In Glenn’s reading of the letter, the statement that reverberates loudest, as a father to a three year old, is that the child didn’t want to talk about it. My daughter, and most young children in my experience, is/are incredibly adept to moral judgement from others, be it in tone of voice, volume, gesture, facial expression, whatever. She will self-censor instinctively to avoid feeling shame. For me, in these situations, any hammer to nail approach not only goes unheard, but gives my daughter pause in sharing anything she anticipates causing tension. We have our most open and interesting, trusting and free thinking, conversations when I mostly shut up, ask questions without showing my moral hand, and let the conversation die if she so chooses. It inevitably comes back up later on.

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We could just not say anything and let them catch a couple of beatings and make up their own minds.

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Amen! And don’t force Ibram X. Kendi on anyone for that matter!

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This is how society devolves and civilization collapses. I started school in the late 1960s in Alabama. Black kids, white kids, and me, looking not exactly like either of the other two. That was unusual back then. No one was talking about multiculturalism or appropriation or diversity or any of the other nonsense that infects society today. And keep in mind the time frame - my black classmates' parents have lived through the "colored only" era. So what happened? Nothing.

We were kids. We made it work, many of us going from first grade to high school graduation together. Along the way, we played ball together, socialized together, had lunch together, and so forth. About all that did not happen was interracial dating, as it was not as socially acceptable anywhere back then, not just the South. No one claimed victimhood or oppression or whatever else is in fashion today, and these kids were far closer to unpleasant parts of our history than anyone who's making noise today.

The one thing you will get from kids is honesty and often, honesty without a filter. They see what's going on around them. They notice who is doing what. Mostly, theirs is a self-centered world. If they have a couple of friends of the opposite race, then race is not an issue. But when they see kids who look alike acting in similar fashion, they will start to form associations. It doesn't have to be black kids doing bad things; it can be any group. That doesn't make one racist.

We have slid backward in this regard since the 60s, hard as that may be to believe for anyone who was not alive then. Race has turned into a cudgel today. Look at how the hapless Lori Lightfoot tried blaming her election loss as evidence of not just racism, but also sexism. Never mind that spike in violent under her watch that mostly impacted black people. Oh, no; the issue was not her, it's others. Her type of thinking has gained currency and spread to other minority groups. If a member has a negative outcome, it's never the person's fault, it's the result of some ism or phobia. No wonder kids today are depressed in unprecedented numbers. No wonder so many are suicidal. No wonder so many seek attention by claiming to have been born in the wrong body.

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I'm going to give an anecdotal story here, only because I believe it sheds some light on what kids may be experiencing. My family is white, and my oldest daughter attended a public elementary school that was 98% black until 3rd grade. In 3rd grade, she was berated and bullied almost nonstop for being white, the school refused to address it other than to suggest my daughter move to another class, so we transferred her to another school. She attended public school through high school and frequently experienced discrimination based on the color of her skin and witnessed a black boy in 5th grade throw a chair at a teacher, breaking her nose. My middle daughter, who is six years younger than my oldest, started in public elementary school, and she would come home and say things that might be considered racist, like, "The brown boys in my class are bad," and, "The brown boys are always being mean." She wasn't being racist, this was just her personal experience, what she was witnessing in her classroom with her own eyes, her truth. We talked about what was happening in the classroom, and what made her most upset was the behavior of a few boys who refused to listen to the teacher and would sometimes throw things in class. On top of this, when the nightly news was on, she would say things like, "Brown people are being bad," because she saw the photos of people charged with crimes or wanted for a crime, and they were most often people with brown skin. What my daughters saw and experienced doesn't make them racist, it makes them prejudiced - they formed an opinion based on their experiences. I never felt the need to convince my daughters that what they were seeing and experiencing wasn't genuine. What they experienced was what their environment was showing them; their perception was based on what they saw and experienced. About 5 years ago, I moved my two younger children, my middle daughter and my youngest child, a boy, out of public school and into private school and homeschool co-op, respectively. Both the private school and the homeschool are Christian-based and have diverse populations. My son's and daughter's experiences since leaving public school are a complete 180 degrees, and it has changed their perception of people. My kids are now in an environment where Christ is the center of all we do and all we learn, and how we treat on another is based on His life and His actions. When you put a group of people together who all believe in the common goal of treating each other with respect, love, decency, and kindness, you create an environment where that is demonstrated daily, and skin color is obsolete. How will the public school system accomplish the same? Does it even strive to do so?

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It’s quite possible that this child’s comment is based on absolutely nothing other than a idiosyncratic aberration based on a negative association. On the other hand, the current pervasive woke zeitgeist of anti racism may have seeped down into something he heard.

It’s natural for children to be curious about the unusual without any intent at cruelty, though the child singled out may be negatively effected. That’s part of growing up and usually will resolve itself. I grew up in a third mixed population of black, white and Purto Rican and race meant nothing till adolescence and later when the societal poison worked its way into our consciousness. Even so, most of us remained friends though there was some separating into ethnic cliques.

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I was raised in post WW2 in a mixed community with the apparent level of poverty was not so easy to tell. Very young, I had several black friends among a small group of friends.

I don't quite recall how old I was (perhaps 5 or 6?) when I asked my mother why MacArthur P was a different color. I recall well, my mother's rather casual response. It means his ancestors came from a different place than ours - came her response.

That answer satisfied my question.

That wise comment was not all that was necessary, I suppose, but Neve in my house do I recall race needing to be discussed - save some supportive comments regarding civil rights issues and action in the news.

I suppose I morphed in and out of different views of it all as social pressures (white group pressures) play those tunes. But, as I matured, I was able to be quite comfortable on the supportive side of equality under the law - and all that meant - for all.

From my own experiences, I can't think of a better way for parents to approach the "race" issue than as my parents did. But I'd add, today, that there are people who are making too much our of too little for political power issues.

I'd tell my child today, that all that matters among people who have different ancestry is to trust our constitutions essence of judging each individual by what he/she does and not by groups.

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The child is simply making a Friend-Enemy Distinction that will serve him throughout his life. This isn't good or bad. It just is.

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Leave it to you brilliant scholars to bring to the table the unmitigated truth about where black people who care to be relevant should be. Beyond this there’s a long a go dance called the hustle that I am pretty good at but I find black scholastic meritocracy to be more important. Why because as the saying goes the British are coming. Meaning the competition for higher end employment is simultaneously already here and coming.

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Mar 2Liked by Nikita Petrov

Oh wow I can’t believe my Q is featured! Here’s an update that I posted on the other thread:

I must admit that after posting, I bought a picture book about racism for my son (not by Kendi). However, I don’t think it helped, so John was correct that I should have kept it simple.

I interrogated my son about the “why” without getting a solid answer. Then I asked him to think of the people knows with brown skin, and he listed his Asian friends (who are the exact same shade as my son). I said “Wait, what do you think you are?” and he said he’s white. (He’s half white, half Asian).

Ever since the incident last year, he has been insecure about not having light eyes and skin like me (his white mom) so I wonder if he has some internal prejudice. But I know it’s more than that, because last week, a group of Black kids came to the playground, and he complained to me that kids with “brown skin” were there. (I shushed him and he ended up playing with one of them.)

ANYWAY, I think I’m overanalyzing his comments which are not coherent or consistent. I’m going to try to chill.

But Glenn is absolutely right that as a parent, it’s scary to imagine anyone hearing my child say something “racist.” Honestly, I thought poorly of the white child who made fun of him last year. It’s good to remember that little kids say all sorts of things without understanding the context.

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