Monday, January 28, 2008

How to raise a racist

Do nothing.

That's right, its that simple.

If you have the admirable goal of teaching your white wealthy children that they are superior to all other races and socioeconomic classes - you are probably in a situation where you can just sit back,
and let it happen.

While driving through Tulsa's poorest neighborhood on Sunday my five year old son, Addison, remarked "Look dad, that person is brown."

"That's true", I casually agreed.

"Dad...I don't see many brown people"

"Hmm, how many different races (you know son, like kinds and colors) of people do think there are on the earth?" I was on a mission now to find out some key things about my son's heart.

"Uhhhh, I'd say white and brown...and thats about it." Addison replied confidently.

"Hmm, let me ask you another question. Which color do you think is the best color to be?"

"White, we're white." he replied quickly like he was answering "A" to a question of which letter started the alphabet, or his name.


"Dad, Brown people are better?" he asked skeptically. (I'm serious. His tone was skeptical, as If Id just declared "Addison, the sky is never blue." and he replied "What?")

"Nope", I replied again.

"It's a trick question, Addison", Stephanie interjected as a loving mother trying to rescue her son from too difficult an intellectual exercise.

"Dad, are we normal?" Addison's 5 year old intellect was at work.

"That depends on what you mean by normal.... What if I said 'yes we are normal'?" I replied

"Well...if we are normal, then white people are normal and brown people aren't."

The conversation went on and I was amazed at every turn. I took pains to explain how Jesus loves his creation and all the variations of it - which is what makes it beautiful - and how that reflects the marvelous complexity of our Creator, etc.

But you know what? I am convinced that the real teaching, the stuff that is going to keep my son from being a supremacist at heart is only going to happen by attacking the root of Addison's initial observation; "I don't see many brown people"

If I convince my son by the way we live, and where we live, and where we go to school that the entitled superior separate themselves from the non-white poor, then I should expect to raise a racist. period.

1 comment:

rissaroe said...

Always love to hear about these conversations with Addison. The lack of conversational filters in children give us so much insight into what is often going on in even our adult minds and hearts. Thanks for the insight, brother.