How do you explain the centuries-long exploitation of blacks by white Americans?
The easy answers that appealed to whites - but held no resonance for blacks - will no longer do:
Research on white racial socialization is beginning to emerge within the field of racial socialization that makes it clear that many white people share my experience. In particular, the research suggests that for fear of perpetuating racial misunderstandings, being seen as a racist, making children feel badly, or simply not knowing what to say, many white parents tend to believe that there is never a right time to initiate a conversation about race. They talk to their children about race if it becomes relevant in their lives (mostly in negative contexts). Otherwise, they tell their children that people are all the same and that they should not see race.
While white parents' intention is to convey to their children the belief that race shouldn't matter, the message their children receive is that race, in fact, doesn't matter. The intent and aim are noble, but in order for race not to matter in the long run, we have to acknowledge that, currently, it does matter a great deal. If white parents want their children to contribute to what researchers Matthew Desmond and Mustafa Emirbayer describe as a "racially just America" in which race does not unjustly influence one's life opportunities, their children will need to learn awareness and skills that they cannot acquire through silence and omission.
Starting with voting for black reparations,...