In the development of morals in adolescents, no external influence is greater than that of their household environment. Through repremansion, reinforcement and both direct and indirect teaching, families instill morals in children, and help them to develop beliefs that reflect the values of their culture (education.gov). In today’s culture, racism is such a common encounter, preparing ones child on how to react in these situations seems as just another average conversation. Through parental tactics both politically and ethically of inclusivity, education and awareness while being executed by the parent themselves would help marshall a favorable and more positive American society.
One example is demonstrated in “Notes of a Native Son” in which a youthful nine year old boy named James Baldwin had a young caucasian teacher who “took an interest” in him and proposed a trip to the local theater to watch plays. Baldwin’s father was greatly apprehensive and only agreed with great reluctance of the arrangement. Although the teacher maintained a supportive manner toward Baldwin and the family, Baldwin’s father found her distrustful, and later advised his son to stay away from white people as much as possible.
This passage contains a perfect example of the way in which racism can cause people to develop a self-destructive relationship to the world. The specialized interest of the white teacher is a beneficial opportunity for the young Baldwin to advance yet his father is so distrustful of white people that he cannot conceptualize the situation as anything other than a threat. This situation is very common; kids inheriting their own parents biases in an act of respecting them and not rebelling against their parents word. However, as a society as a whole, this causes unnecessary racial tension made up through the minds of previous generations. In order to marshall a good society, we must evolve our own morals and teachings through generations ahead to enact universal acceptance. As parents, this topic may be taboo but not talking about race with your kids can result in surprisingly problematic views about race. While there are an abundance of reasons, one of the most compelling has been recent work showing that children often construct their own (sometimes worrying) conclusions about race and if they assume discussing this topic is too susceptible to disapproval, then these theories do not get checked.
Another wide barring issue is represented in Brent Staples’ “”Just Walk on By: Black Men and Public Space,”” Staples depicts the stereotypes, controversies, and judgments he faces being a black man in public vaccinities. Staples introduces his perspective by revealing how the behaviors observed around him are because of the fear linked to his labelled stereotypes of being criminals, gangsters and assaulters. Staples effectively begins by not only confessing the probable flaws in his practiced race but also by considering the opposing side, those who fear them.
Black males being susceptible to more violence due to the environment of their upbringing are assumed to be more likely to commit crime and cause harm towards women but Staples questions why that issue alters the outlook of everyday face to face contact. Staples admits, “”women are particularly vulnerable to street violence, and young black males are drastically overrepresented among the perpetrators of that violence,”” (Staples 384). In this instance, it highlights the blurred lines between racial awareness and racial judgment. In it is preamble to distinguish the two. Having racial awareness entails being aware of one’s own race/ethnicity, as well as others identities and some of the intricate psychological, economic, and cultural issues, differences and similarities among the races. Racial judgment on the other hand would entail holding onto one incident and holding it over a whole racial groups head. To combat this, distinguishing the two at a young age could be significant in growing into a more socially acceptable adult. It is shown that during elementary school, African Americans experience institutional and individual racism. In one periodic study ninety-two percent of black children aged ten or younger, experienced racial discrimination (The Defining Moment).
These encounters induced mental and physical damage and increase aggression and delinquency. Now it’s not always sufficient that we teach children respect for people of other races and abilities. We simply need to also preserve their trust in themselves and others, and their congenital sense of justice. If a child senses security and safety, he will react with exasperation toward racism, whether it’s aimed at him or at someone else. He will know that the racist attitude he has witnessed is wrong, and won’t adopt it as his own. For parents, this starts by word influence. As suggested by Hand in Hand, not having the child compare others, and judgments like “bad,” “good,” “better,” and “best” to classify him or other people. This suggests, for instance, “that when asked why some people are sent to jail, a parent would explain that those people have done something seriously hurtful to someone else, not that those are bad people” (Wipfler 1). What causes children vulnerable to racism is to treat children like we are superior, have more knowledge, significance, and our opinions have more validity than their feelings. Instead, we need to guide them with respect for their intelligence, whether they are acting intelligently at the moment or not.
In contrast, some might claim that as we grow older and form our own opinions, our formed judgments may not go hand in hand without our parents or how we were raised. Racism appears to be a little more common among older generations. This by no means, excuses racist behavior. However, most children who are born into racial biases stick with them because thats all they know. Most particularly, the Ku Klux Klan. The first generation of klansman flourished in 1865 with acts of physical assault and murder against groups or individuals whom they opposed. Now in present day, the third generation holds power (Wikipedia). With shows featured on A&E such as “Generation KKK”, it exhibits the discrimination implemented in their children’s heads by ostracizing them from the outside world, having them live in their own community holding onto their own prejudices. This can be connected to a common family as well; parents refusing to let their children hangout with others for their own discriminatory reasons causes the child to lack diverse interactions. Thus, when adulthood arises they will avoid these foreign interactions at any cost, representing an unconscious underlying racist act.
Furthermore, a study done in the Journal of Politics incorporated three generations of Americans in order to reevaluate the political socialization within the family and its results on their character. “Youth coming of age in the 1990s strongly parallel those based on youth socialized in the 1960s” (Jennings 1). This signified the impact of parental influence. Children are more likely to adopt their parents’ political standings if the family is highly politicized and if the parents present consistent acts over time. Teenagers are notorious for rebellion, but in the topic of politics, their standpoints are strongly affected by what their parents opinions are. Even prior to reaching the legal voting age, adolescents stemming from a democratic household tend to stay to the left, likewise in Republican households they tend to grow up and stay further right.
With that, asserting the freedom of forming their own opinions but keeping awareness of the world around them would significantly benefit the push for social changes when their generations become the primary voters. These benefits can be seen today; in the 2018 midterm elections. My generation of millennials proved as a new enthusiastic subgroup representing forty percent of the votings casted (Fortune). I believe this drive and interest from young voters arose from being exposed to newly accepted ideas such as gender fluidity and wanting to overpower the ignorance of the closed minded older generations. As the “baby-boomer” generation of voters declines, experts predict millennials to evolve into the largest and most powerful group athouritating future elections in the U.S. Keeping in mind that all have the right to vote, not all will. Meaning that if young people are not educated on the significance of getting to directly influence issues that might affect their lives for years to come, including college tuition reform and federal job programs, it will more likely not fall in their favor. Thus, as a parents, reminding your child that their diversity is their strongest tool is essential so that when it is their time to call for change, they value their one vote for it can be the difference between a more welcoming or continuously oppressed society. Millennials primary goal of representing a diverse population through a more inclusive agenda, and pushing those advocacies through the federal government with the help of future voters would essentially marshall a more positive and inclusive American society.
In conclusion, although families’ contributions to children’s moral development is broad, there are particular ways in which morals are most effectively conveyed and learned. Moral education is vital to help raise a virtuous, responsible, and compassionate member of society; as well as becoming informed and reflective about important and controversial moral issues. In accordance, families should be encouraged to live in ways that are consistent with their beliefs because the act of telling is ineffective if it’s not being played out. All purpose as tools to enable one to become a component of marshalled good in society.
“Are Kids Racist?” Psychology Today, Sussex Publishers, www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/developing-minds/201304/are-kids-racist.
Cohen, Samuel S. 50 Essays: a Portable Anthology. Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2017
Dulin-Keita, Akilah et al. “The Defining Moment: Children’s Conceptualization of Race and Experiences with Racial Discrimination” Ethnic and racial studies vol. 34,4 (2011): 662-682.
“The Journal of Politics.” American Journal of Education, www.journals.uchicago.edu/doi/full/10.1017/S0022381609090719.
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