Will My Children Know White Privilege?

247299_1715875979199_1187968379_n-2Ellie Myers,
Saint Louis, MO.

I was born and raised in Saint Louis, Missouri where the tension around race politics is palpable. Race never played a big role in my life, because it never had to. That is, until I started dating black men. I remember friends in high school joking about me going to, “Brown-Town”, which was the nick-name for the other side of the railroad tracks where the majority of African Americans lived in my community. Subtlety and not so subtlety my community let me know that dating an African American wasn’t the “right thing” to do. I continued to date black men, but race still wasn’t my problem. It wasn’t until one of them stuck, and as our relationship progressed, race became my problem too as our very different worlds collided. It was my problem when my friends and peers openly used the N word around us and I had no idea how to respond. It was my problem my family said subliminally racist things like, “he’s so articulate”. After a few years I naturally started thinking about our future family. I became increasingly aware as to the barriers that my non-white children would face. I am so thankful that my relationship brought institutional racism to light, but not everybody will have this same experience. As an adult I struggle with how to make racism white peoples’ problem too.

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2 Responses to "Will My Children Know White Privilege?"
  1. Kat777 says:

    I am a 50+ year old white woman and I believe an understanding of white privilege needs to be taught in schools early on. To me, it is a concept that many white people have never closely examined. I felt for a long time that because I am white, I was exempt from racial concerns and issues; I knew I wanted everyone to be treated equally, but I didn’t realize until very recently, that I am part of the discussion, that my “whiteness” is a factor in day to day life.

  2. hsartteach says:

    And I grew up with no idea that all people were not treated as I was. We need to examine and deconstruct white privilege as a part of institutional racism early on in schools.

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