Wednesday, February 17, 2010

black history month

february. black history month. welcome to it. Jen at Diagnosis:urine has a kid who is struggling with what its all about. kids don't understand, white kids, that is. and by white, i mean, caucasian, not minority... or as my four year old says, 'shiny'. Of course they don't understand it. DO YOU? How can it be that our founders based their economy/society on the existence of human slaves? how could this have been ? How could these purportedly 'christian' /religious people have so neglected a basic tenet of humanity, as far as i am concerned... (if you talk to me about the fools in Texas, I will get myself a gun. don't. ) in that, no one is less, we are all equal in our struggles, our glories, etc., all children of God.

too bad people still don't think that. lets not kid ourselves, the president aside, things are only spottily different. c'mon, we've just changed the rules of acceptability/accountability/public performance.

HOWEVER adult we are, our kids are not. If our American 'history' were more widely spread throughout the year, as in, included in education in a rightful way, maybe it wouldn't be so tricky... the explanations wouldn't stick out like a weird thumb in the wrong place.

My family is mixed race. I am not, straight up honk here... My extended family is all colors. My kids know that anyone can marry anyone and produce kids of any color. still, not me, not my kids. My neighborhood is mixed up. My kid's school isn't mixed up racially but is wildly diverse in class and economic ability/background as well as nationality. His next school will be very different again...

i'm glad we live here for that reason, although it is more concerning to me that race is the only diversity in my particular neighborhood, across the board everyone is the same class and education level and thats where i have a problem with seeing my kids in this system. It is a struggle, not because my kids are so high class (snort) but because it is so monotonous...

of course our kids try it out, distancing themselves is part of the game of growing up... its the example of the parents in thought, word and deed, the discussions when the kids DO say the things we don't want them to say about race and color and all that... that'll fix it... until they have their own life experience to work through, their own interpretations of our American history, the difficulty of prejudice and overcoming it when there isn't any life experience....
saying is not the same as thinking, but it is the first step.
also: it is different for kids to make statements that we don't like, 'i don't like chinese people. etc' than it is to use slurs. I think trying to figure out how to separate individuals from their easiest-pick-it heritage is a long process. slurs they have heard from people who have already made up their minds and have decided not to use them. that is unacceptable.. and different from kids trying to figure out the world of adults. its truly crazy and often unacceptable, right ?
My son has begun using the term 'three eyes' as a slur. I know it may seem as if I am being glib or overreactive but its all about tone and his is wrong. I do not know where 'three eyes' has emerged from, what it refers to- but it is used precisely as you would 'idiot' or 'four-eyes' or 'fatgirl' or any of the nonracial things you can think of right now in a hot second.
We have the same conversations about meanness and bullying about 'three-eyes' as we would about choosing friends on their skin. its stupid and mean and is what bullies do.


Viv said...

My son's favorite swear word is 'pickle' and he uses it just like I would douche bag. Sadly, it makes me laugh...not so he can hear me, but, trust me, I'm rolling on the inside.

Jen said...

You know, I am so dumb because my boys think a bully is the worst thing ever. If I just tell my racist son that deciding not to like someone because of how they look makes him a bully, that will totally sink in!!!!

I love you guys for talking about this with me and posting about it and helping me.