Campus Reform | Mississippi State prof lectures at Cornell, says collective parenting is ‘better’ than traditional parenting

Mississippi State prof lectures at Cornell, says collective parenting is ‘better’ than traditional parenting

A Mississippi State University professor lectured at Cornell University about her work in determining how White children become racist.

She endorsed a “collective approach to parenting” as “better” than traditional parenting.

The professor’s book, "White Kids: Growing Up with Privilege in a Racially Divided America," explains how White families allegedly foster racism.

Article image

Mississippi State University sociology professor Margaret Hagerman spoke at Cornell University about racial socialization in White families.

According to the Cornell Daily SunHagerman discussed her book, White Kids: Growing Up with Privilege in a Racially Divided Americaduring a lecture in “Controversies about Inequality” — a course offered by Cornell’s Center for the Study of Inequality.

The book attempts to explain how “affluent, White children learn about race.” Through two years of collecting interviews, Hagerman constructs a “clear-eyed and sometimes shocking account of how white kids learn about race” as she considers the role that White families play “in the reproduction of racism and racial inequality in America.”

[RELATED: To fight racism, Cornell renames its English department]

During the talk, Hagerman asserted that the children she studied had a role in developing their own ideas based on their environments. She sought to explain how White families that do not support racial inequality reproduce it anyway.

During the question and answer section of the lecture, Hagerman asserted that one possible solution to socialized racism is a “collective approach to parenting.”

“In moments where there is a choice between advocating for your own kid, try to think about ways to advocate for more than just your kid and think about community,” Hagerman said. “Every community has its differences. Generally speaking, I think a collective approach to parenting is better than an individual one.”

[RELATED: 1619 Project writer Nikole Hannah-Jones says American flag outside childhood home 'embarrassed' her]

Hagerman also explained that she has been “collecting data from kids across racial class lines about how they are thinking about race in the era of Trump.” She was “curious about how kids will be making sense of and processing these explicit forms of racism.”

Campus Reform reached out to Cornell University and Hagerman for comment but neither responded in time for publication. 

Hagerman is not the first to suggest a "collective" parenting approach. 

In 2013, former MSNBC host Melissa Harris-Perry, now a professor at Wake Forest University, said, “We’ve always had kind of a private notion of children. Your kid is yours, and your responsibility. We haven’t had a very collective notion of ‘These are our children.’ So part of it is we have to break through our kind of private idea that ‘kids belong to their parents’ or ‘kids belong to their families,’ and recognize that kids belong to whole communities.” 

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @BenZeisloft