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Special K talks about Racism

Special K has a strange understanding of race. We don't tend to talk about race much, more ethnicities, because she's a multi-racial child and those around here tend to be also. When we attended my brother's wedding, she suddenly started talking about her "black friend." I got all worried. What kind of message was I sending my child that this was the way she referred to people? But C asked her "Who's your black friend, honey?" "Eliot." she responded. Eliot is a blond, blue-eyed child who wore black that day.

Yesterday we went to the Stanford museum and saw a photo of the Klu Klux Klan. "Who are those people?" she asked. I said "They're bad people who dress up in white masks and white hats to try scare people, because they think that looking white makes them better than anybody else." She said "I don't think they're better than anybody else."

An angry young black girl according to Special K's definition

Comments

( 11 notes — Leave a note )
sunyata__
Jul. 24th, 2006 11:55 pm (UTC)
"Who's your black friend, honey?" "Eliot." she responded. Eliot is a blond, blue-eyed child who wore black that day.

HAHA! That's totally something I would have done at that age.
waterowl
Jul. 28th, 2006 08:54 pm (UTC)
I bet you have many 'black' friends now. LOL
rfrancis
Jul. 25th, 2006 12:40 am (UTC)
elthar and I both have stories about our kids and the "black friend" similarly. Always a hoot.
waterowl
Jul. 28th, 2006 08:54 pm (UTC)
Cool! Glad we're in good company.
poets_hand
Jul. 25th, 2006 01:42 am (UTC)
Her "black friend" story is very funny. My husband has curly black hair from his Irish side of the family. He's also losing his hair. Emily had a little multi-racial girl in her class with short, curly black hair. She came home and excitedly told me that there's a girl in her class with curly black hair "just like Daddy's but without the hole in the middle." :o)

My husband and I disagree on the "bad people" thing. I say there are no bad people, just people who are angry and confused. I don't want the kids to be afraid of "bad people." Fred disagrees. He says that there *are* bad people in the world, and that the kids should watch out for them. I don't think either of us is right or wrong, just different.
waterowl
Jul. 28th, 2006 08:56 pm (UTC)
Interesting. I agree with Fred. I think there are bad people. I'm afraid of them and I don't want my kids near them. Fortunately there are few of them. Mass murderers, and Cheney come to mind.
charlottesmom
Jul. 26th, 2006 02:44 pm (UTC)
Special K has a strange understanding of race.

It sounds to me that Special K's understanding of race demonstrates that most racialy determined perceptions are cultural constructs, not innate or natural ways of thinking. It is a refreshing reminder that no one is necessarily better than anybody else.

Thanks so much for sharing.
waterowl
Jul. 28th, 2006 09:10 pm (UTC)
Well yes and no. Just as I think it's silly to deny that the men and women are biologically different, I think it's silly to deny there are races, or whatever you want to call, specific genetic characteristics that tend to cluster together. There are slight differences in biology beyond gradiences in skin color. However we're far more than our biology. I think the main ways race is interesting or natural is in medicine. Even in anthropology and archaelogy, people are discovering that people are more interbred than previously thought.
charlottesmom
Jul. 29th, 2006 02:10 am (UTC)
Ah ha. Yes, I agree. What I'm focusing on is how we perceive those differences, how we judge what is different from us. I believe that those judgments and perceptions are largely (not completely, but largely) culturally and contextually determined. Sorry if I wasn't clear!
jennyrob
Jul. 27th, 2006 04:43 am (UTC)
Sam made me proud once when he referred to an African-American character in a cartoon as "the one with the glasses."

But, really, using skin tone to identify people isn't any worse than using the length of their hair. It's just an attribute. I've seen people go through all kinds of verbal gymnastics trying to point out someone without mentioning their race, when their race would be an instant identifier. It's pretty sad that we seem to have no language to describe race that's acceptable to some people.
waterowl
Jul. 28th, 2006 09:14 pm (UTC)
I would agree with that. However I would also argue that using race as a sole identifier is troubling. It would be like identifying someone as 'the woman'. That means either it's so remarkable to encounter someone of that race, or the person can only think of that person as their race which is arguably racist.
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