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Raising White Kids In a Multicultural World

iStock_000023051238XSmallMy friend Leann, who blogs over at All Done Monkey, shared a thought provoking article a few months ago. What I found interesting was her perspective as a mom wanting her kids to feel proud of being white, but also helping them navigate the multicultural world around them.

She starts off by asking this question, “Where do white children fit into a colorful world?”

Then she goes on to share her perspective on white kids who live in the U.S. in a multicultural community:

“The old order was oppressive and cancerous, but people knew what was expected of them.  The move towards diversity is a cause for celebration, but after the party’s over, where do we all fit in?

White reactions to multiculturalism tend to come in two extremes: 1) anger/defensiveness and 2) shame/embarrassment.  Some are angry because they feel as though they are being made to pay for the sins of other whites past or present while other have become hyper-sensitive to offending others and so feel awkward and unsure of themselves in diverse circles.

Though very different, I see these are two sides to the same coin.  When it comes down to it, many whites aren’t sure if they are welcome in a brave new multicultural world.

So how do we raise white children who are self-confident, contributing members in a multicultural society?  There are two important lessons I want to pass on to my sons…”

The two lessons she goes on to elaborate on are:

White is just another ethnicity. What I found interesting in her explanation is this statement: “If white people don’t see ourselves as ethnic, that means we are just normal, which makes everyone else…not normal.  So claiming our ethnicity isn’t just a way to ride the multicultural wave, it is a social statement about the importance and normalcy of all cultures.”

Being white is nothing to be ashamed of. “This seems like common sense when said out loud, but in certain circles there is always a bit of shame or at least mild embarrassment about being white.  Sometimes this is because of our history and sometimes just because it seems so uninteresting.”

You can find the full post here.

What are your thoughts on this great topic Leann touched on?

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