Raising Anti-racist White Children, Part 2 

July 1, 2020

I have been continuing in my anti-racist work by taking a three-part webinar series called “Raising Anti-Racist White Children” put on by the Center for the Study of White American Culture. In my second article on raising anti-racist white children, I share more ways we can address white identity and the antidotes to counteract it.  —Jennifer Palmason Kaiton,
Faith Formation Coordinator

Notes from the webinar “Raising Anti-Racist White Children,” put on by the Center for the Study of White American Culture

What is white identity or white culture? Sharon Martinas from ‘The Culture Of White Supremacy’ says “Culture is a way of life. Culture is passed on from generation to generation through institutions, groups, interpersonal and individual behavior.” It’s the message that white is superior, that white is the best. It’s a message said to us through all areas of our life: media, institutions, parents, teachers, history, society etc. Which means it’s something we were bred into and need to learn how to come to terms with and awaken to, so we can work to undo it. Here are some ways we can engage with each other and our children:

  • Encourage race conversations with family members who are around or helping raise our children as they grow up. This will help create universal anti-racist messaging.
  • Talk about current segregation and how we can integrate ourselves in a healthy way. Many white people live in towns that are mostly white or have very little integration with people of color. Without gentrifying black communities, how can we mingle and share culture in a healthy way? Our children must be exposed to diverse cultures and people from all backgrounds to be well rounded anti-racists.
  • Nurture anti-racist identities in children and a positive white identity. We want them to feel good about themselves with a healthy power inside. Speak of whiteness and white culture — explaining how it dominates and subjugates other cultures in our society. White people (in general) have been stripped of their culture, disconnected from ancestry, and that creates a deep seeded fear inside us that can show up as shame. That shame creates emptiness which forces us to appropriate other cultures and leaves a hollowness in our kids.

Antidotes to toxic white identity:

  • Take on an anti-racist identity.
  • Name whiteness; point out in a space if only white people are present, talk about how diverse your child’s school is or isn’t.
  • Reclaim your roots and your heritage. Connect back to who we really are before our ancestors immigrated here.
  • Take on the dual consciousness of handling and holding the history or racism (we inherited) and the identity of an anti-racist.
  • Identify and be clear inside with blame vs. responsibility for the change needed going forward.
  • Support concrete steps for racial justice and equity. Take action.
  • Lift up anti-racist white role models.
  • De-universalize white European culture or de-centralize our white culture/whiteness.

I have been continuing in my anti-racist work by taking a three-part webinar series called “Raising Anti-Racist White Children” put on by the Center for the Study of White American Culture. In my second article on raising anti-racist white children, I share more ways we can address white identity and the antidotes to counteract it.  —Jennifer Palmason Kaiton, Faith Formation CoordinatorNotes from the webinar “Raising Anti-Racist White Children,” put on by the Center for the Study of White American CultureWhat is white identity or white culture? Sharon Martinas from ‘The Culture Of White Supremacy’ says “Culture is a way of life. Culture is passed on from generation to generation through institutions, groups, interpersonal and individual behavior.” It’s the message that white is superior, that white is the best. It’s a message said to us through all areas of our life: media, institutions, parents, teachers, history, society etc. Which means it’s something we were bred into and need to learn how to come to terms with and awaken to, so we can work to undo it. Here are some ways we can engage with each other and our children:Encourage race conversations with family members who are around or helping raise our children as they grow up. This will help create universal anti-racist messaging.Talk about current segregation and how we can integrate ourselves in a healthy way. Many white people live in towns that are mostly white or have very little integration with people of color. Without gentrifying black communities, how can we mingle and share culture in a healthy way? Our children must be exposed to diverse cultures and people from all backgrounds to be well rounded anti-racists.Nurture anti-racist identities in children and a positive white identity. We want them to feel good about themselves with a healthy power inside. Speak of whiteness and white culture — explaining how it dominates and subjugates other cultures in our society. White people (in general) have been stripped of their culture, disconnected from ancestry, and that creates a deep seeded fear inside us that can show up as shame. That shame creates emptiness which forces us to appropriate other cultures and leaves a hollowness in our kids. Antidotes to toxic white identity:Take on an anti-racist identity.Name whiteness; point out in a space if only white people are present, talk about how diverse your child’s school is or isn’t.Reclaim your roots and your heritage. Connect back to who we really are before our ancestors immigrated here.Take on the dual consciousness of handling and holding the history or racism (we inherited) and the identity of an anti-racist.Identify and be clear inside with blame vs. responsibility for the change needed going forward.Support concrete steps for racial justice and equity. Take action. Lift up anti-racist white role models.De-universalize white European culture or de-centralize our white culture/whiteness. 



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