Monday, January 17, 2011

Why I won't discuss race with my son.


I have no intention of ever initiating a conversation about race with my son, and here's why...

It is my honest hope and belief that I will never have to.

And I don't think that's too unrealistic to strive for. Our children's generation is going to grow up in a world completely foreign to the one of our childhoods. Right now, I am running this blog with technology that was the subject matter of science fiction when I was a kid. And I'm only 25. But I remember when we first got internet access when I was 10 or 11, and how my sisters and I were so excited to see our first website at home...ty.com. (Yes, the beanie babies website.) And the whole page only took an hour to load.

"Okay," you may be thinking to yourself, "What does that have to do with race relations? After all, racism is still a huge issue in America." And, obviously, it is. If anything, we've gotten more diversified with our bigotry. It's not longer just white vs. black; we've got asian vs. hispanic, black vs. gay, and just about everyone vs. middle eastern. (Seriously, Muslim people, I know I can't apologize for all white Christians, but I really am sorry about how much crap you've had to deal with in the last decade. I really do feel badly about it.)


But, here's what's awesome...our kids don't have to grow up like that. And I do think technology is what's going to unite us. Social media and the public's obsession with personal information has created such transparency in our lives that it's much easier to see all our similarities. There's no long a mystery as to what goes on in "other" types of people's lives. We can just find out on the internet. And what we're finding is common ground. Hey look! Tiger Woods cheats on his wife! Just like just about every other pro-athlete! We're not so different after all!

The other thing that's going to help is the changing attitude towards interracial relationships. When I was in middle school, it felt like at least twice a year a movie came out where Julia Stiles has to take crap for dating a black guy. Because it was such a crazy, taboo thing to do! Now? No one cares that Hank Baskett married one of the Girls Next Door (not even worth a google for me to remember which one). Well, we don't care because of their different races. We care because we figure he could probably do better.

Not that I'm going to just sit back and pray that, because our society is becoming gradually more color-blind, my son will be too. I'm fortunate to attend an incredibly diverse (racially, economically, ability, socially, etc.) church where my son will grow up around all different types of people who care about him. And he's already quite the little social butterfly, walking around the lobby, dragging me off course as he veers to greet someone while we're on our way to attend the week's baptism.

And he greets everyone, no matter what color, gender, handicap, anything. (He actually loves wheelchairs, and I think he finds people who use them on purpose, hoping to charm his way into a ride.)

So, until he brings the topic up, or until a situation requires it, race is not something we will be discussing in our household. Because, like the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., I too have a dream...that it won't be necessary.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Excellent. Nice job.

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