White Privilege: Why It’s Important For Me To Teach My Kids It’s Real.
Being a parent means that you have to explain a plethora of topics to your kid(s) to help direct them to be better humans. Topics range from anatomy, love, friendships, family dynamic, budgeting, responsible internet usage, hygiene, self-love and many other topics that have a tendency to go rogue at any time due to the fleeting thoughts of parents and kids. One day you focus more on brushing teeth and miss the deodorant. Maybe you argue with your spouse and have to explain right and wrong, or you give your kid $5 and they immediately want to spend it for instant gratification. The conversation is all over the place all the time. Parents want their kids to be better than them, so we try to dump all the life lessons we’ve learned into their brains. It can be a daunting task that could easily backfire at any moment.
We parents persist.
In all of the streams of thought flying around, there is one topic that is so important to teach and to teach correctly that it could be the difference between a humble person or a person that emulates the negative traits of Donald Trump. That topic is White Privilege. This is an everyone issue, yet, most consider it a myth or just a “black” person problem. If you think either of these, then you are exercising your white privilege and you should listen up.
Here are a few things I am doing to introduce white privilege to my kids:
- Be proud of who you are. I never want my kids to be ashamed of being white because there are crappy white folks out there.
- Mahatma Ghandi said, “Be the change that you want to see in the world.” This concept is wonderful. They don’t have to follow in other’s footsteps. They can be individual and they can make changes that will make the world a better place.
- Embrace differences. I used to say things like, “I don’t see color.” Until one day I realized that isn’t what I meant at all. What I meant was, the people I knew were and are amazing regardless of race, background, sexual identity, etc. I will not teach my kids to be “colorblind” instead I will teach them to embrace individuality and uniqueness.
- “If you see something, say something.” Instead of the action being for terrorism on a larger scale, I feel too often people see injustices and they don’t step up to help. For example, if someone is telling a joke that’s at the expense of someone else, you don’t have to indulge. Tell them that’s not funny.
- Educate yourself. Be educated, know our past and present, so you can change the future.
- Ask questions, but be mindful. Too often white folks ask questions that show their white privilege and are just blatantly disrespectful.
- White privilege. I will share the many examples of white privilege that I’ve learned in my life. I’ll let my children know that just because they are white doesn’t mean they are the superior race.
- Have an open mind. Never shut down an idea because it seems unreal. There are some shitty people who do shitty things, but there are good people who do good things. Know the difference and be the difference.
- Listen. Listen to people when they speak. Don’t be quick to jump to conclusions or quick to insert yourself into someone else’s story. Have your story and listen and learn from other’s stories.
What I have learned through this process is that I am still learning. I need to myself out of any equation that might be someone else’s story. It’s not all about me, but it is about how I parent. I can instill values within my children that will make them better people. It’s a long road, but a road that must be traveled in order to make the ending desirable for all people.
Disclaimer: Quotes, screenshots, and responses were pulled from a Facebook post asking my friends, ” How do you teach your kids about white privilege? I don’t want to get it wrong (and I’m writing an article about it).”