In light of what is happening in the United States I am going to post this… It’s a talk that I need to have with my children and the reason I don’t want to have it, is because we really shouldn’t have to have it in this day and age.
You see, my children were born Caucasian, one blonde haired and blue eyed and the other brown haired and blue eyed. Because of this, they will have certain societal privileges. My son will have access to greater resources and power based purely on identifying as male and Caucasian, more so than my daughter. It’s a fact in our world right now. You can go ahead and get all pissy, but the truth is my son or will not have to fear being pulled over without reason nor will he face daily cultural and gender appropriation.
I want to be the one to explain to my children that because they have fair skin, blue eyes and fine hair people will see that and be kinder to him. Almost universally. And that just because it will feel nice, that doesn’t mean it is. I want to tell them that it’s wrong.
I want them to see the world and to challenge the status quo. I want to tell my children that people in this world are different and that it’s a GOOD thing. I need to tell them this before they see it in a way that won’t be safe. I don’t want to leave either one unprepared when they witnesses an act of bigotry and hatred. I want both to know that racially motivated hate exists and that it’s wrong, it needs to be challenged and that they can have a voice in stopping it.
I need to have this conversation with my children because one day, they may realize that they trust white skin (on sight) over darker complexions, that most news reports on crime will involve a black male – and if there happens to be a white male who makes the headlines, they won’t delve into his personal life. That they will see that the ‘bad guys’ in the movies are of darker complexion and that will be a ‘norm’ and be surprised when it’s otherwise. Both my children need to be aware that the Canadian history they will be taught is from an entirely white perspective. I want both of them to see these messages for what they are – ignorance from a culture that has been spoon fed privileges from birth.
I want both kids, to stand up and say something when they see someone struggling through persecution whether based on race, physical ability, gender or sexual orientation. That they will take this privilege and use it in a way that will better everyone.
I don’t want either of my children to feel guilty about being white. This isn’t about making them feel guilty over their whiteness. This is about having a conversation about how our world needs to change and that they can have power in changing it.