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the first black president...? - Page 4

post #61 of 145
Just stopping in quickly to share my 4 year old (white) DD's comment post-election:

"Mom, can white kids grow up to have brown skin?"

Which I believe was a way of saying "Mom, can I grow up to be president?"

Kinda cool.
post #62 of 145
We are a white anglo-american family living in Brazil.
I just want discuss a bit my family´s experience with the Presidential race. For one we live in South America so it´s not the same racism but it definately a fact of life here. My daughter of 11 has been discussing and learning about race as concept and racism as an issue internationally for a long time now. She did have her issue with defining him by his race ´why do they call him an african american and not just an american´ ´why is his considered black if his mom is white he seems brown to me´(brown being a specific race here). Also we have an uncle who is Kenyan and they are a biracial family. She my daughter was able to present to her class american history of racism and significance of this presidential race incluing important historical events (civil rights act, jim crow laws, ect...). Because we live in South America slavery is part history(and as still present problem in this country) and is very much part of what they learn in school at a very very young age. My son 8 yo wanted to go to school as his favorite book character...Dr. Martin Luther King ...I said `Lloyd you are blond haired and blued eyed and his really was struggling as a young black man in america how will you dress up like him`...`I´ll just where a nice suit and bring my book´. My youngest is 5 she just follows the discussion as she can. It´s part of life I don´t think it´s appropriate to hide anything just address per the child´s age. This a moment where we can be proud to be an american and the reasons why include ugly aspects of our culture that were overcome on some level by this historic event. I believe he was choosen because he was the best canidate inspite of his race and that is what is real.
post #63 of 145
:

Subbing. I've been trying to make sense of this myself, the big deal of "the black presidential candidate" verses "the white presidential candidate". I was watching the news with my stepdaughter and the news was going on and on about "the first black president" won. My stepdaughter asked me, "Yeah, but is he any good?" (meaning, is he able to do the job) and it occurred to me that such a big deal is being made of what he is (black), that what he can do (be a good president?) is being ignored. I'd like to be able to give my kids (and myself) better answers.
post #64 of 145
Quote:
Originally Posted by harleyhalfmoon View Post
My stepdaughter asked me, "Yeah, but is he any good?" (meaning, is he able to do the job) and it occurred to me that such a big deal is being made of what he is (black), that what he can do (be a good president?) is being ignored. I'd like to be able to give my kids (and myself) better answers.
My daughter and I had a long talk about the history of racism in our country last night, and what I told her is that his win illustrates exactly how much people believe in his ability to do great things as president -- because so many people were able to get past the color of his skin and vote for him based on his vision for the country.
post #65 of 145
I didn't get to read all the post.

I think it will be a shame if we don't teach our children why Obama's skin color is signifcant and why it shouldn't be. Why his is breaking boundries and why he (or any one) should have this burden because their skin color, religion, et.
post #66 of 145
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yinsum View Post
Thank you Missy and Swim:

I just have to say I don't have the luxury to ignore race or put it off for a later date. People and other children have put the question to my kids when they were small. In some social circles we are the diversity and other kids openly ask why you are different. One of my son's friends wanted to nurse from me (they were 2 years old) because she thought I made chocolate milk.
Neither do I want my children to not embrace the significance of Obama's election as the First black president. This country not only has a history, but continues to promote ideas within the media, policies (racial profiling) and a host of misconceptions that show black people in a negative light.
I don't want my children to be colorblind. I want my children to know the beauty in variety of humanity. To respect and appreciate others and their cultures. A homogeneous world would be quite boring in my opinion.

Obviously we are looking at this from different perspectives. Mine however doesn't permit me to downplay the meaning of this. And if anyone looked at the faces especially of older black people on TV when the announcement was made, you might see the acknowledgement in their eyes. That can not be ignored.
: Like you putting of race discussions is not a luxury I have. I have learned this many years ago when my son was 3 and in daycare and another kid asked him about his race. My son is now 16 and my daughter is 3 and IMO children of color learn about race much earlier so it seems.

Shay
post #67 of 145
Quote:
Originally Posted by shayinme View Post
: Like you putting of race discussions is not a luxury I have. I have learned this many years ago when my son was 3 and in daycare and another kid asked him about his race. My son is now 16 and my daughter is 3 and IMO children of color learn about race much earlier so it seems.

Shay
i can definitely see this. We are a white family living in what has historically been a black neighborhood. We have occasionally heard unwelcoming comments but this is very rare and ds didn't understand at all that they were race based. So he has not really had an experience which would bring up the question of either his own race or another person's. He has not noticed Obama's skin color. Why, how, in what way would me discussing this moment in history be beneficial? He doesn't have the context or concept of history to make much sense of this. He lacks any personal experience to make a discussion of racism relevant to him at this time.
He is 4 and as the person who knows him best in the world I can't come up with a single way to discuss this. As another mom on here said it would all go over his head.
Yes, he is white and he has been blessed (privileged) to never have seen a direct incidence of racism. I could explain to him why most of the people in our poor neighborhood are black, but....he doesn't really understand poverty (though that would be a little simpler to explain).
Does anyone see what I'm getting at here? There are a lot of middle class black people in our city so I don't want him to think most black people are poor....what are modern issues of racism that aren't the issues all poor people face?
Arg! This is complicated.
I watch a pbs show called "basic black" a lot and last night they had a panel discussing the election. One of the panelists said, in the US the more you discuss racism the more of a problem you make it." I don't know if this is true. But I guess this is my convoluted way of saying that's how I feel a discussion of race would turn out with my 4 y/o at this time.

I truly understand wanting to share the excitement of this moment with your children! I think I will choose a slower more subtle approach where our discussion of race takes place along with my ds's growing awareness and experience. And I do understand that this is something not everyone has the "privilege" to do.
post #68 of 145
Here are some books and a movie I used to introduce my older son to the Civil Rights movement, the concept of racism, and the idea of embracing people of all different skin colors:


http://www.amazon.com/Sweet-Smell-Ro...0854906&sr=1-1

http://www.amazon.com/Skin-You-Live-...0854967&sr=1-7

http://www.amazon.com/Skin-Im-First-...sim_b_title_10

http://www.amazon.com/black-brown-ta...pd_sim_b_img_9

http://www.amazon.com/Martins-Big-Wo...0878268&sr=1-1

http://www.amazon.com/Our-Friend-Mar...6070499&sr=1-2

This is what we're using this year (he's 6/ first grade homeschooler) to help start discussions:
http://bksschoolhouse.com/shop.php?pid=15338
(I know nothing of this retailer, just wanted to show the posters)
We're going in order, so I can more easily explain the changes made over time.

We also use current events on a regular basis.

Starting next year, we'll be reading biographies.

You can't explain the historical importance of this election without first teaching some U.S. history. I've found myself teaching U.S. history in many areas - talking about scientific advancements, changing landscapes, the founding of our country. I found ways of discussing all these things in age-appropriate ways. Discussing the history of oppression and the Civil Rights movement can also be done in age-appropriate ways.

For the record, I am a white woman with white children. I accept that I am responsible for raising my children - children with white and male privilege - to be anti-racist and to use that privilege to help others rather than to oppress them.
post #69 of 145
Quote:
Originally Posted by lotusdebi View Post
Here are some books and a movie I used to introduce my older son to the Civil Rights movement, the concept of racism, and the idea of embracing people of all different skin colors:


http://www.amazon.com/Sweet-Smell-Ro...0854906&sr=1-1

http://www.amazon.com/Skin-You-Live-...0854967&sr=1-7

http://www.amazon.com/Skin-Im-First-...sim_b_title_10

http://www.amazon.com/black-brown-ta...pd_sim_b_img_9

http://www.amazon.com/Martins-Big-Wo...0878268&sr=1-1

http://www.amazon.com/Our-Friend-Mar...6070499&sr=1-2

This is what we're using this year (he's 6/ first grade homeschooler) to help start discussions:
http://bksschoolhouse.com/shop.php?pid=15338
(I know nothing of this retailer, just wanted to show the posters)
We're going in order, so I can more easily explain the changes made over time.

We also use current events on a regular basis.

Starting next year, we'll be reading biographies.

You can't explain the historical importance of this election without first teaching some U.S. history. I've found myself teaching U.S. history in many areas - talking about scientific advancements, changing landscapes, the founding of our country. I found ways of discussing all these things in age-appropriate ways. Discussing the history of oppression and the Civil Rights movement can also be done in age-appropriate ways.

For the record, I am a white woman with white children. I accept that I am responsible for raising my children - children with white and male privilege - to be anti-racist and to use that privilege to help others rather than to oppress them.
OMG, thank you for all the book links!! :

We are white; my boys are 5 and 7. I did tell them that it's very special and historic that Obama is the first black President. I told them that it's NOT why I voted for him. I voted for him, because I agreed with what he said and I thought he was kind and intelligent. But even so, it is very historically significant that he's the first black President.

I have given them a brief overview of slavery (a Reading Rainbow episode generated interest) AND the racism that led to the Civil Rights movement. I told them that when their grandparents were married adults, that black people couldn't even use the same water fountains or go wherever they wanted to in the library. That is VERY recent history and it's very important IMO to talk about this. This is the stuff that was always skipped over in school and it's still very relevant. My children will be white men, the people who have the ultimate white privilege. They are not at fault but I think it's extra important that they are aware of the privilege that is given to them simply based on their gender and appearance. I think it will help them to be better men if they can understand and appreciate the marginalization that's happened and still happens.

It doesn't have to be scary to explain this to kids. The best analogy that I used was that of eye color. My kids have different color eyes. Can they imagine, I asked, if people with blue eyes weren't allowed to eat at the same restaurants or use the same bathrooms? Can they imagine, I asked, if other people thought blue-eyed people weren't as intelligent or as special as everyone else? It's ludicrous!! This analogy really worked for them; it enabled them to understand how ridiculous racism is and also how much shaming and suffering comes from it.
post #70 of 145
Quote:
Originally Posted by Periwinkle View Post
It's the new normal.

I certainly hope it someday will be normal, but for now it's not.
post #71 of 145
plantmama in one respect your son has had a privilege of growing up in a predominantly black neighborhood. So seeing black people isn't so strange or an oddity. Here even your own perspective is unique and something that you and your have experienced.
For many moms of children of color, we have had the color conversation because our children might be the only child of color and other children simply put the question out there.
Also there is simply the fact that as a black woman (speaking only for myself) with the knowledge of what I have endured, what others like my 98 year old uncle (who died the morning of the election) and so many stories oblige me to speak. I come from a lineage of The Spoken Word.
post #72 of 145
Quote:
Originally Posted by sagemomma View Post
ok so my kids are 5 and 1 . i am not sure if i want to make a big deal out of Barak being the first black president, i kinda want them to see it as normal and not some bizzare occurance. I really want them to grow up thinking it is normal and nothing to be gawked at but i am so excited and want them to know how special it is at the same time. i try to teach that we are all the same , what are you all doing at this historic time? :

Yes, it SHOULD be normal, but it isn't.

It's awesome, and inspiring, and about time. And I think that American children of all races, should be aware of why it is significant that a black man has become the president - much as I would when we have a woman as president. In the century in which I was born, a black person nor ANY woman could even vote. Now a black man leads our nation.

It is a big deal.

As a white woman (who grew up in a family with strong ratial prejudices), I have big hopes for president Obama, helping to unite our country, and our world. I was thrilled that he was elected, and shared that excitement with my children. I think it is wonderful he can be an embodiment of how I, and hopefully most of the people in this country feel - that there are lots of different colors of people in this nation - and they all make the nation great.

I understand what you mean ,because surely race isn't the only reason he's a remarkable president, but because of how significant his color is, in the light of our nations history, it shouldn't be overlooked. It's a part of the package, and should be shared enthusiastically with our children, I believe.
post #73 of 145
Quote:
Originally Posted by ian'smommaya View Post
morning he work up and wanted to sing the national athem at the school choir. (can someone explain why the national athem is based on a 16c. english drinking song?)
1. It wasn't really a "drinking song," it was a song for university students who had sort of intellectual gatherings where there was also drinking.

2. It became the national anthem by default when the military was using it a lot, because it had a nice martial sound to it, and then after WWI everyone had been in the military and knew it and it just kind of went from there. It started as a military thing and spread.
post #74 of 145
This discussion is very interesting to me. Thanks for the book suggestions. I can see that as a good way to approach the subject when personal experience is not so much a factor.
My son will definitely be faced with a lot of new information in the next few years. He will most likely attend a school with many black and hispanic children and our local elementary is actually called Martin Luther King Jr. school! So I would imagine the history of civil rights will be taught.
My city voted overwhelmingly for Obama from the affluent to the working class. I guess that's why I'm not overly concerned about teaching my son about these issues. They are believed in, talked about and experienced around us all the time.
I guess my concern about bringing this up with him is not because I think it's scary. I like it that he doesn't see race. I like it that it isn't something he sees yet. I guess I'm beginning to understand some of yous' concern with this. Do you see how I'm concerned I'll make a problem out of it by talking about it? Or am I overthinking it?
I mean until recently he talked about the days when I would be a kid and he would be grown up. So time has yet to be linear for him and history is hard to grasp.
Having a black president I guess these discussions have evolved even further.
post #75 of 145
DH and I are 23 and 24 respectively and we were watching BBC and the anchor was Nigerian (I think) and was crying a little about Obama being elected. We realize that this is historic, but it (in my mind) was an eventuality (soon eventuality) I think that because DH and I never saw being black a handicap or a problem or a hindrance to becoming president.
post #76 of 145
I'm not making a big deal out of the race aspect of the election with DS (which has been so wonderful for me and DH) simply because he really doesn't think about people at this age. If he asked me something about why a person looks different than us, then we would talk genetics/race, but otherwise, I don't see the point. I grew up in a family with an older adopted sibling of an obviously different ethnicity than my own and in a very diverse community and I don't remember thinking about people's race very much until I was in college.
post #77 of 145
Quote:
Originally Posted by catemom View Post
I'm not making a big deal out of the race aspect of the election with DS (which has been so wonderful for me and DH) simply because he really doesn't think about people at this age. If he asked me something about why a person looks different than us, then we would talk genetics/race, but otherwise, I don't see the point. I grew up in a family with an older adopted sibling of an obviously different ethnicity than my own and in a very diverse community and I don't remember thinking about people's race very much until I was in college.
You don't see the point because you don't have to. You didn't think about race because you didn't have to. These are aspects of white privilege. Again, listen to the mamas of color on here talking about how their kids don't have the luxury of being "colorblind". I think you owe it to your son to also talk about racism and discrimination. Lotusdebi linked to some really great books that we can all reference.
post #78 of 145
Imagine a line. If you are white woman, you are at the front of the line looking forward. The women of color are in the back of the line. If you are a queer woman of color you are at the very back.

Now imagine how it feels to have a person in the front of the line say, "I am raising my child color blind."

Those people in the front of the line don't have to look back an see color. They can OPT not to.

The women who are standing in the back of that line see what is in front of them. They have to answer the questions their children ask about why they always have to be at the back of the line. They see people who have always been in front of them, historically. Their children are born and see that the white people are always in front of them.

I think we all as white women raising bi racial children, as I am, or raising white children, owe it to the people behind us in line, who have been there for SO long...and treated SO poorly...to teach our children and our selves to turn around in that line and see people. And then we owe to to the people behind us to make some room at the front of the line, to move back a little ourselves and give room to people who have been marginalized for too long...

Lets not let the convenience of the "front of the line" let us hurt the people behind us ANY MORE.

yes, it can hurt to turn your innocent child's face around and let them see what the world really looks like. But if you raise them to always see that, then it will be a fact to them, the way it HAS to be a fact to those little kids in the back.

And yes, I can't opt out of "turning my kids around" because they are not white. and whether or not people perceive them as white or brown, they know that they are not just white. that they have a father they love as well as an entire extended family that is not white.

but I think in the long run, hiding the fact that so many are stuck in line behind the white kids in the front does no one any service.

Holy History, Obama made it to be PRESIDENT! This is a HUGE deal.
My kids and I will revel in our HAPPINESS and HOPE and HISTORY together.:::::
post #79 of 145
Quote:
Originally Posted by eclipse View Post
I certainly hope it someday will be normal, but for now it's not.
I beg to differ. It IS normal now... for the youngest set I am talking about. A new generation of children is about to grow up thinking nothing of a black man being president of the U.S. That ROCKS.
post #80 of 145
Quote:
Originally Posted by Periwinkle View Post
I beg to differ. It IS normal now... for the youngest set I am talking about. A new generation of children is about to grow up thinking nothing of a black man being president of the U.S. That ROCKS.
And I'm going to repeat...pretending that it's normal, ignoring the significance of this, is arrogantly dismissive of the people who fought with their lives for Obama not just to have this opportunity but to get the education he needed to get there and to have the right to even vote in this election. It is dismissive of the obstacles that Obama faced to reach this moment. To be able to pretend it's normal ignores the people who were literally collapsing in tears on Tuesday night...and the racism and anger many faced the next day when they returned to work. Having the luxury to pretend it's normal implies that we don't still have a fight ahead of us, that this is the end of racism in America, that we are--suddenly--healed.

It is not normal. Not yet. It's a beginning.
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