I was a bit too young to really grasp racism, but I understood that I look different than everybody and some people didn’t like that. It was hard for my mom as well because she is white, so she had no personal experience with racism other than television, writings, and first hand observations. She also was afraid of me resenting her and my white side.
She said people that think like that boy are wrong and there are more people who will like you than hate you just the way you are, so don’t think they are all bad people. I told her don’t be silly, half of me isn’t bad! That was the gist of our convo. and the school made a big deal about having the boy’s parents come in for a sit down meeting.
I don’t know what happened or what was said in the meaning, but the next day the boy apologized to me with all of our parents there and the principal, so it was pretty awkward.
My mom was pretty open about stuff and she did everything she could to make sure I wasn’t watching television programming that was saturated in lust and vulgarity, but she also knew that she couldn’t shelter me completely. I was pretty mature about television and had a good grasp on the fact that it was made up (most of it) and whatever I saw adults doing was only for adults to say or do.
I never saw much of anything wildly inappropriate, but I heard a couple of cuss words here and there. I never repeated what I heard or tried to do adult things like smoke cigarettes. I guess it depends on the child and how the parents approach television.
Parents know their child best and if they feel their child is not mature enough nor can separate real and fake or right from wrong then it would probably be best not to handle their child with television in the same way my mom did. It really is an issue with a lot of kids who will take television very literal or misconceive what they see causing racist sentiment to build.
I am engaged and fairly young, but not sure if we want kids. Definitely not until we are far more settled in financially. My fiancee is Spanish/Mayan, but considers herself just Mexican. So, our child would be very mixed and probably fair skinned since my fiancee has a very white complexion (the Spanish side of her family is strong in her DNA).
If so, then our child might not have too many issues depending on where we settle down. Of course my fiancee was picked on for being much lighter than her peers while growing up in a very predominantly Mexican U.S. border town, so you never really know where it will come up at.
I grew up basically figuring out racism all on my own, so I may have some unique or perhaps unpopular perspectives or methods for coping with it. I am still learning and realizing more about the issue each day. I will definitely be open about and make sure my kid/s will always be comfortable coming to me about situations with no judgement or anger to be had.
I don’t want to just throw it at them because I think they need to go through their own personal experiences to actually understand what I would be explaining. There will definitely be a day when they are mature enough and going to be on their own soon where I will have a long discussion about tolerance and indifferences and not just racism, but all of it. Hopefully guide them to have an open mind and to listen more than they speak.