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Being12

These days it seems like everyone is talking about race.  After a year of sustained Black Lives Matter rallies in the wake of atrocities committed against unarmed Black Americans, everyone from the president to the folks over at MTV are engaging in conversations about how race still affects us today.

While some find it uncomfortable or confusing to talk about systematic racism, choosing instead to focus on overt acts of hate, the folks over at WNYC interviewed a group of 12-year-olds of various racial and ethnic backgrounds who totally get it.

During the four-minute video, called Being 12the middle-schoolers spoke about their racial identities and how they’ve been treated because of their race.

Eki, who identifies as Nigerian and Haitian, said her family was once made to pay before eating their food in a restaurant because managers feared they’d skip out on the bill. Lamine, who’s Muslim, said he’s afraid police will beat him up because he’s young and Black. A biracial tween named James admitted he’s constantly told he’s not really Black because of his light skin. And Becky, who’s adopted, said people are surprised she doesn’t “talk ghetto.”

Lydia, who’s white, flawlessly broke down white privilege.

“White privilege is the idea that in your everyday life, you’re getting treated differently, and sometimes with more respect, or people just trust you more, or they have certain expectations of you…because you’re white. It makes me feel guilty sometimes for having a privilege I don’t deserve.”

Well, damn.

While many adults have a hard time discussing race, it looks like young people are grappling with the same issues with a lot more success.

Take a look.

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  • lisa

    “White privilege is the idea that in your everyday life, you’re getting treated differently, and SOMETIMES with more respect, or people just trust you more, or they have certain expectations of you…because you’re white. It makes me feel guilty sometimes for having a privilege I don’t deserve.”

    Sometimes…?????
    #gurlbye

    • elle

      Go get some chill. The person who said that was a 12 year old girl. She is allowed to be a child who is still learning about and evolving in her understanding of race. It’s unreasonable to expect a child to grasp the mechanisms of society as fully as you OBVIOUSLY have. (*eye roll)

      Relax, please. Sometimes the comment section on Clutch can be positive.

  • Ann Gomez

    Hmm to me this is kinda of sad, as a black kid of the 90’s I had friends of ever race pretty much. And I learned so much about different clutures. I’m not sure wants going on now but to me it seems like America is going backwards instead of forwards. I really think there’s to much race baiting going on, especially when most kids these days are mixed. It just seems like another part of the liberal agenda, to dived and confuse.

    • elle

      I was with you until “liberal agenda”.

    • Ann Gomez

      I feel like liberals use race base politics as an agenda for votes.

  • These kids are from New York City. New York City has a large amount of cultural and ethnic diversity. There are more than 2 million black people in NYC. The children in the video certainly have shown more honesty and accurate information (about racism, stereotypes, and how they deal with race on an everyday basis) than many adults who talk about race. That’s clear from the words in the video. White privilege, discrimination, racism, and negative plus false stereotypes (these evils must be fought against) exist in NYC and throughout the Earth. We can talk about these things and we desire action taken to solve our problems. We want the system of white supremacy to end. Also, we have to honor the people of the Black African Diaspora. Many kids in that video are members of the Diaspora.

    African Americans, Afro-Caribbeans, Afro-Brazilians, Afro-French, Africans, Afro-British, etc. must express more unity. We are one black people at the end of the day. Also, we have to make social and political policies to address economic inequality and racism in our society. Individually and collectively, the promotion of the Golden Rule is superior to the agenda of hate and bigotry. We have to not only believe in equality. We have to live it every day. Structures of oppression must come down, so human beings (irrespective of their background) can be treated as human beings. We want to experience a society where oppression is defeated and where social justice & economic justice (as advocated by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who died in the midst of fighting for the labor rights of Memphis Sanitation workers) are made real.

  • Delia

    I want him to be mayor one day : )