Sorry folks. This one is a slight bit of a rant. I’m sure it is going to rub some of you the wrong way, and for that, I apologize. But I need to write about something we’ve been experiencing and find a bit frustrating.
‘A’ is ten years old. As it is, he has always had some anger issues that he’s had to deal with. From his point of view, the only real emotion that is acceptable is anger because anger does not show weakness. I get it. Don’t like it but I get it. We have been working with him for some time time on this by showing him that a range of emotions is acceptable and teaching him that he will be much happier once he learns to be in touch with all of his emotions. And that yes, anger IS an emotion and it’s totally allowable if channeled correctly (also that we all can do better on channeling it in the right ways).
Having said the above, he has had problems with a particular girl in school who is constantly making fun of him for two things:
1. That he does not live at home with his biological family and
2. That her mom says that black kids belong with black families
Now, there are some studies that do show that kids who grow up in environments where they don’t feel “different” is healthier. Kids are smart and observant. Even if they come to us not paying any attention to skin color, at some point, they WILL ask the questions as to why they’re different and they WILL have to reconcile that. And while we, as humans, value our individuality, we also really like to value our similarities. Nothing can be more glaring to a child, difference-wise, than our physical appearance; specifically skin color.
But that’s not where the comments from this girl are coming from. These comments are coming from a place of hate, racism and bullying. And by the way, it’s not “reverse racism.” It is simply racism. Period. End of story.
Jessica heard the above quote directly from the girl in question when she explained, for about the 10th time, that families come in all shapes and sizes. “Well, my mom says that black kids belong with black families.”
I am SO thankful that Jessica was the one that dealt with her because, in my opinion, her response was perfect and mine would have been far less so. Jessica simply said, “well, if that’s the way your mom feels about it, tell her she should foster.”
So, beyond the obvious, here is the reason for my rant and it’s directed to the parents: Sending your kids to school with comments like this is detrimental not only to your child but to the child you’re supposedly trying to help by making such comments. Poor ‘A’ sometimes comes home more confused than ever. You can tell. He is frustrated because he does not know how to deal with this one girl and, I suspect, he’s heard similar comments from others at times. While our channels of dialogue have improved significantly since they came to live with us, this confusion and button pushing is not at all helpful to anyone. If you have a problem with the family of one color at your school fostering the kids of another color then step up your game. Make a difference in your community. Foster and/or adopt. Because everything else is just a big gigantic plate of twaddle fried up and served.
My dad sent me this article this morning about why Milwaukee is so bad for black people and I just want to say that THIS is exactly WHY we moved to Milwaukee. Our friends and many others have thought we were crazy to move here, and reading the article, things sure do seem hopeless. Frankly, I’ve had the thought that we were crazy, too. Although seeing how things have changed just in the past few months, I feel it far less often. But the real truth is they’re only hopeless if people only complain and choose not to step up and make a difference. We can see that we’re making the difference in the lives of three children right now (with hopefully some more in the near future). And while that may seem like a drop in the bucket, it is STILL something.
So in conclusion:
- Parents, watch what you say to your kids. They DO bring it to school and it IS hurtful to others. Furthermore, it may actually be detrimental to YOUR personal cause.
- If you’re not going to do something about it, stop complaining. You’re only making it harder on the people that ARE trying to do something and you’re setting a poor example (and btw, this is something I need to work on for myself as I am not completely innocent on this).
- Racism is racism.
“I am only one, but still, I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. And, because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do what I can.”