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    Would love to hear if others have had similar experiences and how they have handled them.

    We have always found that women's history month or black history month (for example) are frustrating concepts for my fairness and justice focused PG 9 year old son. He will challenge and question teachers directly, which obviously can be an issue for a white male child to do on these topics.

    While we have spent significant time on the concept of privilege, the challenge seems to be that in his lifetime, particularly his educational lifetime, he has experienced the world post-2020 and sees the perspective of everyone other than white males being emphasized and celebrated vs the wider context of white privilege that we are trying to explain to him.

    I am not trying to have a political discussion, but really want to understand if anyone has found approaches or resources to explain these concepts to a child who doesn't see it in his world, or more generally, has had a similar experience with their elementary aged PG child.

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    Welcome, SR! Sorry no one seems to have seen this post earlier...

    I have not had this exact experience among my progeny, but have with some of my students over the years. Often, personal experience is actually outweighing rational analysis (as it does with most adults!). I've heard complaints that this specific other student did or was xyz, and received abc disparate treatment (perceived to be preferential), accompanied by attempts to "get" school authority through confrontation or entrapment. It does not appear that your DC is on that track, for which I am thankful!

    Unfortunately, many adults presenting equity perspectives either do not have a strong grasp of the data and logic behind them, or deemphasize them in favor of relational, empathetic approaches (nothing wrong with those intrinsically, of course, but they don't communicate equally effectively to all listeners, nor are they a complete picture). Consequently, when your DC challenges them on the reasoning, they are ill-equipped to respond to his satisfaction.

    My suggestion would be to look at some data on metrics regarding disproportionality in schools (which is where he spends most of his time right now) or other aspects of society. You know your child best, so you will have a better idea of what kind of data might feel most relevant to him. But if you do a quick google search for say, racial disproportionality in school discipline, and focus on broadly reputable sources, like IES (Institute of Education Sciences: https://ies.ed.gov), NIMH or NIH, quite a bit of scholarly work should come up about the differences in how schools perceive objectively identical behavior by poverty and race, how they discipline it, and what the long-term consequences to the children involved are on multiple dimensions (access to instruction, grades, dropout, etc--all previously linked to probability of imprisonment, lifetime earnings, and death). You may find that bringing these data to his attention will direct his fairness/justice-seeking differently. Though he may start calling his teachers out on disparate treatment of students in another way...plenty of school personnel (and other humans) articulate equity-inspired ideas, but practice otherwise.

    Politics has to do with how we choose to respond to and shape the society we live in. These are simply observations about that world.


    ...pronounced like the long vowel and first letter of the alphabet...
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    Welcome!
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    Gifted children are known for having a high level of moral sensitivity.
    Here is a link to one of many articles on the topic: https://www.sengifted.org/post/silverman-moralsensitivity

    At 9 years old, I would encourage your son to save his questions for discussion at home.

    One idea for home discussion may be to present concepts by analogy:
    - golf "handicap"
    - standing on various steps of a stepstool or stepladder to reach the height needed to see over a fence
    - using a scale, placing an object on it, then re-calibrating it's weight to zero (for example, to measure contents of package, without the weight of the packaging)

    Layered upon that, one could discuss:
    - whether the golf "handicap" is current and valid
    - whether a person's height indicated they had outgrown their assigned step on the stepstool or stepladder
    - whether the packaging weight is consistent, or whether the amount of weight attributed to the contents may be inaccurate

    The concepts of mistakes made without sufficient knowledge, wrongdoing when one ought to have known better, taking responsibility for one's actions, apologizing, and forgiveness may also lend perspective and guide his understanding and analysis of situations he may encounter at school or in other circumstances outside of the home.

    When presenting facts from history in the home, one may also want to teach the history of the US Constitution and its amendments. It is still the supreme law of the land, and its 14th amendment contains the "Equal Protections" clause. Under US law, people have been treated as individuals, not as demographic statistical groups; are there signs that the manner is which the law is applied may be changing?

    Considering the concept of ensuring "equal opportunity" as compared and contrasted with ensuring "equal outcomes" might also be discussed alongside finding the strengths in our differences such as height: Being tall is an advantage in basketball... is it an UNFAIR advantage...?

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    Activate the imagination via age appropriate (not traumatizing) stories based on reality. It's like pseudo-life experience. Activates empathy while exploring the opposing perspective. Children are imaginative, particularly gifted children (high Openness in Big 5).

    Son is empathizing while seeing one side, has limited experiences...so get him to empathize with alternative perspectives via pseudo-experiences: stories that place you in their shoes.

    Encourage him to think for himself. Teach him to master his thinking/logic skills, don't try to control his views. It won't work anyway.

    Why is important. "What" and "because I said so" is ineffective on profoundly curious minds. He has to understand reasons, it's not enough for you to. Same goes for understanding the appropriateness of time and place for discussing controversial topics.

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    The other posts are very thoughtful and informed.

    I can relate… one of my sons has asked me why are there so many books about famous women in an exasperated way.

    My boys are also white males… it is an uncomfortable societal situation with a lot of history. My approach so far is to get them informed about differences and history, but knowing that they will continue to be informed about heavier topics as they become adults. Demonstrate to them how to show acceptance and think and behave like an ally.

    My sons and I have worked on some homeschool history curriculum (History Quest) together. It gives a foundation of religions around the world and I’ve witnessed how that has informed their thinking about religion in positive and accepting ways.

    I have a personal interest in disability rights. I have sought out children’s books about disability that have values I want to instill and discuss. We talk about disability and neurodiversity often. I see this come out in positive interactions with others.

    If you have any family members that have first hand experience and can talk to your child that’d be great. For example… my mom was a teen/young adult in the women’s rights era. Her personal experiences make women’s rights feel very real.

    Talk, read, discuss with family and friends who know your son and want to help inform his life view in positive ways.

    Last edited by millersb02; 07/02/24 04:59 AM.

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