This morning a friend mentioned how her child would describe other students in his class. He described them by their qualities as a person, not based on their physical appearance. She was so proud of him, as she should be! Really, the kudos goes to her.
Her son doesn’t see a person for their skin color because she doesn’t. This is a learned behavior. Most people would say that they are not racist or bigots. They don’t support discrimination of people on the big levels (slavery, segregation, etc) but when it comes down to it they are socially segregating people.
A few years back a friend was telling me about her Ladies Trip to Vegas.
“We were all dancing and then this black guy came up and started dancing with us…” the story went on but I honestly don’t remember it. I just kept waiting for the part in her story that made his blackness relevant.
It’s become a hobby of sorts for me. When anyone mentions the race, sexuality, body of a person, I wait to see if mentioning “a fat lady” or “this gay guy” was relevant. It very often isn’t. That sort of thinking, the categorizing, is a problem. Our children pick up on it and it creates division. It may seem a small thing but it makes a huge impact on how they relate to others in society, separating themselves based on their appearances.
When In Kindergaten, Buddy brought home a worksheet on the letter G. He was supposed to draw pictures of things that started with the letter G. He drew grapes, a thing that he later explained was a goat, and a black man. I couldn’t think of any black men we knew who’s name started with the letter G and so I asked, “son, who is this black man?”
“Well, first of all he’s not black. He’s brown,” Duh. I know my colors. “And he’s not a man. He’s God.”
“Oh! I love that! What makes you think that God is bla..er…brown?”
“I don’t really remember Him that well before he put me in your belly. I just laid there a lot with my eyes closed…” and Buddy laid on the ground, arms wide spread, eyes closed and a dopey grin. “But I know He was brown.”
I really hope He is! I love imagining certain people arriving in heaven to be brought to the throne room and…
“So, I died. I go to heaven and this black guy…”