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 12, the 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.”
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.