What ‘white’ means to me:
Snow: I first went skiing when I was a tween and, whilst I wasn’t too sure about it initially, once I’d got into the swing of it I began to love it. I was extremely fortunate to be taken on several skiing holidays to Italy , France, Switzerland and Austria by my parents, went on two school skiing trips and a couple as an adult with friends to Andorra.
Nowadays there is very little chance of seeing a snow-topped peak or a chocolate box Alpine village, but I’m hoping that when the kids are a bit older we might get the chance to introduce them to the joys of hurtling down a slick white mountain on a couple of metal planks – so exhilarating!
White Noise: I never really thought about this until I had a newborn. Its not until you’ve been for a long drive, introduced a dummy, played/sung hours of lullabies, and swung 12 lb of baby and car seat until your arm dropped off (almost) that you would actually consider sitting your child in front of the spin cycle or tuning the radio in to static fuzz. Anything’s worth a try right?
White Lies: We tell them to our children all the time: Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, the Monsters Under The Bed (OK, not that last one!). Is it OK? Some say no, your children will grow up to feel betrayed or worse, they will think its OK to lie. I think the main point here is the adjective ‘white’ is there for a reason – the intent is good, the intent is to create magic, or instil some sort of discipline, or assuage a fear. The ends justify the means.
The colour of my skin: At the age of 21 in my first year at Sussex University I met one of my lifelong best friends who just happens to be a black American. Through getting to know her I found myself one evening attending and ACS (African and Caribbean Society) cultural event and this may have been the first and last time that I have been so aware of being in a racial minority. Whilst there wasn’t any fear or worry in the situation (we were all educated, or wannabe educated young people after all) it gave me the briefest glimpse into that feeling that those of other races must sometimes experience when their whole lives are played out as an ‘ethnic minority’. It’s a sad indictiment on society that despite reaching an era in which a black man can become the president of the USA, in some ways racism is as rife as ever. The best every one of us can do as a a parent is to bring our children up to be ‘colour blind’.