It’s Time to Question White Parenting and Nurturing Skills

Is there a connection to White parenting and nurturing and White nationalism? This essay explores the connection between violent White men and White parenting, and questions why there are so few studies on the topic.

It’s Time to Question White Parenting and Nurturing Skills
Source: Unsplash/The Honest Company

America’s Obsession With Black Parenting

Most people don’t understand the racist roots of the child welfare system, and how these racist systems have unfairly examined the parenting and nurturing skills of Black parents without giving White parenting and nurturing the same scrutiny. With the rise in mass killings at the hands of young White men and renewal of overt White Supremacy and Nationalism, I began to wonder about the pathology of the perpetrators and wanted to review any research the government has conducted on these subjects. I had questions about the roles parenting and nurturing played in the lives of these troubled individuals, or if there are some genetic defects that lead to this obsession with violence we are the beneficiaries of. I could barely find anything on either subject. We have the pathology of good and troubled Black kids down to a science, but we are left to guess the pathology of troubled, murderous White kids.

Can we question the role White parents play in White Nationalism and White Supremacy found in young White men? I think it’s a fair question that doesn’t get asked enough. White parents get off with a press release from their family attorneys when their kids shoot up schools or kill innocent victims in the Walmart, then disappear into the sunset. There is no expectation for White parents to explain their child’s actions, nor are there solutions provided for how they coud have done a better job, lived somewhere different, or not had children at all. The parenting double standard is noticeable.

In America, the White racial majority created the rules and laws that make up our child-welfare system, and because they made it, it’s racist (shocking). Institutional racism and class warfare has created an over-representation of Black children in the U.S. child welfare system according to research conducted by Robert B. Hill, a Senior Researcher at Westat, a research firm in Rockville, Maryland. The bottom line of a thesis is it that decision-making processes stem from systemic discrimination in child welfare and is a major contributor to the disparate representation of black children. Child welfare is all about Black children. America doesn’t appear to care about the well-being of White children, nor does America appear to believe White upper-middle class and wealthy White parents have problems with parenting and nurturing despite the number of White children engaging in domestic terrorism. Our child welfare system is overtly racist and has been for decades.

In America, we place twice as many Blacks children in foster care compared to Whites, despite there being more Whites (60.4%) in America than Blacks (13.4%) according to the most recent Census data. America has always kept a close eye on Blacks and our child rearing, which is fine, except the roving eyes of the government doesn’t keep the same close eye on the parenting and child rearing of Whites. How is it that the child welfare system resembles the demographic composition of the prison system? I frequently wonder why there has been so little focus on the parenting and nurturing of White men and women, especially with the rise in angry White men storming around, the increase of young White kids shooting up communities nationally, and the rise in overt White Supremacy/Nationalism.

With all the violence we see today from White people, surely there must be a breakdown in the White family structure too these days, right?

Why Aren’t White Parenting and Nurturing Questioned?

Every time a White kid kills his/her entire family, kills innocent people in a church or at the Walmart, rapes women or girls and gets off Scott-free, or kills their classmates at middle class and upper middle-class high schools, why aren’t the parenting skills of those parents ever called into question? Why is it we have all kinds of flawed pathology for poor single Black parents, but none for White parents? How is it American communities miss the red flags of White kids and adults, but have red flags of Black kids down to such a science we have school-to-prison pipelines for them?

Racism is the only explanation parenting and nurturing skills of White parents, especially middle-class and wealthy parents, aren’t called into question or even considered as a potential problem when White children commit violent crimes or behave in a manner that harms their communities or society.

Let me just say it. White people have a difficult time seeing the flaws in themselves, let alone acknowledging them. Anytime there is any negative critique of anything regarding Whiteness, it gets defensive, it fights, it deflects, it gives itself passes and, these days it immediately makes excuses for the behavior (i.e. blaming mental illness).

It’s time for America to examine the pathology of violence in White kids, in particular White men. Why are White boys and White men so easily provoked to violence? What makes some of them so fragile and easily frazzled? Why are so many White male youth and White men so angry? Are White mothers less nurturing than other ethnic groups with less violence? Is nurturing being confused with provisions? Why are White men and boys so easily influenced to join gangs (White people like to call their gangs White Nationalist groups)? Why do violent White youth have so little regard for human life? Was it something in the home? Is it genetic? Does a lack of access to community supports play a role? Are drug and alcohol use during pregnancy for White moms factors in this rise in angry White people roaming around the earth terrorizing people?

Are White parents getting their children the help they insist other groups receive, or do they sweep family/child issues under the rug, pretending their kids are normal? Is there a family history of violence or substance abuse? Are educational attainment or income factors? Is it an individual or societal problem? Are there plans to confirm or dispel manufactured video game and mental illness myths? The current narrative portrays White parents as “good” parents, “better” parents, and the gold-standard role model for other parents (i.e. Black parents). We deem all White kids “good” kids just because they are White.

Except that’s not really the truth.

Rich White kids swear in front of adults, their parents, in school in front of their teachers, and out in public in front of strangers. It’s considered kid stuff when privileged White kids misbehave, but seen as disrespectful and intolerable when Black kids do it. White kids smoke pot, pop mollies, and consume their parents opioids in high school, but no drug dogs are walking around in upper middle class and wealthy private/Christian schools. They don’t have D.A.R.E or other drug demand reduction programs in their schools. Only Black kids and poor kids are “need” of those services, except that’s not true either. There is an opioid crisis in the White community. White kids and their parents need treatment and Narcan, not prevention and parenting guidance. There are no questions about White parenting and White households.

Misbehaving Black children don’t get second changes, they get shuffled into school-to-prison pipelines. White kids get breaks, expunged/sealed criminal records, second chances which lead to eventual Supreme Court appointments, and can even be the President of the United States.

If White parents are putting my life in danger by failing to raise and nurture children who will be decent, respectful, global citizens I need to know. My life is depending on it.

We Need Answers

I need to know how to protect my children and grandchildren from physical, verbal, emotional, or mental harm that will surely come at the hands of Whiteness, in particular, White men. I need to teach my grandsons about how White Supremacy works and prepare them for the violence they may experience at the hands of their prospective White male classmates. I want to know if White children aren’t getting the nurturing they deserve which is leading to this uptick in unhappiness, despair, and fascination with killing strangers they don’t know so perhaps my kid could be a friend instead of being seen as the enemy. I want to know if I need to fear young White men when I fish, shop, sit down in Black and Brown space, if I’m at a concert, shopping for my groceries, or dining with friends after work.

Are White young men and boys being raised properly? Do Black and White families have different morals and values? If not, which are considered American and what needs to happen in parenting and nurturing so we all can parent children who grow into people who care more, act and not wait, resist violence, and who will see all humans as an equal? If I raise my children the same way as White parents, will my grandchildren receive the same treatment/benefits? Are White parents teaching their kids the same rules we teach/learn in our Black homes? Why is it so difficult for White people to understand equity?

These questions are important for Black people if we are to live, work, shop, and congregate in the same communities as White people. Just like Whiteness has issues with coming to non-white, “high-crime” areas, as a Black woman, I am having problems going any place where my life or the life of my family members and friends could be at risk in White spaces. I’m starting to look at young White boys and girls differently these days, and that’s a shame. I don’t see them as innocent little lambs like White parents view their own Whiteness. I fear them, for they will grow up to become future gatekeepers of White spaces, apathetic and indifferent to the suffering of others, difficult to hear, death to the cries of others, oppressors and squashers of opportunities of otherness, racist, believers in and supporters of inequity, good people who commit racist acts, and some will become violent racists because history shows us that’s what they are likely to grow up to become.

If White men are being taught from an early age to walk around angry, that it’s okay to start shit, bully people, then hide behind their Second Amendment rights with big guns to cover their fragility, and come to work to kill me one day because of a lack of parental guidance, then I need to understand this pathology so I can plan my life accordingly.

As we question this new wave in White Supremacy and violence at the hands of White men, we also need to question the parenting and nurturing of White males in White families. If White mothers need better parenting skills, coping skills, nurturing skills or services and support to help them with what sons with emotional and mental impairments, then let’s help them help us all. We need to demand our government studies White people the same way they’ve studied African Americans and other groups they’ve labeled problems, perceived as inferior, or seen a dangerous threat to their democracy. White rage is a threat to democracy and if poor parenting and a lack of nurturing are the causes, we need to address it immediately. Sometimes bad trees bear bad fruit, but they don’t have to bear bad fruit forever.

If White parents are raising their kids to disrespect People of Color and Blacks, not nurturing their kids creating an inability to connect with others in their orbit, or if White Privilege given to children too soon will be bad for my health, I would like studies to advise the public. White rage and White Nationalism should be a child welfare issue. If White parents are living in communities that enable and cultivate hate towards racial minority groups, let’s talk about it. It’s becoming a public health issue. If White parents are raising children with superiority and imperialism complexes, let’s study it and correct it.

Nothing will ever change if we don’t get to the root of White Supremacy. Is the problem too much unrestricted and unsupervised time on the internet and mobile devices for upper-middle-class and wealthy kids? Well, let’s call it out. They shouldn’t get free passes for raising violent children. White people are programming White kids to be racist using tech, and the best filter to prevent misinformation is the parental control.

We shouldn’t have double-standards for poor kids, middle-class kids, and rich kids. We also have double parenting standards for Whites and Blacks. Hold us all to the same standards and using the same metrics. America should judge, correct, and punish all of the nation’s children the same way, but she doesn’t because race matters. It always matters.

If parents have a problem saying no or understanding how their lax parenting is harming the nation, well, let’s study and address it. Murderous young White males and the older White men unable to control their angry come from some place, they don’t just wake up and decide to kill one day. These people lack discipline, self-control, self-regulation, and empathy. None of us are born with these characteristics. We get these life skills from good, nurturing parents. If these skills aren’t being taught by White parents, then it’s time to address it.

Extensive empirical evidence has shown time and time again the importance of parenting in children’s social, emotional, and behavioral development. Aspects of parental control, including discipline, monitoring, and autonomy granting, in addition to parent behaviors, including warmth, acceptance, and responsiveness are predictors of children’s adjustment (e.g., Frick 1994; Loeber and Stouthamer-Loeber 1986; Maccoby 2000; McLeod et al. 2007).

If the parenting of White parents is contributing to this new wave of deadly violence in America, we need to know about, talk about it, and fix it. It’s unfair our federal government has spent billions of dollars and millions of hours studying the pathology of poor performing/troubled Black males, but won’t do the same for troubled White boys and men. See the hypocrisy?

The fact our government won’t conduct such studies is explicitly biased, racist, and sends the message to White parents there are no flaws in their parenting skills. It is highly possible the White rage, White anger, White hostility, and violence at the hands of White men we are experiencing these days stems from poor parenting.

Let’s talk about it.

© 2019 Marley K. All rights reserved.