In White Kids: Growing Up with Privilege in a Racially Divided America, Margaret Hagerman uses two years’ worth of interviews with affluent white parents and their children to explore how white kids learn about race. Through candid conversations with the children, their parents and peers, she examines how children make sense of their privilege and unequal opportunities. The families interviewed may have differing political views, but the author contends their decisions to send their children to private versus public, segregated versus integrated schools has a significant impact on their children’s socialization.
Ultimately, Hagerman reveals how these kids and their families—even the politically progressive ones—contribute to the reproduction of racism. As a private school kid myself, much of Hagerman’s book was eerily familiar. Her analysis of the families’ dialogue and their choices about education helped reframe my experience. It’s a fascinating and unsettling read.
Request this book any month of the year at your local library or bookstore.
Magers & Quinn
3038 Hennepin Ave., Mpls.