I Want to Talk About Race

1 Jan

Where to begin? I’ve been thinking about this project for some time now. I’m hoping White Mom Blog can be a place for questioning, honest reflection, growth, or even just a place to build community.

I want to talk about race.

I want to really talk about race.

I want to talk about race in regards to white privilege.

I want to talk to white women about race.

I want us (white women/white moms) to think about how we contribute to and perpetuate white privilege in our families, communities, schools, work places and beyond. I want to know how we will talk about race with our white children.

I want to hear from Women of Color about their experiences. I want to really listen. I don’t want to shut down when I hear something that makes me feel bad or guilty.

I want my white daughter to grow up thinking about race.

I guess that’s my starting point. Thank you for joining me.

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24 Responses to “I Want to Talk About Race”

  1. evolwenek January 7, 2013 at 7:37 am #

    I am proud of you for conquering this topic. It’s not going to be easy but if anyone can get a message across to people its you. I have thought about this topic recently because my daughter wanted the “brown˝ Doctor Mommy doll for Christmas. It didn’t matter to me that she chose that baby but I wanted to understand why so I asked why. Her response was because I like her. My response to myself was why not. I want her to accept everyone but it goes further than that. I can’t figure out how to explain further than that but there is so much more. I look forward to seeing and hearing what you have to say!

    • White Mom January 7, 2013 at 11:46 am #

      Thank you for the comment! It’s a challenge. My Mom bought me the Addy American Girl doll for Christmas one year. I was really excited because she was the newest one and I thought everyone would be jealous because she had just come out. I took the doll over to play with a friend of mine who had the Molly doll. She was like, “I liked Addy but my Mom wanted me to have one that looked like me”. I remember thinking, “Oh crap- is that what I was supposed to do?”. I hear what you’re saying- it does go further and how do we talk to our kids about it? I’m looking forward to seeing where this goes.

  2. Rachel January 25, 2013 at 12:39 pm #

    Hi There, I’m really looking forward to reading more on your blog about this topic. I am bi-racial and in an interracial relationship. I do plan to write about what it is like to be in an interracial relationship and what that means for our daughter whose appearance does not quite reflect her actual race. Glad I bumped into you!

  3. RightFromYaad January 25, 2013 at 12:54 pm #

    I am sorry, I am neither white, nor female, but found this article interesting and wanted to add my two cents.

    Does privilege have a skin colour? I think that anyone’s progress in life depends on culture and values passed on to them from parent and grandparents and has very little to do with the colour of your skin. Can we to say that if you are poor and white then you deserve less aid or assistance than a poor person of colour?

    Can we say that because of race, you will excel? I don’t buy into this argument that your colour benefits you in anyway. White Mom, you should feel no guilt about your skin colour (or lack), a biological quirk that produces no skin pigmentation.

    Blacks are denied equal opportunities to make a life for themselves and to get ahead, primarily for two reasons….1) the govt provides poor schools for Blacks, who dominate the usage of govt schools (there are poor whites in those schools as well)….2) the minimum wage law discriminates against low, unskilled, illiterate individuals, of which poor schooling for Blacks creates a disproportionate amount from Black communities.

    Blacks with equal qualifications, have on average an equal if not higher salary than their white counterparts. So what we should be doing is looking to the govt to correct their failures in education to the poor black communities in America and then we can forget ‘white guilt’ and ‘white privilege’.

    KF

    • shunpwrites January 26, 2013 at 9:51 pm #

      I am curious as to how you speak from a vantage point that you cannot possibly have. Sadly, the tapestry of our country is colored by race, whether you choose to acknowledge or not. Choosing to not to be a student to the history behind it will not change the fact, that this a conversation that needs to be held. I applaud her for putting this out here.

    • ohiasia January 27, 2013 at 12:53 am #

      My jaw dropped a bit when I read that you don’t believe “that your colour benefits you in any way.” Anyone who lives in America and believes this has to be willfully oblivious. It seems you’re looking at race relations in the US as a simple present-day snapshot and drawing conclusions with no regard to the past. As shunpwrites says, your observations would benefit from historical context.

      Your writing hints that you’re not American, so I can’t speak to your experience. As for me, I’m white and try my best to acknowledge my unearned benefits due to my circumstances, skin color, etc. and hope things become more equal in the future.

  4. millefleur504 January 25, 2013 at 1:54 pm #

    I applaud your bravery for taking on this subject. My experience growing up in rural south Georgia was very different than you would expect. I had African-American friends at school and in my “neighborhood” (I grew up in the country). No one ever accused me of being racist. We were all country children, with the accents to match.
    When I became an adult, I saw racism, and it shocked me. I travel for work, and I go to places that have no people of color working there – whole towns with no people of color. It is strange after coming from a community that was 50% white and 50% African-American. It is assumed that I am racist because I live in south Georgia.
    An example: I went out with three different men (all northerners) who used racial slurs and complained about African-Americans in some way. For the record, I only went out once with each one. They were blind dates (ok, they were internet dating), but these men had no idea if my children were mixed-race, or even if I was. It was so uncomfortable, that on two of the dates, I got up and left.
    The conversation needs to continue. In adulthood, I’ve been able to talk frankly with friends of color, and learn what their experience has been. It is eye-opening.
    Thank you for this post. I hope there is more to come.

  5. blackgirlsurvival January 25, 2013 at 2:34 pm #

    I’m curious. Are you only interested in talking about race with white moms? What’s your goal?

    • White Mom January 25, 2013 at 3:10 pm #

      No, not just white moms. I would love moms of color and really anyone who is interested to chime in. I just feel like the conversation about race between white women is lacking and I want to address that. Thank you for reading!

    • blackgirlsurvival January 29, 2013 at 4:34 pm #

      I spent one year blogging with a white woman using fortunes from fortune cookies as conversation starters. It was called “Conversations in Black and White.” If you’re interested it is at kwmk1.wordpress.com. Very revealing. Very honest.

      • White Mom January 30, 2013 at 9:38 pm #

        I will definitely check this out.

  6. Necessity is the Mother of Invention January 25, 2013 at 5:32 pm #

    As a white mom with two adopted kids of color, I am looking forward to joining your conversation. Thanks

    • White Mom January 26, 2013 at 12:28 am #

      Awesome! Thanks for reading and commenting!

  7. thuriayaa January 27, 2013 at 6:31 am #

    honestly, appreciate your work. keep it up and going….

  8. annabanana210 January 27, 2013 at 10:12 am #

    I’m just curious why this topic speaks to you. I love reading blogs of all sorts. What makes me interested in reading a blog is how passionate a person is about a topic, be it makeup, education, relationships or even just complaining. All blogs document a journey, so I’m interested to see where this journey will take you. Stay inspired and stick with it (I say as I post so infrequently). The most powerful thing you can do is post your thoughts out here for everyone to see. You’ll be surprised how many people feel the same way that you do.

  9. Hannah January 28, 2013 at 3:50 pm #

    As another white Seattle mom, I like this new focus for a parenting discussion. And I feel like it could also include economic privilege, class, and how they intersect with parenthood. Why does parenthood often seem to divide people rather than connect them? Why do modern parents’ concerns often seem so myopic? Why are people so anxious about doing the right things for their kids that they become self-centered and paranoid, rather than teaching their kids hope, compassion and other really important values? And what’s the next step? I look forward to seeing the responses.

    You should also check out the Bus Chick blog, which is not so active lately but in addition to bus-riding it touches on issues of motherhood, race and community: http://www.buschick.com/

    • White Mom January 28, 2013 at 4:23 pm #

      Yay! Another Mom from the 206! I have an article I’m going to post in the next couple days that talks about the dividing us as parents. I totally see this happening (breastfed, not breastfed, cosleepers, crib babies, home, hospital birth). For me personally, having a baby has made me feel for grounded and connected with the world around me. Totally worth talking about. Thanks for the comment.

  10. anbrooks2013 January 28, 2013 at 4:48 pm #

    Your probably the only white woman in my life that has ever wanted to talk about it. Without being condescending,

  11. N. January 30, 2013 at 5:14 pm #

    Kudos for starting this conversation. The truth is that we need to be made aware of the social injustices that are still rampant in our society. It is not about teaching certain “races” of children to feel apologetic for their “priviledges” – it is about opening up their eyes to the realty out there and making a difference. You can’t fix what you don’t know is broken.

    • White Mom January 30, 2013 at 9:38 pm #

      Yes- it’s about teaching kids to recognize what’s happening around them and encouraging them to change what they don’t like. Thanks for the comment.

  12. hillarycartigan February 16, 2013 at 8:47 am #

    Dear White Mom,

    I just read your post about teaching white privilege to children and I want to thank you. Despite my desire for my children to learn and value diversity through modeling alone, rather than through overt discussion, I’ve learned that dialogue about race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, etc, is crucial to helping my children develop a worldview that embraces differences and also works to adjust existing inequalities.

    I am grateful for your desire to initiate and host this discussion and I am looking forward to being a part of it.

    Thank you!!!

  13. Anonymous December 4, 2013 at 12:23 am #

    I am not a mom, I’m mixed race – mostly white and Hispanic but significantly Native American and even a little black and Asian. I come from a culturally diverse city – one of the most diverse in America.

    I don’t believe in white privilege. I feel like I am discriminated against for looking white when I don’t identify as white. I’ve been called racist over small disagreements, or have been assumed to be well off because of my light skin.

    I dated “ivory” white girls growing up – but they weren’t rich or racist or any more privileged than I was. in fact they both came from far worse economic backgrounds and seemed to be infatuated with my mexicaness.

    Racism is a double edged sword – often what’s overlooked is “reverse-racism” which I’ve personally been a victim of many times. I’ve never been Mexican enough to fit in with the Mexican kids but have always been accepted by white kids – even though I’m often confused with people of middle eastern or southern Italian descent.

    I know racism exists but I think often the bigger problem is the false perception of racism.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. I Want to Talk About Race « judybatson - January 27, 2013

    […] I Want to Talk About Race. […]

  2. I’m Rinso White/I’m In-vis-i-ble | Humble Pie... Mmm Pie! - February 27, 2013

    […] I want us (white women/white moms) to think about how we contribute to and perpetuate white privilege in our families, communities, schools, work places and beyond. I want to know how we will talk about race with our white children.  I want to hear from Women of Color about their experiences. I want to really listen. I don’t want to shut down when I hear something that makes me feel bad or guilty.     I Want to Talk About Race | White Mom Blog. […]

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Bicultural Familia

Celebrating familia & culture in South Texas.

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