"I look forward confidently to the day when all who work for a living will be one with no thought to their separateness as Negroes, Jews, Italians or any other distinctions. This will be the day when we bring into full realization the American dream — a dream yet unfulfilled. A dream of equality of opportunity, of privilege and property widely distributed; a dream of a land where men will not take necessities from the many to give luxuries to the few; a dream of a land where men will not argue that the color of a man’s skin determines the content of his character; a dream of a nation where all our gifts and resources are held not for ourselves alone, but as instruments of service for the rest of humanity; the dream of a country where every man will respect the dignity and worth of the human personality." – Martin Luther King, Jr.
I wonder if my daughter is racist.
I have no reason to suspect she is. I am just wondering in general. From what I know she grew up in a predominately white middle to upper class town. Her college website states that 21-26% of the student body are â€œpersons of colorâ€.
I am just like, you know, wondering. Her pictures on facebook and flickr reflect predominately white friends . I also have reason to believe that her parents may be slightly racist. What are her views? We confirmed years ago with are both liberal, agnostic, democrats. I don’t recall ever discussing racism.
I am thinking of this because last night my oldest son and I had this conversation.
â€œI almost got into a fight today, Ma. I really wanted to beat a kid upâ€ says Nikolas.
â€œOh?â€ I try to respond with very little shock even though I am a bit shocked. My son has never had a school fight. I donâ€™t think he has even hit his brother. He is a very even keeled child, very much a pacifist. I am surprised by the â€œbeat a kid upâ€ comment.
â€œYeah, someone was really mean to my friend Keevon.â€ He continues.
â€œWhat happened?â€ I inquire.
â€œWell, Keevon and I were at lunch, and this new kid, I donâ€™t remember his name, was looking for a place to sit. One of the teachers told the kid to sit down next to Keevon who was sitting next to me.â€ he answers.
â€œUh, huh..and?â€ I ask.
â€œWell, the kid did not look happy but he sat down next to Keevon and then said, really mean, to Keevon, I donâ€™t want to sit next to you because you are black. You are black and nasty. â€ my son reports.
I gasp. What the hell? Who is this kid? I think I want to beat him up too!
â€œWhat did Keevon say or do?â€ I ask.
â€œHe did nothing Mom. He just turned the other way, looked down and started talking to me. But I know his feelings were hurt.â€ notes my darling son.
â€œWow. Thatâ€™s rough. Did you tell a teacher or something? What would they tell you in I/I? How should you handle that?â€ I ask.
I/I is his inter/intra-personal skills class which is taught as part of the standard curriculum in a Gardner school. The I/I class teaches children to be â€œself smart and people smartâ€. They often discuss ethics, problem solving, social values and attitudes.
â€œWell, I am not going to be friends with that kid. I donâ€™t know who he is and I donâ€™t want to know. I heard he came from a boarding school. I bet they threw him out. I am also going to tell Mrs. D about it. Maybe we can discuss it in I/I class. But I donâ€™t want to embarrass Keevon. We are reading this book right now about two girls, a white girl and a black girl who live next door to each other but their moms wonâ€™t let them be friends so they talk to each other through a fence. That kid being mean to Keevon kinda reminded me of the moms in that bookâ€ he says as he looks away.
â€œI think that sounds like a good plan. You are a good friend to Keevonâ€ I say.
He smiles at me.
â€œOh, and I love you. You are a great kid. I am proud to be your Momâ€ I say.