Podcast Review: Nice White Parents
by Grace H. Brown
"Nice White Parents" is a five-part podcast series which chronicles building a better public school system and the many factors preventing that progress. The series examines what is "arguably the most powerful force:" the unwitting role of white parents in shaping and perpetuating inequalities in our public schools. Focused on the case study of public schools in New York City over several decades, the series details the missteps and microaggressions of "nice" white parents to improve local schools which result in real harm to the school system and its students.
Can you share a quote from the podcast that was meaningful to you?
The tail end of the entire series really left me in an emotional state in its prompt for action over apathy: "Nice white parents can't grab every advantage for our own children and also maintain our identities as good citizens who believe in equitable schools. The shame is telling us we have a choice. We can choose to hoard resources and segregate ourselves and flee the moment things feel uncomfortable. Or we can choose to be the people we say we are. But we can't have both. We can choose to remember the goal of public schools is not to cater only to us, to keep us happy, but to serve every child. We've never had that school system. But we could. We could demand it. We might not. But we should know it's within our power to help create it."
What was a new thought or a key takeaway?
A key takeaway for me is that I have a lot of "not knowing." The podcast says it is akin to "parents wielding their power without even noticing, like a guy wandering through a crowded store with a huge backpack, knocking things over every time he turns." I really take to heart the harmful consequences of my "not knowing." My desire is to not knock things over, but build things up. I pray for God's wisdom to discern the difference in whatever I say or do.
What action will you take as a result of reading this book?
I am rethinking my advocacy efforts in my own children's schools and how I might use my time and efforts more effectively and wisely on behalf of all children. I admit that I, too, have catered education to advantage my own children. I'm guilty of impeding progress for others. I'm really working through these difficult emotions and unknowing insidious past choices I've made. I recently went to a PTSA meeting and started to look at things in a new way and ask better questions (I hope). I will continue this journey in new direction. I'm thankful for what God has revealed to me lately in what I don't know, where I need to grow, and the steps of turning in new directions and moving forward.