There is always the debate about nature vs. nurture. Is a person born evil or have there been events that caused them to become evil. The one thing we do know is that children are very good at learning. If a child is constantly told they are stupid by their parent, who is pretty much guiding them through life while they still can’t reason on their own, that is what they will believe. Alice in the book Zulus by Percival Everett is constantly reminded that she is fat. Her mother died while Alice was very young and her father later committed suicide. Her grandmother blames her father’s suicide on her. “Alice Achitophel hadn’t liked her grandmother; the old woman had blamed her for son’s death, claiming that her obesity had embarrassed him and driven him to suicide.” pg. 40. Although Alice knew the real reason her father killed himself, I think it still gave her a sense of insecurity and low self-esteem. Hearing some tell me that my parent killed themselves because they were embarrassed by me would definitely destroy my self-esteem. Also in Home by Chloe Ardelia Wofford, Frank’s sister Cee was always put down by her grandmother while her parents were away at work. “Being born in the street–or the gutter, as she usually put it–was prelude to a sinful, worthless life.” Pg 43. This constant reminder of being worthless prevented Cee from reaching her full potential. It was not until she went through a traumatizing experience and learned from the women that helped her heal, that she was able to become strong and independent.
This also got me thinking how exposing a child to racism at a young age could shape their whole future of how they look at people. I personally never had a very diverse community so I never knew about racism. However Avery replied to my first post and said the community she grew up in was very diverse but she was also never exposed to racism (Link). We grew up on totally different environments and never considered racism. “So where does this hate or though that someone is less valued based on their looks come from?” I think it is just based on what children are exposed to from a young age. Teaching a child that someone is worse than them will most likely stick with them for majority of their life. Of course maybe not their whole life, at least until they are able to reason it for themselves but even then there will be some form of bias. Just like anything that we learn wrong for the first time, it is much harder to learn it the right way the second time around. It feels like racism almost becomes heritable. That is why proper parenting is so important. Children need to learn confidence and love for others at a young age because it will shape their whole life.