Are today's white kids less racist than their grandparents?
But when we make it us versus them, is the system the adversary anymore? Have we lost sight of the fight? Or at least it is for me. Because the interesting and damnable thing about racism is that it goes on and on and on. We somehow keep making the same old mistake of making each other the enemy, not racism itself— which, of course, is exactly what racism wants.
How do we keep on doing that? Are we any freer now? Or are we becoming something like oppressors ourselves? Can I fight my oppression with your oppression? Does your oppression somehow liberate me? Or have I just created more oppression, even though I myself am still oppressed?
But what does that make us? Why are we imitating, copying, and aping our oppressors, anyways? Where can that lead us?
Why do we feel so oppressed by little slights? So oppression is felt most intensely, often, in small ways because it is a signal of bigger ways. But that principle applies to us, too. But we have spent our whole lives being just just as nasty and cruel in little ways to some, many, most white men as white men have been to us. What are we likely to do? We are going to be just as genuinely power-hungry, divisive, cruel, greedy, and hateful.
Because that is not really liberation. That is in fact even more oppression in society, not less. Why else would we be so nasty, spiteful, and mean? What other goal could there be than the power to oppress? Who are we then? What purpose do we serve?
Why the Way Americans Think About Oppression Isn’t Working
We are only people who have failed at the task of liberation. We are fighting oppression with oppression, which creates only more oppression. We breed mistrust, fear, envy, rage, and hate. We have forgotten that the true adversary is racism, and the real challenge is liberating people from it. To defeat the system. And the bad news is that so far, in history, the system has won.
Can You Be Racist to White People, Too?
And yet if we did, we might see that racism is everywhere. In India, racism is alive and well. In Africa and Latin and South America, much the same is true. So the American idea that racism can only be about whites versus everyone else is flat out wrong.
But even within race, that process goes on and on and on. The taller white person, the more muscular one, the one with blue eyes, gets more jobs, raises, than the short, brown-haired one.
What the kids are saying
Although some of the kids had much greater understandings of the history of racism in America, others flattened time and lumped all of African-American history together, while also mixing up names and dates. I mean, everything was crazy back in the olden days. And she was African-American and sat on the white part. Everyone gets what they deserve in life, if they work for it. So, yeah, I do think they have the upside. I also found that many of the children expressed forms of racial apathy. There is actually a problem and a system that allowed this to happen.
I found that their perspectives were shaped less by what their parents explicitly said about race and more by the social environments these kids grew up in — and how their parents constructed these environments. Within this racial context, kids developed ideas about race by observing and interpreting what was going on around them. And because of important variations in these social environments, the children made sense of race in different ways. In this sense, my work builds on existing scholarship on how children develop understandings about race and racism in the context of family , place , early school experiences , elementary and secondary schools , child care and even summer camp.
Are white kids less racist than their grandparents? Being Well Together — Manchester, Manchester. Walter Carroll Lunchtime Concerts: Oriental Breeze — Manchester, Manchester. Available editions United Kingdom. Do we have any reason to believe that each new generation of white people will be more open-minded and tolerant than previous ones? Margaret Hagerman , Mississippi State University. The limitations of survey data Before beginning my research, I looked at what previous studies on the racial attitudes of young white people had found. According to some researchers, we do have reason to be hopeful.
What the kids are saying In order to better understand how white children think about race, I interviewed and observed 30 affluent, white families with kids between the ages of 10 and 13 living in a Midwestern metropolitan area.
As an year-old named Chris explained: One year-old named Natalie told me: Dismantling racism in the United States will require more than just passive hope.