Learning About Race From My Son

Those who have read Eduflack over the years know that my kiddos are an essential part of my life. And they know that my children are adopted from Guatemala, and that the edu-family is quite proud of that.

Over the weekend, as we celebrated my son’s ninth birthday, the unrest in Baltimore over #FreddieGrey was just starting to build. At my son’s party, though, I saw a group of kids undefined and unconcerned by race. Instead, it was just 20 kids having fun and enjoying their collective friendship.

At Education World, I opine on what I learned, wondering at what point we teach the sort of hate and racism we see too often in our society. I write:

On Sunday afternoon, I watched my son and his friends just have a grand time. Nearly two dozen kids–boys and girls–enjoying themselves and enjoying each other. Huge smiles, lots of physical contact (in a good way), and pure, childhood glee.

Of course, we expect to see that sort of fun at a party. If not, then why bother to come. But what struck me was the collection of kids. My two children were the Latino contingent. We had Black kids. We had Indian kids. We had Asian kids. And we even had a few white kids. While some of the adults may have noted race, none of the kids did.

So it begs the question for me–at what point do we teach racism? When do these kids become the ones singing racist songs at a frat party? When do they become the ones using the n-word? When do they become the ones who can’t grab a slice of pizza or shoot hoops with a friend because the skin pigment is different?

I conclude:

As we watch scenes like those playing out in Baltimore happen again and again, perhaps we as parents need to ask what we are doing. Maybe we need to ask what we are teaching our kids and why. And maybe, just maybe, we need to stop.

There is a great deal I still need to teach my son. But I can learn a great deal from this great little nine-year old’s view on race. He honestly couldn’t tell you a person’s race. He doesn’t see the difference between black or brown or white. He just sees friends.

I hope you will give the full piece a read.

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