Racism: Parents are the Change the World Needs!

I’m as white or Caucasian (if you’re taking some sort of official survey) as you can get. My background is French on my mother’s side and possibly Irish or Scottish or English or Quaker (is that where the slang “cracker” comes from?), who knows… and WHO CARES! Seriously, why does the color of our skin matter? How does your skin color affect your abilities? I’d certainly like to get a nice tan without getting cancer… but I’m not going to Dolezal it.

I’m a white girl, born in the Midwest, raised in 2 foreign countries and was bullied by a 6'2" black girl in middle school and a 5'5" white girl in high school. I was bullied in the Air Force by a Navy co-worker about a freakin’ trash can that he preferred at his desk, which somehow the cleaning lady ended up putting at my desk. I was bullied by my bosses because I naively put down that I wanted their jobs, without meaning “I‘m going to get your job’” just saying that I want to be where YOU are right now and I’m willing to work for that position, please help me and I’ll help you move up the chain.

So why is it that we generalize so much and say “you people” or “all y’all” when we want to say something we feel strongly about? Recently, my middle school bully put up a status on her Facebook profile saying 99.999% of white people don’t care about other people’s kids. I didn’t even know what to say to that status. We went to the same middle school in England. We went to the same High School in Georgia. We lived in the same upper middle class neighborhood, in fact, she was two doors down from me; imagine my terror when I first found out she moved in! But not all of my Black friends from middle and high school feel the same. So how is it that we believe such deep seeded and different philosophies? It’s not because of a state flag, it’s not because of the name of a high school… it’s because of our early upbringing.

Be a positive influence in your child’s life. What you say matters. They are sponges, they listen to everything and take it all in and form opinions based on what you say and do. My family never talked about race… I didn’t even know what it was until I moved to England and the British talked about how bad the Pakistanis smelled that went to school with us. Parents, YOU are the change that the world needs. Teach your child that everyone is equal and that you can find something in common with everyone. I’m not saying you have to like or get along with everyone but were not so different… after all, scientists say we all came from the Nile Valley, right?

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