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"Racially Concientious" Parenting in a "Colorblind" Society

A Summary from Blake & Associates Law Firm

By Terry Keleher

As a middle-aged white couple who had adopted a black newborn, they knew they might get comments about their differences, but were somewhat surprised at the range of comments. White people tended to be curious about the nature of their relationship with an unspoken code of etiquette deemed "colorblindness", a feigned trait of trying not to notice the racial difference. Black people were generally more direct, although no less caring, with comments like "where did you get that baby?" and viewing us with some measure of suspicion. The suspicion was relatively understood considering the track record white people have of dealing effectively with issues of race, privilege, cultural differences or systemic inequality.

Instead of “colorblind parenting”, where we try to protect our kids from racism by pretending it doesn’t exist, we need to embrace “racially conscientious parenting” where we prepare our children and ourselves to deal with our racialized reality so we can change it. It means choosing to become consciously and actively part of the solution instead of unconsciously and passively part of the problem. Parents have a particularly influential role to play in shaping the awareness and abilities of our children and in breaking down the barriers and bias of our neighborhood institutions, from schools and businesses to government agencies and social services.

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