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need help to teach about white privilege

(40 Posts)
helloagainmyfriend Mon 01-Jun-20 10:44:49

I am a white woman, I live in a white bubble and although I know and am friendly with many black people my family and closest friends are all white.

I have brought my children up to not be racist, to the best of my ability. They understand and take on board that skin colour should not matter to how we treat other people.

But I have not taught about white privilege as I have only just understood it myself.

With the murder of George Floyd I tried to talk to my son about how awful it is. But as he believes through my parenting that skin colour may not be the reason as in his mind all people are equal. He thinks it is bad what happened but is not understanding just how bad it is and how difficult it is to be a black man, particularly in America.

I am glad he himself would not treat black people differently to white people but I have failed to teach that racism is a bias underlying many institutions, particularly American police in a lot of states.

My son is is 15 with ASD so I need some help on how to explain this to him.

Any guidance for me please, and try not to pile on and slate me, I have done the best I can so far and know I am very lacking.

I was thinking some films showing this may help, any recommendations?

OP’s posts: |
sleepismysuperpower1 Mon 01-Jun-20 10:48:13

It's not a film, but you might find reading the link below helpful.

Hidden Figures is a film worth watching, it explores racism and white privilage.

CocoR Mon 01-Jun-20 10:50:12

lojoko Mon 01-Jun-20 10:51:13

You know I think the biggest stumbling block is we teach people that racism is irrational prejudice. But it is rational. There is an economic, sociopolitical reason for racism - it arises from material conditions - and without understanding that the story always goes enslave people first and hate them second, we not only fail to understand racism, we fail to understand the dynamics underlying many oppressive structures and the post-hoc rationalisations of crimes against a person (they deserved it).

Racism serves a purpose. That purpose is different in different societies. I think for understanding some of dynamics in the US, Tim White is quite good on digging in to how racism disrupts the political organisation of the working class in America and to whose benefit.

PicsInRed Mon 01-Jun-20 10:54:21

He's 15, so might be ok to watch "13th" by Netflix. It's also available for free in full on YouTube.

You should watch first to judge suitability.

It's a hard watch but accurate and informative.

PicsInRed Mon 01-Jun-20 10:56:40

13th is about systemic oppression of Black people as actually permitted by the very wording of the 13th amendment re: slavery.

june2007 Mon 01-Jun-20 11:01:01

Does he know about the equal rights movement in the 60,s and segregation? Does he know about Aparthaite in SA? Does he know about the schools for Aboriginies? TEach him this. Basically teach him history.

Lifeaback Mon 01-Jun-20 11:02:13

There’s a series on Netflix called ‘when they see us’- short series of I think maybe 4 30 min episodes so more like a film. It’s based on a true story about 5 teenage boys who were falsely accused and incarcerated for a horrific rape in New York. It’s heart breaking and one of the most eye opening things I’ve watched about institutionalised racism.

I’m not sure how age appropriate it is though as it features a little bit of violence and although the central crime isn’t shown on screen, it is discussed. I think I would argue that it’s suitable for 15 year olds based on the fact that the boys were between 14-16 when they were arrested - they weren’t sheltered from the horrors of this situation due to their age.

Obviously though you know your son best and if its more likely to cause him harm than good.

Hmmmm88 Mon 01-Jun-20 11:05:20

I watched American history x there's violence but it was such an eye opener. I watched it age 14ish with my brothers

GigiLamour Mon 01-Jun-20 11:06:04

I have a 15yo DS with ASD; I am white but he is mixed race.

I feel like I ought to have some pearls of wisdom to contribute here, but I don't think I do!

What we have done is teach him over the years about the historical context - the way people of colour have been treated over the years, the disadvantages they have had, the hangover from that in the attitudes of many people today (even unconsciously). Obviously it is very complex. Statistics may help.

It's a bit similar to teaching him (and my daughter) about sexism.

helloagainmyfriend Mon 01-Jun-20 11:08:05

yes he knows about slavery and segregation and about apartheid but I think his ASD hinders him as he sees that as then and now as things being ok as its not so obvious as 'whites only' places.

these links and suggestions are very good, he is very bright and will hopefully take it on if I can explain it properly and these will help a lot

OP’s posts: |
FreeKitties Mon 01-Jun-20 11:20:26

Sometimes we try too hard to hammer messages home and the point ends up being missed - don’t go for the ‘shocking and brutal’ films as they will more than likely just unsettle him , start small- watch the fresh prince of bell air with him and use that as a spring board- why was it unusual to see a successful black families (the banks and their friends) portrayed on tv, what do the characters (particularly Phil and Vivian) tell us about life in the 70s for black people in America? and what about in the 90s when Will and Carlton get arrested for driving a flash car ? And what about today - does that still happen?

The Help is a good film to give some historical context as well.

Lessons don’t need to shocked into us, sometimes we need to connect with a story in order to further our understanding.

14yearsandcounting Mon 01-Jun-20 11:33:16

I’ve been having this very conversation with my children this week. I remember during black history month a few years ago trading about the importance of positive media, books, tv shows films etc written produced and directed by POC. I try to ensure that the books we read are diverse and speak about the difficult questions that come up instead of shying away from them because they are uncomfortable. More then anything I want my children to see and recognise racism so that they are able stand up against it. It’s not comfortable and it’s difficult because as a white women I will never understand but I can bring up children who are anti racist.

14yearsandcounting Mon 01-Jun-20 11:35:15

*Anti racism

Brutalhonestybrigade Mon 01-Jun-20 11:36:00

Show him some illustrations

theproudgeek Mon 01-Jun-20 11:40:01

Hoping this link works
It is to a blog post by author John Scalzi, explaining white male privilege in terms of video games, so if your son is into gaming it may explain it in terms he recognises.

Lweji Mon 01-Jun-20 11:42:07

If you can access it there's a more current series called Black-ish.
It's comedy, but it addresses many issues.
I've saved one in which the dad realised that male privilege was similar to white privilege.
It might be better than Fresh Prince because it's very much current and deals with current affairs too. I think there's an episode about taking the knee, and another on the talk that every black parent has to have with (mainly) their black children.

It's funny but also done very sensitively.

areyoubeingserviced Mon 01-Jun-20 11:44:00

@FreeKitties- I like that approach.
I used that approach to teach my fourteen year old white son about white privilege.

AllTheUserNamesAreTaken Mon 01-Jun-20 11:44:14

Please don’t let him watch American History X. The violence in it is pretty awful and it’s one of those films which still makes me uncomfortable when I think of it (because of the nature of the violence) many many years later and I was 18 when I watched it

PicsInRed Mon 01-Jun-20 11:46:34

and what about in the 90s when Will and Carlton get arrested for driving a flash car?

That was an excellent episode.

IPityThePontipines Mon 01-Jun-20 11:49:24

What country are you in? Because if he is sat in the UK, talking about US history and social structures may not make sense to him.

So if you are in the UK, talking about colonialism and slavery and taking it from there may be a better starting point. Then move on to the events like the Bristol Bus Boycott of 1963 and that these are in living memory.

If he likes sports, particularly football you can talk about the early experiences of black footballers and that they still sometimes face racism now.

I don't know how aware he is of his ASD, but that people with LDs and BAME people disproportionately suffer poor outcomes in custodial settings may be some way of discussing that racial inequality is a modern issue. It may not happen as openly in the UK as it does elsewhere but it is very real.

FreeKitties Mon 01-Jun-20 11:49:34

Fair point Lewji !

It has only really just occurred to me that Fresh Prince was made over 25 years ago! (I’m sure that’s some sort of time lord trickery !!)

mbosnz Mon 01-Jun-20 11:49:45

The Hate You Give is aimed at teens and is a real eye opener.

focuspuller Mon 01-Jun-20 12:05:06

Short but covers various types of privilege in a visual way:

Londonmummy66 Mon 01-Jun-20 12:26:11

It might be easier to tackle the issue indirectly given the ASD. This is a very good book on institutional sexism that is quite factual and so he might find slightly easier to get his head around and then you could widen it out to institutional racism.

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