This weekend LK had a couple of her dance friends over to play after dancing at the Main Street Festival. As they were playing together, GranGran made an inappropriate comment about one of LK’s friends. LK then said, “That is racist, please don’t say that about my friends.” One of the other little girls then says, “What is a racist?” It almost took my breath away. In a world where we are currently focused on the “black lives matter” movement, I had started to feel like we were going backwards in the race relations movement.
You see, I grew up in a very segregated area/time. Nobody really “claimed it”, but let me tell you, nothing stirred up a round of gossip like a white girl being seen around town with a black boy. Other races weren’t even part of the conversation because there weren’t any of those kind of folks in our parts. Hispanic workers hadn’t yet infiltrated the Western KY workforce when I was growing up. I don’t know that I saw an Indian (country, not reserve) until I was in college, and the only Asians I knew were 2 little girls adopted from China. We were very, very, White. And, ask anybody around you, they were proud of it. I still vividly remember after I had moved to Nashville, the first time an African American male asked me out on a date, I honestly didn’t know what to say. It was the first time I had to make a decision for myself what I felt about it. And, unfortunately, the thought went through my head of having to call my mom and tell her I went out on a date with someone that wasn’t white. And, I knew her response would be, “Honey, be careful, you know you’re setting yourself up to be unequally yoked.” You see, we like to twist the Bible around to justify our ignorance. My momma was one of the kindest, most gentle hearted women you would ever meet. She truly believed what had been taught her. I can assuredly tell you, that the Bible wasn’t talking about people with different skin color being unequally yoked…
One of the most beautiful things that happened in our family was my sister adopting a child from Guatemala. She for sure wasn’t white. And, we love her so very deeply. Because of her dark skin, and us being around her, I chose to educate my kids early on racism and ignorance they may encounter. I still remember the look on LK’s face as I was explaining, there was a difference in their skin color as they were differently nationalities. She kept comparing the skin on their arms and said, “What do you mean she isn’t white like me?” It was beautiful and scary all at the same time. All that is a long story to say even in my own personal family, things have come a long way. And, I felt it was necessary for my kids to know what racism was because they do have friends and family of many races. And, our livelihood depends on Hispanic labor. You want to talk about racism that is alive and well, start talking about all the Hispanics in our area. And, everyone automatically assumes they are illegal monsters here for the sole purpose of taking our jobs. I’ll stay off that soapbox for another day.
But, it isn’t uncommon for the kids in our area to not know what a racist is…. One thing about the area we live in is that we love well. We still live in a predominantly white area, but our kids look into the soul of another person instead of looking at their skin. Both of my kids “inner circle” of close friends include kids of multiple nationalities. So, yes, Black Lives Matter, but so do purple, green, yellow, white and brown. Contrary to what the news media is promoting, most of us aren’t raising little racist bigots. If my kid doesn’t like your kid, it is probably because your kid isn’t a very nice person. I would bet a limb on the fact it has absolutely nothing to do with the color of their skin. It’s a beautiful thing in the world we’re living in to have to explain to a child “What is a racist?” Not because you want them to be one, but because it isn’t even an issue in our daily lives.