Sunday, March 25, 2012

Race Revisited

I've had a lot on my mind lately.
Right in the wake of the Travyon Martin atrocity, Million experienced his first "attack" from two little boys, age 3 and 5 in a public play area.
They started shoving him and told him he was stinky and that no one wanted to play with him.

You're probably assuming these were little Caucasian boys.
They weren't.
They were little African American boys, who saw my more fair-skinned brown boy walk in with a white mother, and likely assumed (like many strangers do) that I procreated with an African American or African man.

The little boys' father had vacated the play area for a few minutes, and as soon as he returned, they acted like nothing had happened.

Fortunately, Million isn't old enough to understand anything that they said.  He thought they were just rough-housing with him, and he was delighted to interact with some older boys.

Even when I think about it now, about three days later, I can't think of an appropriate response to a 3-year-old and a 5-year-old.  They weren't spouting racial terminology.  However, the way they interacted with other children left no doubt in my mind that it was a racially motivated spurning.   Another Caucasian father saw the event and encouraged his little daughter to play with Million, and the boys were soon forgotten temporarily in Million's mind.

Million has remembered one of the boys and mentioned him several times, and each time he's mentioned the boy I've told him that the boy must have been very sad and that sad people hurt other people or make fun of them.

I've been reading the Sneetches book with him and some books (Who Took The Farmers Hat? and Eric Carle's Little Cloud, and It Looked Like Spilt Milk) about how peoples' perceptions of things can be very different, and I've been telling him about how he has beautiful brown skin and I have creamy white skin.

He hears his "story" many times (although admittedly right now he's only looking forward to the "and little Million got to ride on one, two, THREE airplanes!" part.)

I have no resolution to this.  I'm sad to chronicle it so early in his life, but not altogether surprised.
Michael works in a city where there is a large population of Somalians.  I'm only mentioning it because when we spend time with Ethiopian friends here, there is almost invariably always a reference of hatred towards Somalians.  I had much expected something like THAT to be Million's first non-white racial event.

 I felt it was okay to post this, because I'm not posting out of anger at the little boys---more sadness and heart-sickness than anything.  It's so sad that those little boys likely have experienced the very kind of events they caused for my son.  It's sad that they live in a world where people can't (or choose not to) see the beauty of each individual unique creation of God's.  It's sad that they are not old enough or are not given the tools to express their hurt appropriately.  So I have had a lot on my mind.  When I have a lot on my mind, this blog gets left in the dust, for fear of over-processing or saying something in the "heat of the moment" that perhaps didn't need to be said. 

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