I read a news article a while back about race. Even Babies Discriminate (Newsweek; September 5, 2009.) Read it, its a really good article.
"We all want our children to be unintimidated by differences and have the social skills necessary for a diverse world. The question is, do we make it worse, or do we make it better, by calling attention to race?"
I know that I am guilty of what the article talks about. I have shushed my children when they talked about someone with a different skin color. I have glossed over it, thinking that by ignoring skin color I was teaching them that there is not a difference. Instead am I harming them? I remember clearly, when Rhayn was young, she told me that "those people (pointing to a group of African-Americans on TV) say 'yo"." That is what she had picked up from television, it was how she distinguished between them and us. Instead of have a frank discussion with her about race at that point, I swept it under the rug.
I am trying to find ways to explain race to my kids, luckily for me (and all the the United States of America) we have a president whose very being opens us to these discussions. We see his picture on everything and every time, it is a segue into a discussion that yes, his skin is a different color than ours, but he is just like us. Maybe they will understand equality better than we do, and that makes the future shine brightly.
And of course an obligatory link to Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" Speech because I listened to this on NPR this afternoon and it was what sparked this post. Listen to it, and feel yourself be inspired to talk to your children.