makes sense that we’d have to train ourselves to do this, since by and large most people are not used to it.

  57. We’re white, our children are Chinese. idk what we’re doing. For better or for worse I decided to emphasize their heritage at a young age but not obsess over it. We always made sure each school was extremely ethnically diverse. My African American friends told me not to emphasize the great cruelities of the past with young kids as they can’t comprehend and think that something mean happened to their classmates.So far, so good..the kids have friends of all races. Oldest is going in 7th grade and is the pack leader of a bunch of “popular” girls who are ethnically mixed enough to win a spot on a Disney movie. All was ethnically mixed till 4th grade. There were 2 years where she only associated with white girls. I kept my mouth shut as I figured I couldn’t choose her friends for her.
    All of a sudden in 6th grade the group shifted and coalesced into a group with every race and ethnicity. This is a happy surprise.
    7th grader’s best friend is african american, she chats with an aa dude she met on Club Penguin 2 years ago from Chicago (yes I had a fbi friend run a check to make sure he was a kid) but I hear them discussing interracial crushes without any hesitancy. (several of his friends talk to several of her friends also)
    Rising 4th grader’s school friends are african american, but her neighborhood hangout friends are white. There are plenty of aa kids around our neighborhood but play dates with the ones she is close to at her school never work out. idk why. I remember going through this with oldest at this age, too.
    Just wandering through the sea and hoping it all works out.

  58. I tested how comfortable I am to talk about race just yesterday with my 5.5 year old. We bumped into a friend of my husbnad’s who is Somalian and once we got going ( we were on bikes) I asked my son if A looked like him. He suitably answered that A was black and he was white and that A was more like his friend at kinder C, who is from Ghana. What about on the inside I asked, are we the smae there. My son has a book on the human body that shows organs like the heart and lungs that are pinkish in colour and he answered that we are probably all pink on the inside, although this he didn’t know for sure. I said he was probably right.I have to say it felt really weird to start up the conversation like this, but once we got going I started to relax and felt more comfortable talking about race at a 5.5 year old’s level.
    My son then went on to talk about how his other friends at school are different to him too. How S is Chinese and has light brown skin and almond shaped eyes ( I supplied the adjective here) and how M had ‘orange’ hair and dots ( freckles), whereas he had brown hair and round eyes.By this stage I was actually enjoying the conversation seeing we had moved away from race and gotten onto simple physical descriptions.
    I suddenly thought what a change there has been in my son’s group of friends recently. At the start of the school year new kids included a Chinese girl, a Ghanan boy, and an Ecuadorian boy and girl. Previously there was a girl whose mother is Thai and a girl whose mother is Nigerian. There are other kids, including my son, who have at least one non-Italian parent but are all white. Of 28 kids this is a very multicultural class, especially seeing we are in Italy. In fact my son’s teachers tell me his class is the most multi-cultural of the school.
    Italy is not Australia or North America and has only started opening its doors to non-Europeans recently (see the Italian Soccer team as evidence of this), so it really is a small miracle that my son has this opportunity to mix with so many different ethnicities, which I am thrilled about. I just have to remind myself that this will not be enough in the long run and tocontinue our discussion of race, but at a my kids’ level.

  59. I loved your comment @Anon 6/26 @ 9:37pm – “The difference is that many white Americans don’t have enough people of different races in their lives around them to clue them in to what they are ignorant to. But we’re clued in just enough to know we are indeed ignorant. We’re afraid we’ll reveal our ignorance, or worse yet, say or do something really offensive. Even though in our hearts we really don’t feel like we’re racist.” Perfectly said.Race is truly the last American taboo. America is still a de facto segregated society, but the crazy thing is no one with any real authority ever seems to talk about it honestly.
    I read the whole book (online copy from library), and thought this chapter was one of the most potentially life-changing in the whole book, and yet I also felt it completely missed a golden opportunity to actually answer the tough question posed by the chapter title “Why White Parents Don’t Talk About Race.” IMHO, the answer is: Due to White Privilege, the benefits of which most whites are probably not even aware of most of the time, the majority of whites feel that race is not really an issue at all in their daily lives. So given its status as non-issue, why take on the risks/discomforts of bringing it up with their kids? Honestly, from an economic standpoint, what incentives do the average, conservative white folks have in dismantling White Privilege? None.
    Great discussion, all. Thank you, Moxie!

  60. I am just enough younger than Po Bronson that he seems to have a relevant book out every time I hit a new life stage. So, not learning from my mistakes, I read that book to see if I can learn from him and spend the whole time cursing under my breath. As usual, I hated this book, and this chapter evoked the most cursing of all. The funny thing is, I assume that in the hands of a different writer it might have been great, but boy, his style / tone make me crazy.I am so pale I am practically pale blue and I attended African American schools growing up. All of our classes had an Afro-centric focus, even math, and I think I was in middle school before I had sorted out the difference between George Washington Carver & President George Washington.
    I am married to a man from a South Asian ethnic group currently targeted for genocide by the gov’t there. The “funny” thing is that no-one can tell the difference between the ethnic groups without asking a bunch of questions. Their skin color, clothes, hair are all the same.
    So maybe it is because in my life I have talked (and been talked at) about race, color, status, etc far, far beyond the point of tedium, and because we have built in reasons to talk about it in the family, I fail to see the problem that is being posited. If it comes up, Just Like Any Other Question, I try to check in with “what might my perspective as a X yr old be?” and answer accordingly. I never bring up girl / boy either, but also readily answer questions about that if asked.
    To me, race just seems like one of the many strands of trying to be attuned to my child’s perspective and open to his questions. I figure being able to listen and check in with him on “is that what you were asking or was it something else?” at 3 is all part of practicing keeping channels open so he keeps asking all the way into teenage-dom (here’s hoping!)

  61. I’m reading a bit quickly, and arriving far too late, so my apologies, but I wanted to add something — and to add it with a sense of urgency but also a full admission that I’m not speaking from a position of ethical superiority, just one of long and anxious thought. So: I believe that a willingness to acknowledge and examine one’s own racist assumptions is the essential starting (and returning, and returning) point of all efforts to raise an anti-racist child. It seems to me that the reluctance to discuss race and the embarrassment when a child brings it up often have to do with the white parent’s fear that his or her own secret racism is being exposed — this is certainly the case for me. It’s been critical for me to accept that I am the product of a society that is and was and for some time to come still will be racist in profound, structural ways. And it would be folly for me to pretend that my own mind and heart haven’t been shaped by that. So educating my daughter about race is an exercise in humility and penitence, in willingness to search out and work through my own complicity.Defensiveness is a real obstacle here, I think, and it obscures the obvious point of entry for white folks into the conversation about race: that whole history we’re talking about didn’t exactly happen without our participation. One of the greatest lost opportunities for a white parent of a white child, I think, is the chance to admit that the people who owned slaves/imposed Jim Crow/resisted desegregation/assent to damaging racial stereotypes aren’t, in the majority of cases, fashioned of some different moral fiber than the rest of us; resisting our own impulses to take advantage of others or to dehumanize them is the long work of our lives, and the impulse to claim innocence reflexively is among those to be resisted. (My husband is Jewish, and I feel the same way as a Christian [part-German, no less] in terms of talking about anti-Semitism. Nazism was as destructive as it was precisely because so many people didn’t see it for the evil it was — and however comforting it is to imagine that those people were just moral incompetents and that we would have done so much better, it’s not obviously true: doing so much better begins with admitting that one might be tempted to do otherwise.)
    I’m not saying this is what I say to my three year old when we talk about why a little boy at church is brown or why Daddy celebrates different holidays — but it is the conversation I have with myself as I’m talking to her.

  62. Agree with so many things you said — especially the gender thing. My daughter started talking about her “brown baby” (doll) and made me cringe every time and I tried to refocus her on the doll’s name. But then started reading the research (some of which is cited in NS) and realized this exact issue, not talking about race. And how comfortable I am to talk about gender, and even sexual orientation (some kids have 2 mommies…). But race makes white people uncomfortable because we fear doing something racist. But, by NOT talking about it, we teach our kids it’s something we shouldn’t talk about — by refocusing or changing the subject, we teach them there’s something wrong with talking about race. When really they are just curious about different skin colors and hair textures and eye shapes. We’re still working on it at my house, but I’m not letting it be hidden anymore, even if it makes me uncomfortable.

  63. What can I say that some of you haven’t said already. Great conversation, I hope I can keep the momentum going. Ok, well, here goes:The notion that we are all the same and people are people is a sweet one. However, we all know that really this is not how the we operate as human beings. As parents we don’t live by the code of “we are all the same and people are people” and we certainly don’t raise our children this way. For example, my husband and I hope to inspire our boys to not be just men…like any other man. We strive for them to be sensitive, respectful…to shower and eat healthy meals…to maybe go to college, or at least have some focus in life, etc. This applies to race as well. Even if I walked this earth without the notion of my complexion, someone, somewhere, will inevitably remind me that I am, in fact, brown, even in the friendliest, least offense ways. “Wow, you have such great skin tone!” “Wow, is that a tan?” And please, feel free to oooh and ahhhh my brown-ness any time, no offense taken, but the point is that I am different, and people acknowledging the difference in my skin tone, ethnicity, and/or gender isn’t what the problem is. The problem is in thinking that BECAUSE I am different I am less deserving or have less aptitute. Pretending that I am NOT different is also a problem, because it is obviously not true. I have friends with disabilities and one of the things they detest most is when people see them on a wheelchair, for example, and they want to “pretend” the wheelchair isn’t there. There’s a delicate balance for sure, you don’t want to be rude, you don’t want to stare, but you are curious and you do wonder “What happened?” Telling kids to “hush!” when they point at someone missing an arm, or to “shhh” when they see a little person walk by…just not the right way to address it. Same applies to race. Kids notice. My kids know I am “brown” and they are not. So when my son wanted to trade me in for a white mommy today (who was also a pro at video games and didn’t have a big tummy), he searched for the complete opposite of who I am, and more of who he is which, in his 4 year old little mind, was a female mommy version of him.
    Yes, there are kids in the playground who are brown, have different eyes, sound funny, and dress weird. This is the language of a child who is trying to organize it all in his head, and who is trying to make sense of his/her little world. Why oh why wouldn’t we talk about it?
    Wanna know why my black father spoke to me about race ever since I could understand and maybe even way before then? Because he knew I would one day encounter a person whose parents never spoke to them about it, and who would have me organized in some little compartment set up in their mind for what they thought I should be, but in the end is not who I am at all. He wanted me to be ready, but most off to not be hurt…or made to feel like this brown-ness was “invisible” or didn’t matter in the worst way in which someone’s identity doesn’t matter to others who don’t understand it.
    And if you don’t know how to have the conversation, seek out others who do…or ask a friend of color to help you. Better than not doing anything at all.

  64. @Carol@NYCCityMama, Great post eloquently written. I really think that what you said here is at the heart of the matter for any differences (race, gender, sexual orientation, physical ability, etc.):’…the point is that I am different, and people acknowledging the difference in my skin tone, ethnicity, and/or gender isn’t what the problem is. The problem is in thinking that BECAUSE I am different I am less deserving or have less aptitude.’
    I think this is what I really want my son to understand about anyone that is different from him.
    Your wheelchair example is a good one. I also see similar things happen with friends who have cancer and other serious illnesses. I really do believe that often people want to be considerate of another person’s situation, so they do things like pretend they don’t see the wheelchair. BUT, as you pointed out, sometimes it has the exact opposite effect. They are hard waters to navigate as it can be difficult to understand the life of someone who is in a wheelchair, or who has cancer, or who is racially discriminated against. You can have empathy, but unless you live it yourself or are a very close everyday witness to it, sometimes it’s hard to understand the complexities. And even then, different people have different takes on what constitutes discrimination vs. stating the obvious.
    All this to say, I’m not excusing the behaviour or reaction. But, I get what @Cathy is saying about about it being a never ending process. I really think it’s something that we all need to keep asking ourselves about and finding out more about from the people we meet – what their experience is like. The more we know, I think the more we are accustomed to trying to see the other point of view.
    And this is such a great gift from a parent to a child:
    ‘…he knew I would one day encounter a person whose parents never spoke to them about it, and who would have me organized in some little compartment set up in their mind for what they thought I should be, but in the end is not who I am at all. He wanted me to be ready, but most off to not be hurt…or made to feel like this brown-ness was “invisible” or didn’t matter in the worst way in which someone’s identity doesn’t matter to others who don’t understand it.”
    It almost makes me cry. So important for kids to know – to not let others compartmentalize them for any reason – visible phyisical reasons, or for the way they think, or anything that someone could use to pre-determine who they are and what they are capable of.
    @Paola, Thanks for the details of your conversation. The more experiences I’m reading, I’m finding it easier to imagine how we will navigate this as DS grows up.

  65. My family is white and we live in Maine, which is overwhelmingly white – it’s so white that when you come from somewhere else it can feel glaringly white even if you ARE white. I grew up here, moved away for a long time and then came back. For the most part the demographics here are like they were when I was growing up. There are definitely people of color where I live, but the concept of race as a group category doesn’t translate as clearly when you meet just one kid or one family with different skin color at a time.The biggest demographic difference from my childhood is that there are now a number of immigrant families from Somalia who live here. While this was a great development in general, it doesn’t necessarily make the conversations about race with my 3 year old much easier since there are other ways that he might experience some of the immigrant families as being different from us – in particular their very different clothing, with headscarves, and use of a different language.
    I’ve never been sure how to begin talking with him about it because of the lack of contextual opportunities. My son had also made things a little more complicated by using the colors of people’s clothing to describe people – “that black girl” means any girl in sight with a black shirt on, while I once heard him describe a Somali girl on the playground who was wearing a pink dress as “that pink girl”. I mean, it was difficult to imagine CORRECTING him there.
    Luckily, he gave me an opening the other day when we were talking about my sister’s pregnancy. He wondered if the baby would be a boy or a girl, and we pondered that. He wondered what color hair the baby would have. And then he wondered what color skin the baby would have, and what kind of face. We then could talk about how people have lots of different colors of skin, and named a bunch of those different colors. We explained how babies usually have skin that is a combination of their parents’ skin, like how his skin is a shade that lies between mine and his father’s. We talked about how babies have faces that share some things with their parents’ faces too. I was so relieved to have him open the topic, but now that he has I can imagine using the subject of babies as a great way to initiate discussions of race again in the future.

  66. I think it’s important for whites (I’m white) to figure out why we don’t like talking about race, before trying to come up with ways to negotiate race-based conversations with our children. For me, still the best eye-opening piece about whiteness is McIntosh’s “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack”(http://www.case.edu/president/aaction/UnpackingTheKnapsack.pdf). Rather than ignore race by assuming that diverse environments will pick up the slack, it’s important to recognize that race-based stratification is the American Way–and figure out ways to help our children acknowlege the ways in which this stratification helps some and hurts others (and how people who enjoy privilege tend not to want to give it up). The problem is, we rarely see “white” as a race because it is the race of privilege. Talking about whiteness specifically with children, and not just “brownness,” may be an entryway into talking with white kids about race.

  67. Moxie, thank you for discussing this book. Its been interesting reading your post and the comments that followed.I want to share about how a neighbour of mine taught her kids about race. (I am dark skinned of asian-indian origin and the neighbour is white American)
    After meeting us a few times, she told me that her kids were learning about people from different countries and would like to talk to me about it. she also requested me to not be offended if they asked too many personal questions. The kids then asked me lots of questions …about my skin, my country and more. I found it fun having these discussions with a 6 year old. i explained things as scientifically as i could…dark skin bcos of stronger sun etc.
    I wanted to share this only to illustrate that its easy to ask friends if they could share their experiences. I dont think people will take it amiss. The worse case scenario is they will say no. so why not try…
    Also, can race not be explained independently of slavery? I understand that in american history, the two are closely tied, but not so in the rest of the world. Slavery was related to war and economics. In most of the old civilizations, slavery was a way of life. People are constantly figuring out how to better themselves and their lives.
    @akeeyu – Totally love the idea you posted. I will try to do the same with my daughter who is now 9 months 🙂
    I would love feedback about my thoughts

  68. I also want to add that @Cathy (June 29), @Carol@NYCCityMama and @berivan had very nice and thought provoking posts.I have been thinking about this thread for the last couple of days and there is one more point i would like to add…
    Cathy you said – ‘One of the greatest lost opportunities for a white parent of a white child, I think, is the chance to admit that the people who owned slaves/imposed Jim Crow/resisted desegregation/assent to damaging racial stereotypes aren’t, in the majority of cases, fashioned of some different moral fiber than the rest of us’. True…but you/we have one advantage. We have the advantage of knowing history, of knowing events/decisions and implications. When we know we are capable of evil, we can also stop ourselves from going down that path – can we not ?

  69. @Sunitha: yes, absolutely, that should be the follow-up point! Thanks — I definitely wouldn’t want to instill some sense of fatalism. More the idea that the only way that history can help us — and it can — is if we approach it with a full sense of how it might find parallels in our own lives. I.e., how might I find myself in a similar situation today, perhaps a situation that grows in some direct or indirect way out of the history of slavery or Jim Crow or whatever, and how could I choose to act in a way that wouldn’t repeat past injustices. I suppose this is a version of @JCL’s point about not ignoring whiteness — not making it seem like race is something that happens to other people.

  70. I apologize for being so late to this conversation, but I’d like to add a few thoughts. I am white, my husband is black, and our daughter is Chinese. (Lina MGM wrote)” Right now we’re in this stage:”This doll/baby in the picture book has (X color skin) because his/her parents have (X color skin. You have (Y color) skin because Mommy and Daddy have (Y color) skin,” … this doesnt work for us, or many families out there. I bring it up because as an adoptee, and an adoptive parent, I see how much other people rely on having children “look” like their parents. How many times have you said to someone “he has your eyes” This is one of the things that hurt me deeply as a child, I didn’t look like anyone! It’s very important to establish pride in your child based on his/her own individual look. (this includes race/skin)
    In the 50’s Korean babies were “saved/adopted” by Americans. There were so many orphans after the war. Most of these children were brought back to white families, and raised in mostly white communities. The difference of their skin wasn’t discussed. Not negatively, but also not positively. There is a large group of middle aged Korean Americans who are still very lost and/or angry about this. THEY knew that they were different, and when nobody talks about it, it feels shameful and secretive. We have to talk about it. Even if your child doesn’t seem to notice the color of his friends’ skin, or that they are a different race, you should discuss it. At times, I think I have made people (especially family)uncomfortable by bringing up the fact that my child is Chinese, they would rather she just be “Lili”. But LILI is CHINESE. And we talk about it.

  71. Excellent book I think every kid should have: “We Are All Born Free”. The book has pictures from different artists each depicting an article of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Great way to discuss equality with kids, including racial equality, gender equality, etc.

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  87. There’s not a lot to say about this retailer but one particular term…lovely. The moment you enter the shop, you are reminded as to why they have some of the greatest designer bags on the marketplace. I say this due to the fact the store’s interior provides a classic decor [b][url=http://www.expresslouisvuitton.com]louis vuitton speedy 30[/url][/b], similar to no make any difference how a lot of new baggage/organizations hit the fashion scene, the monogram luggage will always possess that traditional flair.I came by this location to see the interior and just get an knowledge of the shop ahead of I manufactured a purchase for my darling girlfriend. She wouldn’t at any time enable me to invest this much on her if I gave her a heads up, but a great woman deserves it all. I will obtain a bag for her from LV as extended as they proceed creating tasty things. What I enjoy most here in comparison to other brand names on 5th voie, etc…the buyer support. I say [b][url=http://www.louisvuittonloveyou.com]lv[/url%5D%5B/b%5D since in comparison to the LV shop situated within Macy’s at Herald Sq., you are not treated like you do not belong simply because of pores and skin shade. Indeed, I went there…I threw the “Race” card and for excellent reason. Regardless how I carry myself or how my company has positioned me to dress, it seems safety even now really feel I don’t belong. This is 1 of the motives I won’t check out the 34th Avenue spot. I enjoy safety guards assuming how significantly I can find the money for by the coloration of my skin, as opposed to what’s inside my lender account.
    Even so, this area welcomed me with open up arms and not like a second fee citizen. Right here, only my bucks make a difference, not the color of my skin. And in the market for designer products, shouldn’t that be the only point of issue anyway? Right after generating my initial go to listed here in 2008, I can see why females adore LV bags and it is undoubtedly why I will keep on acquiring [b][url=http://www.louisvuittonbop.com]lui viton[/url][/b] for my girlfriend.
    Stunning big retailer!! Drool!! As well negative it isn’t really worth it for a Canadian to buy here. We get Louis Vuitton goods for five-ten% more affordable than US retailers. And having to pay duty is not value it possibly. But this flagship keep is extremely great. They have all the great ostrich leather items. It’s similar to the retailers in Hong Kong.
    My sister and I arrived in right here to purchase matching baggage and we felt as if were had been in a Chinese subway battling for an eggroll.
    Helpful salespeople, but its so crowded, that the line to buy was 15 minutes lengthy… we left and will order them from LA.
    Also, there ended up no embossing or engraving solutions provided like the merchants in California… peculiar.
    The services is phenomenal. The salesperson really did the finest he can to try out to accomodate. Despite the fact that the match of my goals ended up currently being a little bit as well big, I walked out content and pleased.
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    Positioned on the very first flooring of Bloomingdales flagship keep on Third Voie (corner of East 57th Street), this Louis Vuitton boutique is one particular of the few consignment boutique spots that the brand name has located inside a section shop in the New York Metropolitan place (the other two locations are Macy’s Herald Sq. flagship keep and Macy’s Yard Metropolis shop). Remarkable variety, the boutique is very well kept and stocked with the brand’s renowned leather-based merchandise such as carry luggage, sneakers, and eye dress in. The ability to use one’s in-residence Bloomingdale’s cost card adds additional points to this location. Excellent to examine out if you’re in the area and want to keep away from the hordes of consumers at Louis Vuitton’s flagship shop at the corner of Fifth Avenue and East 57th Avenue.
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  88. Ultimately…EquipageI visited the Hermes keep in search of a 100ml bottle of Equipage and discovered it. the doorman was gracious to open the door for me and the son and greet us excellent afternoon. Upon moving into and staring about seeking for the fragrances a youthful revenue gal with glasses arrived more than and asked how she could help. I found my ‘[b][url=http://www.hermesfair.com]hermes birkin bags[/url][/b]’ and indicated I would proceed to seem all around. The product sales gal hovered close by and when I looked at the enamel bracelets she arrived in excess of and described the procedure of how they are created.
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    It is Hermes. Of study course the products are gorgeous.
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    You ought to also don’t forget that Hermes has to deal with a significant tourist crowd who-as numerous people are these days, unfortunately-typically lack basic manners. And hordes of females demanding Birkins…who aren’t capable to purchase them anyway but just want to touch 1. Sigh.
    I not too long ago go through a true tale of a girl who brought her Birkin into Hermes and rested it atop a counter to search at some thing nearby. Another customer arrived above and asked her if it was actual. She said sure. And this woman then chosen up the handbag and exclaimed “but it really is so large!”
    The bag’s owner mentioned: “that’s because it has all my issues in it.”
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    “Being within this made-to-order industry needs innovative clients that know very well what they’re referring to as well as own a number of totes, otherwise many luggage,Inch Carcelle stated.
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  90. Great game! I’ve used a similar tqicnheue teaching higher-level math. Using 2 die (dice?) you can make it an adding or multiplying game by coloring in what the two die (dice?) equal. Add another and you can work on order of operations! 🙂 To save you on paper, you could always put the printout in a sheet protector, and he could color with a dry erase marker. Just a thought.

  91. You *never* lost your running mojo; it just ocaicaonslly gets misplaced under stacks of grad school papers and work schedules. You are an amazing spirit and I really enjoyed our time together out there, Crysta! Wonderful post, wonderful memory.

  92. A small vest? I can’t picture that. Post one, if you can get it zieppd. ;-)Sorry, maybe it is just that I ordered XL shorts and I am only 150 lb and 5’9″. I guess we have different fit preferences.Blackdog, that was funny.

  93. Well it sure was a experience, this was my 3rd Calvin’s chlanelge , 2007 I had a heart attack during the first 50 mile loop, I did not know it at that time, just felt bad and quit after the first fifty. I had two stent inserted in the arteries.In 2008 I signed up for the 100 mile time trial,I almost stopped after the first lap, but since it was the 1st year anniversary of my heart attack, I just had to prove it to my self that everything was OK now, so I just pushed on, but it was the worst experience I ever had, except when we escaped from Hungary, while we were under the Russian ruling, and walked all night in the rain and cold (November 1956). I am glad that I did finished the 100 time trial, slow time of 5:57 age 66. This year (2009) I am going for the 6 hour one, and I know the weather will be perfect ..

  94. First you have to be committed to what you are going to do like that chart idea you sugetsegd. Make sure that you read the nutrition label and get proper serving sizes to make graphing easier i.e. a handful, half a bowl, and things like that. Meaning if you eat something eat a full serving size of it to be more precise. To keep away pounds eat only 70 grams of fat and about 3000 calories a day. That will ensure no more weight gain. The carbs provide energy ,but too many carbs can contribute to weight gain. So eat only 3 slices of bread the whole day. As for the rewards it’s good to reward yourself when you accomplish your goal. If you can’t meet your goal and you did your best than just stay home and plan what you will eat for tomorrow. Don’t think about not eating food for any amount of days because we need at least 1000 calories a day to maintain your energy levels. Plus do it too many days and you’ll get malnutrition. So, make a chart of what you eat, get precise portions, don’t go over 70 grams of fat and 3000 calories, and last but not least if you over eat don’t feel bad just plan what you will eat tomorrow, and if you under eat just eat anything that won’t go over the limit too much or not at all preferably. This is what I think u should do for your problem.

  95. Try calorie shiitfng, the idea behind the diet is to instead of avoiding food, embrace it and use it to your benefit to improve your metabolism. This way you’ll actually continue to burn fat even once you stop the diet.The major problem with all diets that limit your calorie intake is that they as a result weaken and lower the effect of your metabolism on the foods you eat and actually make your body much more prone to storing calories as a result. Much like when an animal goes into hibernation, your body will go into scarcity mode and begin holding onto anything it can.That’s the main reason that people experience rebound effects from diets. Calorie shiitfng actually does it right because it changes the way your body utilizes food and as a result you lose weight and keep it off when you stop.I’ll throw in a link to a popular calorie shiitfng diet program in my source box for you to learn more about it.

  96. I agree with exert. I was an Assistant Scoutmaster for a while, and grew up in boy scouts. I found that I laerned best when I had my interest peaked, and then actually had the chance to participate in the activity. Later on I noticed that the boys laerned best when you would explain something to them, show them how to do it, and then let them do it. Works just about everytime, but you’ll almost always have atleast one kid who could care-less.Good luck to you and the program!

  97. I’m trying to eat hheltay. What have you done to eat hheltay? I could make a chart of what I eat. Should I watch Calories, Carbs etc. I am 13. I don’t want to loss weight or anything! I’m not anorexic! But, I would just like to watch what I eat and not over eat. But of course I don’t want to under eat or anything. Should I reward my self if I eat hheltay? Like I could say I can’t go to the mall or movies or whatever until I have ate with out extra food for a week or something? You know? I just don’t know where to begin!! What would you suggest? Thanks, CailinYeah I’ve been doing very little fast food anyways. But could I eat there like once a month? or less acually because we only eat at fast food places on trips

  98. Podaz fabryki pozabankowych istnieje nierzadko zwana jak swietny postepowanie naciagania jednostek, jakie natomiast nie inaczej maja nuze dylematy walutowe.Niezwyczajnie pokazna swiadomoscia istnieje wybor odpowiedniego kredytodawcy, na targu Krajowym matki nadzwyczaj astronomiczny wybor ofercie.
    O jak wiele wiekszymi? Najporzadniej dac do obejrzenia to na ideale.
    Skad to wie? Ze statystki. Na przeslance takich danie, kiedy wiek, edukacja, zajecie badz miejsce zamieszkania, moze ocenic to niebezpieczenstwo.
    Na eudajmonia, poza spolek obrotnych w tryb omowiony powyzej, sa rowniez fabryce solenne.

  99. W fenomenie wysiada na to, ze za sprawa drzewo 14 lat sama maci sie dowiadywac, azali moze nie nadeszla metamorfoza wysokosci stop!Z pozostalej okolica odprezenie franka szwajcarskiego i euro bylo skutkiem nowych przyczynie Komisji Protektoratu Walutowego, ktore dyktowalyby raz po raz surowsze traktowanie nadchodzacych kredytobiorcow.
    Generalnie temat biorac mierna stawka istnieje dla nas niedochodowa zas peta sie z wiekszymi odsetkami, jakiego bedziemy musieli wreczyc.
    Dzialanie fabryki pozabankowych od chwili podszewki
    ZAs pustka wyrafinowanego – o zadluzenie w ubieglych miechach w rzeczy samej jest nadzwyczaj z trudem, natomiast dostac moga go wylacznie niniejsi, jacy zarabiaja w znacznym stopniu wiecej anizeli wynosi sladowa placa.

  100. Byc moze on rownac sie nawet 3 leci.Umowa oraz obrona
    Ale wrecz odkad nas (natomiast od inwestora) zalezy skutkiem tego podczas gdy wysokie bedzie oprocentowanie wierzytelnosci oraz na gdy dlugi trwanie pokutowanie niewiasta uzyczona.
    Nie recytujemy w tym miejscu chociaz o niebezpieczenstwu w celu klienta – gadamy o niebezpieczenstwu sposrod tematu widzenia jednostki, ktora pozycza nam nieosobistego finanse.
    Kiedy pozyczki spolecznosciowe kilka latek niebiezacemu „trafialyby” az do Jezyk polski, czwarta wladza ryczaly od czasu spekulacji.

  101. Pula namietnie mnie pocieszyl, iz gdyby bedzie opoznienie w splacie, owo pozyskam monit, stad “bede zorientowana”.Debet pozabankowa badz kredyt gotowkowy – poprzednio takim szkopulem wszystkiego dnia staje tysiace gosciach, jacy reflektuja dzierzawic kapital oraz zastanawiaja sie w kto sposob to zdzialac. Obie opcje – kiedy suma – maja niewlasne wady zas zalety, obie pytaja sie w kompletnie odrebnych pozycjach.
    Nietrudno sie tedy domyslic, iz jest dama najlepszym wykladnikiem, pokojowkom do zestawienia dwoch przeroznych propozycyj pozyczkowych. ZAs kategorycznie twierdzi, ze pozyczki pozabankowe sa wartosciowe.
    A co nimi jest? Rzeczywiscie dopiero co, tu pojawia sie rafa.
    U dolu zrozumieniem wierzytelnosci przy uzyciu Siec przenikac jest dozwolone takze wierzytelnosci nieosobiste, jakie dostarczane sa glownie przed momentem w sieci.

  102. Wolno go wykopac na stronicy internetowej banku pod opisem wierzytelnosci. Bank mobilizuje az do biezacego, aby orzec wlasna stawke oraz ujrzec, do tego stopnia zaoszczedzimy.Pozyczka za posrednictwem Internet, pozyczce przez Siec nie rowna
    Zobowiazanie bowiem istnieje owo zadluzenie niemonetarnego, jakie takze w sobie istnieje tematem handlu natomiast zwiazuje dochod kredytodawcy.
    Praktycznie dosc nie istnieje.
    W moim zdaniu przed momentem to istnieje najogromniejszym bykiem ukladu pozyczkowego w Polsce i prowadzi w dlugi najogromniejsza czerede Lachow.
    pożyczka bez bik

  103. Na pierwsza zasada zadluzenie gotowkowy, alias towar bankowy dla tych, jacy pieniedzy reflektuja „na fakultatywny meta”. Zadluzenie gotowkowy osiagnac wolno tylko a wylacznie w banku, co proceduje go jednym sposrod bezpieczniejszych rezultatow pozyczkowych.Po kiego chuja w nastepstwie tego nie zastosowac ich w rutynie natomiast bodaj nie posmakowac przeistoczyc swojego zycia?
    NATOMIAST owo raz za razem prosto pod nasze drzwi (gotowizne dostarcza pracobiorca spolki pozyczkowej)!
    Urzeczywistnia to tymczasem jeden tarapaty – jaka sposrod nich przesiac?
    Oto podczas gdy bedzie lansowalaby sie wielkosc, ktora ostatecznie odstapimy bankowi, w zwiazki od periodu splaty:
    kredyty chwilówki

  104. Nie – statystyki wyjawiaja, iz nie zwracajac reprymendy na swoja pozycje, zadluzamy sie nadal.Do szkoly tamtej zaliczyc wolno kazde osoby w pracochlonnej kondycji nieskarbowej, zas przeto bezrobotnych, zadluzonych tudziez figurze starsze.
    O ile Kowalski odbiera rente w wielkosci 700 zlocistych oraz wezmie na se rate, jaka bedzie rownac sie 400 azaliz 500 zlociutkich owo powinien zapewne zastanowic sie tudziez oglosic, ze nie bedzie w stanie splacic kredytu.
    Niestety, ogol ma swoja wyplate, i gdy balakamy o pozyczkach pozabankowych owo jest ona calkiem nie niska.
    Oto kiedy bedzie opisywala sie liczba, ktora calkowicie przetlumaczymy bankowi, w zwiazki od czasu czasu splaty:
    pożyczki bez bik

  105. Nad pozyczaniem pieniedzy nasze spolecznosc przeszlo obecnie do etapu normalnego – jednakowo podczas gdy cala Stary kontynent Nieokcydentalna zas Ameryka Zjednoczone, trwamy na pozyczka natomiast dosc zero nie eksponuje na owo, zeby nagle sie owo przeistoczyloby.Jest dozwolone jej dazyc na ilustracja w bankach.
    ZAs w rzeczy samej – wolno stwierdzic, ze obie odmiany pozyczek maja autorskiego stosowanie zas sa nalezyte na zbytu.
    Na koniec – debet za pomoca Net na bodajze przypuszczalnie egzystowac tansza niz tradycyjna debet.
    Atoli to mania, ze nie ma modusu na to, izby pula posylal przesylke na nalezacy do mnie adres.
    pożyczki pozabankowe

  106. Nie tarasuje to tym ostatnim rok kalendarzowy w rok osiagac co chwila to lepszych uzyskow, gdyz pozyczki pozabankowe, niedaleko, iz formalnie nielubiane, maja co chwila wiecej profanow.U dolu grabula zaciaganiu debetow jakas sposrod najbardziej skrup do tego rozstrzygajacych o priorytecie szafowanego kredytodawcy bytuje oprocentowanie ktore pokutowanie dolozone na zaciagany z wykorzystaniem nas debet.
    Zdolaja odciazyc im ich rodziciele, jacy maja o multum wieksze test witalnego.
    Co w obecnych porach moze istniec nie lada wyzwaniem.
    Jako ze nie ma co ukrywac, iz przecietny gosc, slyszac o niezbednosci uczynienia zastawu, opusci sposrod taniej wierzytelnosci konfidencjonalnej oraz uda sie az do spolki pozyczkowej.

  107. No, prawdopodobnie, ze komus nadzwyczaj zalezy izby wszystko zostalo „po niesedziwemu”…Nazwa “fajna kredyt” nawiazuje az do chmur, jakiego rozparcelowuja sie w postac trzech siodemek, alias oprocentowania niniejszego debetu – 7,77.
    Pozyczka bez BIK – alternatywy
    Owo caloksztalt wykonywa, iz – w porownaniu z spolkami pozyczkowymi, jakiego udostepniaja pozyczek wszelkiemu i bez miernych formalnosci – pozyczki spolecznosciowe przy uzyciu Siec wyrywaja w slepiow interesantow calkiem chwiejnie.
    Ciekawe byloby jest sie dokladnie zwrocic uwage nieniniejsza sprawa, w macie zwyczajowo splacanie pozyczce scierpi do licha i troche periodu tudziez ponizej niebiezacego odpowiednio zyje wylowic pozyczkodawce wzorowo.

  108. Mimo to… badz w ogole mozna tutaj powiadac o niejakim trybie?Niestety, nie sa owo jeszcze niecalkowitego pogrzebacze, ktorego mozemy natknac sie w parabankach. Istnieje ich wielce, znacznie wiecej, natomiast pierwotnego klopoty pojawiaja sie cyklicznie dopiero wowczas, gdy rozpoczynamy byc wyposazonym klopoty z obsluga swego odpowiedzialnosc.
    Tworzy owo natomiast jakis tarapaty – jaka sposrod nich wybrac?
    Dopoki co ostaja zatem w sladzie niecieplych wydolnosci wierzytelnosci, wprawdzie – odgrywajmy otuche – istnieje to tylko temat frazeologizmu.
    Jako ze na to, iz zasoby ludzkie w koncu pojda po pomyslunek do glowy tudziez zalicza se kwestie z niebezpieczenstwa zlaczonego sposrod nadmiernym pozyczaniem pieniedzy, pewnie nie ma nuze co obliczac.
    pożyczki chwilówki

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