What I Am Learning From My White Grandchildren — Truths About Race

by Tony Peterson

This talk was given at a local TEDx event, produced independently of the TED Conferences. Are we in a post-racial society? Do we want to be? R3 Contributor Anthony (Tony) Peterson, an African American, draws from current research and from conversations with his Anglo American grandchildren to address truths about race in 21st century America.                             

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11 responses to “What I Am Learning From My White Grandchildren — Truths About Race”

  1. I like how the speaker puts race in perspective by talking about melanin. There are no values, muscular differences, or mental abilities correlated with the amount of melanin that a person has. He also comments about how race is connected to bloodlines. However, he states that science has found that there are no pure races.

  2. Great! I like his speech a lot. I like the way he raises a 5 year-old boy thinking about the skin color. It's interesting. He connects the skin color to the truth of the human body which relates to the amount the melanin and blood. However, white people and black people have different talent and special characteristics in life. So, we should not discriminate people because all human being are born to be equal.

  3. I completely agree with the speaker. At a very young age children ask many questions because they simply want to know and learn about things. If we have the "race talk" early on, I wonder how much of an impact that would change our world. Children growing up begin solidifying what they know from what they observe from their parents and learning from mistakes corrected by adults. Even though children will not fully grasp ideas as an adult would, it is important to begin molding their thinking into a positive path of love of all races. I thought it was really interesting to see from an anthropology view on racism. I remember learning in biology that early anthropologist thought that race and skull size was related to intelligence.
    Anna F, 240-02

  4. I found the findings about how people view racism to be interesting, especially the differences between how parents and their children view racism.Parents claimed to teach their children racism is wrong and that race is not be talked about. The children reported that racism is superfluous and that everyone is the same. I wonder if the parents shaped their answers for this interview or their was something lost in translation between the parents and children.

  5. I am really impressed by this TED talk. The speaker's conversation with his grandchildren give me a new opinion about race. I agree with the view that "Race is no real, but it does matter". Also, I realize that the correct way to guide our children is not to stop them from knowing the truth or to avoid them saying something. Silence is not the solution of problems,especially not the solution of racism.

  6. What a great speech. I definitely think if the race talk comes sooner in children, and we explain that there's no difference, the problem of racism can be helped one generation at a time.

  7. Fantastic speech. It's scientific fact that young children's brains are influenced by the things they hear and see at an early age. If we talked to kids about race and how all people should be treated equally no matter the gender or color of their skin, then that may have a profound affect on the next generation.

  8. This was a great speech. To me people aren't born racist. It is something that you have to learn Whether it is from your family or society. . Children are a great example of this. They play with everyone until they are told not to (or some silly childhood squabble). So I feel as though race should be an open dialogue to make sure our children aren't affected by the negative beliefs of certain people in society.

    Cassandra Golden PS-01

  9. This article makes me think of a real world example in which I experienced what the author is describing. Walking along the street behind snowden school, going back to the flatts, I passed the playground during recess. Having just gotten out of class, I was in the midst of pondering racism in America and Ferguson in the wake of the Mike Brown verdict when a white boy who couldn't have been more than 6 made a last second save in a game and grabbed the ball. Instantly, one of his teammates, a little black boy, came running up to him and hugged him shouting "that was awesome I love you!". This moment just reminded me how reasonably children see the world sometimes when compared with adults and made me really appreciate Tony Peterson's point about how it is just melanin in the end.

  10. I think how children understand race can be very telling about how they were raised but also how far we’ve come as a society. This reminds me of conversations with my students and how they realize my skin and hair are different but that we are all the same. it is refreshing and gives me hope. DC PS-01

  11. I remember hearing racist things said in my family as a young girl. (in my case it was often about the Japanese from WW2 vets) Even at a young age I understood it was wrong and couldn't understand why there was so much hate involved. I vowed to make my life different and have tried to do so for my children. Perhaps I need to speak more to my children about these topics because I see now the dnger in not saying negative and assuming that instills positive. I lok forward to seeing our children as parents and grandparents, perhaps by then some of these old generational comments and attitudes will have disappeared.

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