There has been a good deal of ink spilled over the Time cover, "Is Your Baby Racist?". Much has been made of the contentions of the authors, for good reason, but after reading the article I have two observations that I think have not been made due to the outrage surrounding the article itself.
My youngest two children spent their K-6 years being homeschooled in what might be considered a multicultural haven. We have a very diverse neighborhood and many times my kids were the only white kids at our house. Not to put to fine a point on it, but their best friends in 6th and 7th grade, respectively, were not white.
We didn't spend a lot of time discussing race issues at our house. If it came up, it came up. If it didn't, who cared? One of the ideas behind the article is that we all need to talk about race, differences, and inclusion to make it happen. I never did and we had a virtual politically correct Saturday morning cartoon of races represented here on any given Sunday.
That gradually changed to some extent as soon as I sent my kids to public school. Some of their friends went to another junior high. Some of their friends continued to home school. Perhaps instead of it being the parents, it's the school and the other kids and their attitudes that influence these things. Perhaps your group is simply those you spend the most time with?
Certainly we all say we want our kids to be colorblind and not notice race, but to judge people by the content of their character and treat them accordingly. It's most assuredly what I wanted to achieve as a parent, but given the context of the culture we live in today could that end up to be partially a bad thing for my kids and their friends? It was tonight.
My daughter and one of her best buddies from the cheer team, still in their cheer outfits from the volleyball game, were in dining room making posters. Not that it should make any difference, her friend is black. But it did make a difference, you see. My son walked in the back door, saw them working on their posters, and joked, "We don't want your kind here!!"
As my two kids laughed at my son's joke, the look on the friend's face was amazingly awful. For a few agonizing seconds, she had absolutely no idea he was talking about cheerleaders. They had absolutely no clue, until I pointed it out to them later, that she didn't immediately realize it was a cheerleader joke.
She did nothing wrong. They did nothing wrong, but it's something I'm going to be thinking about for quite some time. I don't want my kids to spend their lives tip-toeing through a minefield, worrying how people will take every comment. On the other hand, I don't want them accidentally hurting other's feelings because they're completely oblivious to the fact that there are possible mines to be stepped on.