Kirin Y. California

Racism and how it impacts children

Different cases of racism grip the world right now, how are the parents of America raising their children to think?

This letter is to raise awareness about racism and the effect it’s taking on children today.

Racism affects the whole population whether directly or indirectly, but what most people don’t often think about is how it affects the children of today. All children notice what's happening around them whether it's racism or global warming but because of this the citizens and parents of American have to make sure that young impressionable minds aren’t changed forever by subtle issues that are happening now.

If this country wants the next generation to accept people of all different shapes, sizes, and colors parents and siblings across the US ensure children don’t think a certain way because of race issues happening today. This issue is connected to the past as well. For example many horrible personal accounts of african american children suffering from schoolyard bullying and outright abuse in the fifties can see some of the old hatred arising that should have been buried years ago. Even Black children as young as 11—and sometimes even younger—are targeted by law enforcement, through school referrals that have them standing in criminal courts at rates that far outpace white children. (7 Ways Racism Affects the Lives of Black Children.) This is even proven in Recent research, published in the American Journal of Public Health, that paints a stark picture of the impact of racial discrimination on a person's health. Dr. Gilbert Gee and his team at UCLA have developed a model that connects racism and long-term health differences over the course of a person's lifetime. (Children and Racism: The long term impact on health.)

If Childrens mindsets change when they are young they might think that way forever. For instance a study of more than 120 ethnically and socioeconomically diverse US elementary school children shows that children develop an awareness about racial stereotypes early and that those biases can be damaging. Specifically, the study illustrates that when children become aware of bias about their own racial or ethnic group, it can affect how they respond to everyday situations, ranging from interacting with others to taking tests. Most children actively notice and think about race. A new study has found that children develop an awareness about racial stereotypes early, and that those biases can be damaging. (Awareness of racism affects how children do socially and academically.)

Now many parents might argue that their children are too young to even understand the politics and government concerning racial issues, this is well meant but wrong because even small children pick up little things even if they might not understand them. For instance so many children start to think a certain way because of their parents views on political and racial concerns. For example "Sean's family is so weird," a six-year-old announces. "His mom is black and his dad is white. Isn't that weird?" or "Alan says that Christians are best," confides a seven-year-old. "How come they're better than us?" all of these are subtle ideas 1st and 2nd graders have picked up from school or even around the house. Many parents might again argue that “Since kids are naturally prejudice free, won’t talking about it make things worse?” Unfortunately, it is not enough to set a good example. Nor can we shield children from bigotry. A society that continues to discriminate against racial and ethnic groups nurtures prejudice in each new generation. Children care about justice, respect, and fairness. Squabbles about sharing, concerns about cliques, and problems with playmates-the daily trials of childhood-reflect their active interest in these social issues. So do the questions children ask, when they feel safe enough to ask them. One important gift parents can give their children is to create a family in which difficult issues like racism are openly discussed. By talking openly and listening without censure, mothers and fathers can learn about their children's concerns and help them find connections between larger social issues and their own life experiences (Talking to our Children about Racism and Diversity.)

So you see Mrs./Mr. President the issue of Racism among us children is crucial to a solid and united country, many children are discriminated against in ways that hold them back socially and academically when moving through life in general! This idea that shades of skin hold back from many children approaching children in the school yard. Whether directly discriminated against or affected by racial discrimination all the same, many children are much more aware than most adults believe. Consider this when talking to your own children or nieces & nephews.

Looking forward to your response,

Starr, Terrell. “7 ways Racism Affects the Lives of Black Children.” Alternet. 8 May 2015. Web 6 Nov. 2016.

Ling, Na. “Children and Racism: the long term impact on health.” About Kids Health. 8 Aug. 2012. Web 6 Nov. 2016.

Society for Research in Children Development. “Awareness of racism affects how children do socially and academically.” Science Daily. 14 Nov. 2009 Web 6 Nov. 2016.

“Talking to our Children about Racism & Diversity.” Civil Rights. 1995 Web 6 Nov. 2016. 


Diablo Vista Middle School

Zhebel - English 8

Zhebel - English 8

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