i) There is frequently one normative narrative that occurs around the topic of race. This normative narrative is that children are innocent, and that they do not see colour. This is demonstrated throughout the self stories about race written by Andrea P, Sara T, and myself. In all three of the self stories we all had different experiences, yet they were all very similar. As stated in Sara’s self story “[w]e are all the same, I never knew there was a difference”. This speaks to the childhood innocence I discussed in my self story when I stated that “prior to this I did not recognize the different skin colours within my own family.” Children recognize the subtle differences in skin colour, although I believe this occurs subconsciously. Children must be taught to treat those with different skin colour then themselves differently.
The idea that children do not understand the complexity of the significance that skin colour bares on ones status in society, is perfectly demonstrated in Andrea’s self story when she says “in México, everyone has mixed skin colour, but the darker the skin, the more you can get racialized or bullied as a kid or even as an adult.” In Andrea’s story her father racialized her best friend because she had darker skin. Andrea did not even take into consideration the colour of the girls skin, when she decided they would be friends, she decided purely on the fact that the girl was nice to her. This continues to prove the point that “children do not see colour”. Obviously children can see the difference in skin colour, although that does not effect how they treat that person unless they have been taught to treat that person differently. Children are innocent, until they are taught differently. I believe all three of these three self stories share the same normative narrative about race.
ii) Sean after reading the story Sean shared about his encounter with race in his family, I started to see similarities between our two stories. Even though our stories are drastically different both still challenge the same common normative narratives about race in Canada. Some of the similarities between our stories are that we both have family members who have different skin colour then us, our family members faced diversity and racism growing up, and until we were told otherwise we were unaware of the differences between skin colour. Sean says in his self story that “television would have shown me that people with different skin colour existed, although perhaps I did not notice or care.” (Sean, 2018) As children grow up they develop mannerisms from those they see around them. Children pick up on the slightest differences of body language. As they see the differences of how adults interact with people of different races they start to see differences of how to act. Children will treat everyone the same, until they are shown that you can treat others differently.
For those who did not read the article Parents angry Montreal Teachers Wore Headdresses on 1st day of School this article was about how some teachers at a school in Montreal made a poor decision of wearing headdresses, and using headdresses in a way of helping students identify which class they would be in. I feel that the teachers had the right idea of trying to incorporate Indigenous culture into the classroom right from the first day of school, although I do believe that the teachers had poor follow through of their idea. “[I] felt kind of awful telling my nervous kids about how disrespectful it was, all the while hoping they like their new school!” (Enos, 2016) This quote helps reinforce how children are a clean slate. In this quote if the children had not been told that this was an inappropriate activity, the children would not have known any better. I am by no means saying not to educate your children, it is a crucial aspect of raising kids. Although this just goes to show how you choose to explain complicated topics, such as race, effects how your children grow up and who they become.
There are plenty of normative narratives that surround race. The only way to change these normative narratives are to effect change in the next generation. As educators we need to teach children, that yes everyone is equal, that skin colour does not matter, and slowly the normative narratives will change.