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Sunday, January 15, 2012

Dreams Really Do Come True

My boys have been socially active for a couple of years now - playing in parks, eating in restaurants - attending public schools. In the interim, they have never asked to me to explain any racial slur. A far cry from when I was in Kindergarten, when I asked my mother how to respond to people calling me a "Jap". Her answer was, "Call them a spaghetti face."

Now, I may have been green behind the ears when it came to insulting comebacks, but I knew - even then - that it was better to stay quiet than give that as a retort.

Nigger, Chink, Spic, Gook, Mick, Kike were all phrases that were common to me by the time I was done with second grade. My boys - they never heard these terms in use - not even in movies. On occasion I might call them a half-a-cracker but they assume I'm talking about the ones that get crumbled in soup. Besides, how insulting is it to be called a cracker anyway? Guess that's a Southern thing - it's always about food.

But with all seriousness, every year the boys bring home school work and information about Dr. King for M.L.K. day. They read about segregation - I fill in the details and then I comment, "That's fucked up right?" I'd rather not curse, but there's really no other way to say it. To candy coat it would be like saying Hitler really just needed a better barber.

By the time I came around, Dr. King's movement was but a newborn baby. Do I remember every slight? Yes, I remember. Every-single-incident. I was a child learning ABC's, like my kids are learning now. These days, we're concerned with reading levels - back then it was tolerance levels. Even in New York, the most liberal, melting pot mecca of the country - there were lines.

I think about it and wonder how much parents must've worried about sending their children out into the world. Would they return with their innocence intact or would some violation against their humanity force them to grow up early? And that's not even including the pedophile predators or other psychos lurking as well. And what about the generations of parents before them - it wasn't even a worry for them but a fact of life.

At times, I feel that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. knew he would never live to see the fruition of his dream. Children who see character before they see stereotypes. Children who notice all the beautifully variant skin tones rather than just black and white. They appreciate diversity - they're charmed by it, even. Just as Dr. King had dreamed, children on opposite sides - holding hands.

They have evolved...

...to play Angry Birds.

But I'll take it.

Photo taken by my BFF's dad - She's on the right, I'm in the middle

14 comments:

  1. I have a really nice feeling after reading this and what a beautiful picture to cap off this post friend. I always believe that regardless of the color of our skin, shape of our eyes or our religious beliefs, we are just the basically the same, mothers, sisters, brothers, friend, teacher, etc. hoping for the best in this world.

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    1. Amen to that! And I'm sure Pitcher will be happy to see you included her as well.

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  2. This is beautiful. It's is, I think, exactly what Dr. King hoped would happen.

    Even the Angry Birds part;)

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    1. There may have been less protests in the 60's if they had iPads and Angry Birds, don't you think? Thanks for the compliment, mama!

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  3. Beautiful post, beautiful picture. When my (ex) step-son met me he was 3. For MONTHS his mom didn't know I was black (they are black). She just thought I was a green-eyed black girl. When you're little the color of the skin is a non-issue. My Korean cousin, who always knew she was adopted, at the age of 5 proclaimed to my aunt that she had her eyes. Society fucks with them.

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    1. I agree - step children and adopted children must suffer the rudest of rude awakenings. Wish we could all keep that innocence somehow - then again, with bi-racial children increasing, it's a distinct possibility. Thanks so much for visiting.

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  4. That is such an awesome photo!!!!! Love this post- and you're right- the F word is about the only way to describe the ugliness and silliness of bigotry. Great post-

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    1. Thank you for the compliment! Though, I'm sure you must've had your battles, too. Maybe no burning crosses but scars just the same.

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  5. Having spent a large majority of my adult life overseas, I’m exposed to every kind of nationality on earth. And you know what; it’s made me a better, more tolerant individual. Hopefully, my son will grow up color blind, with reference to skin color. Think about it for a moment. If an American and a Canadian both cut their index fingers with a knife, both bleed red blood. When it comes down to it, we’re all basically the same. Except for my wife, that is: She’s the most gorgeous woman to walk the face of the earth!

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    1. Now that comment deserves a "Husband Of The Year Award"! Just can't argue with that - as a matter of fact, I'm going to make my husband read it.

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  6. I was 24 before I heard someone use a racial slur and it blew my mind - seriously, I can't believe there are still people out there doing that! And that photo is beyond adorable. I'm now annoyed my best friend's dad never took cute jumping photos of us!

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  7. Yes, it's been a while since I've heard a racial slur myself. Unless, they've completely changed the slurs around like the English language with emoticons ('?') or they've saved them all for a Tarantino movie.

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  8. Wonderful post, amazing photo, awesome Angry Birds reference.

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    1. Yes, Angry Birds. They should be called Annoying Birds - oh, wait. That's pigeons.

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