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Excerpt from “The First R: How Children Learn Race and Racism”

Ray Deschamps

Sociology 103


Reading 8. Excerpt from “The First R: How Children Learn Race and Racism” (p.89- 95).

1) Teachers denied that children learned racism in school, parents refused to believe that they learned it at home. Then, where do children learn it? Children learn racism in the “neighborhood”. Children are like sponges they absorb all the information around their vicinity. They are also aware of the differences between each other and in the language of children having more means you are higher up in the ranking system. Not only do they learn this from the “neighborhood” they also learn about it on Tv which place a big part in developing the culture for children. The “neighborhood” is given the blame because then none of the adults take the blame and it is seen as a common enemy.

2) Given the circumstances narrated in the article, what will it take to diminish, if not eliminate racism? To eliminate racism in children cannot be the goal because children look up to us adults so until Adults eliminate the culture around racism we can only prevent to a certain extant the interactions children have with it. We see how children of color try to hold power over white children by using “constructed racial distinctions ” as a defensive mechanism to an earlier feeling of racial exclusion caused by the white children. Also it took a meeting of eight people to sit the child down and talk to them about what they said. One problem that wasn’t addressed was how the black children felt about the derogatory comment that was said and even that shows how the minority is treated as invisible.

3) Is racism just an issue of education or is it also a severe imbalance of power where a white minority controls the main social resources of society? Racism is not an issue of education in fact schools for the most part try their hardest to be diverse and accept everyone no matter their color. But even saying that you can see the difference between an all white school and a largely diverse school and to go even further than that the area said schools are located around and very different. Children like adults “come to see racial and ethnic categories as more or less permanent parts of their environments” so as a white child grows up they see how much power and opportunity they have they even sometimes try to deny their “white privilege” when other races point out they have it. They have access to all the good jobs and sometimes don’t even have to work as hard to get at where they are in life while on the other hand other races like Hispanics and Blacks work four times as hard to have the tiniest chance at an opportunity.

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