Racial differences means different, doesn't it? Something that is divisible by socially constructed invisible lines? But what if they are something that can unite us instead of divide us?
A friend of mine posted this blogger's post on her Facebook timeline.
"Honestly, Sometimes I'm Uncomfortable With My Children Making White Friends" By Romper
As a friend would, I read it. Of course, me being here and mentioning it means I definitely have a few responses to it. The amazing part is the article by Romper was very well written and I do support what she is saying because, unfortunately, we live in a country where we have to think about these things because of social constructs. Yet, I also have issues with it. Why? Because we are and should be more united than we are in the differences.
#1 She is Right-- DIFFERENCES is What Makes Us Amazing
I love that without saying it (but saying it) that she is honest that we can't ignore that someone is Black, White, Asian, Latino, LGBT, etc.
The fact that she has to bring this up is very discouraging to me. We live in 2017, not 1825.
Why can't get past the biased natures we have and get back to embracing of our differences in totality?
I can't tell you how many videos of a few "white people" who angrily tell a Mexican-American, or African-American, to go back to where they came from. It infuriates me like no idea. My head gets hot and I get pissed.
If we are going to try to stake claim on whose country this is, all I want to say "those people" is a) do your history and b) how long is your ancestry here?
The very person, that being Trump, that has given "those people" permission to be so vile and hateful has only been in this country as a few generations ago and his wife is first generation. So the very person who is giving you permission has less ties to this country that those that were enslaved here when this country was first founded. So spare me, go pack your bags if you are so unhappy and you can join Trump and go back where you came from because they were here FIRST!
All most people want is unity and to live together in harmony. Why do a good chunk of people have to (try to) ruin that?
#2 Being Mixed Means Embracing ALL of who One is
She brought up that her kids are mixed. I love that she was SO honest about it. Honestly and truly. Because it shows that she has clearly thought about this post before writing it. She has experience with both cultures and she is not trying to throw aside that her children are half white, half black.
The same is true for a child who has "the whole rainbow" in their family. I don't like saying it that way because I know it may come off as trying to diminish the differences and roll them into one. But it's the only way to think of to explain.
A rainbow is many vibrant colours that ALL stand out but yet they join to form one of the most beautiful things nature has to offer... a rainbow. (And most kids favourite colour.)
For example, my family, mine personally, I have the rainbow and I am darn proud of it! I have Japanese, Black, Mexican, White, Jewish, Native American, LGBT, and I am sure more, in my family. You may not see it looking at my picture, but that is a family I take incredibly great pride in and I love them to the moon and back! What a blessing I have.
But it sickens me to be honest with you that we can't even embrace that either. Someone is going to try to make you choose or if they don't they will speak as if there are two different "yous".
#3 I am Afraid this "THOUGHT" will FURTHER the DIVIDE
She says that she vets parents out, especially the white ones, to be sure that they are okay with her being Black and that they won't try to whitewash the fact that her and her children's skin colour is different than hers. Before you get mad, think about it. She actually has to vet someone because she has experienced some very real racist things that have happened to her and her children.
The fact that she has to "vet" out potential play dates is so heart wrenching to me. This should be a non issue in 2017.
What I mean by that the thought furthers the divide, is that while I see why she does it, it furthers the divide and the mentality of the "us" versus "them". I don't think she means to come off that way and I see why she does it. So to me, I want to be her friend and have play dates together so she can see that there are "white" people who are educating their kids to be world citizens and do love them for ALL of who they are.
I posted a little more than a year ago about the 5 Reasons the Race Question is a Toxic Crisis! Yet here I am again, writing, defending her, and also saying this is very toxic to begin with because we are more alike than we will ever know and yet our differences in culture, faith, social, economical can be so much more a strength and we have capitalised on it's weakness'. Being different is beautiful!
I once had a friend, who is African American, say on a FB live when talking about race, that she knows me and loves me because I don't shy away from these issues. That she can talk to me truly about anything.
THAT IS THE WAY IT SUPPOSE TO BE!
I live in Washington DC where there is a huge mix of race and in that the city has it's own tensions as a city. Some of them, I am not going to lie, are around race. It translates into many different ways. It can be the accessibility of housing. It can be the fact that while MySchoolDC does the DC lottery to try to make sure kids from poorer neighbourhoods have access to all schools, it isn't fool proof and the issues translate into the schools sometimes. It can be the fact that what is even more scary is people (of all walks of life) walking around unknowingly furthering these stereotypical barriers that don't need to exist.
If we want to break the thought pattern and divisive nature, we have to become more acutely aware and more open to change-- all of us. Being defensive or attacking are both wrong when trying to meet in the middle. You can't shake some one's hand with both hands tied behind your back.
Let it go and be open to positive change. Embrace who everyone is!
#4 We as PARENTS, no matter their colour, should be TEACHING UNITY & DIFFERENCES
This could be religion, ethnicity, class, etc. Why are we pushing the problem outwards instead of inwards?
If my child says anything that is remotely out of place, I am for sure going to pull them aside, and have a very real talk with them. I have zero tolerance from anybody, but especially my kids, in terms of not being real with people and not seeing them for their whole self and celebrating that.
Why in the world do parents think it is remotely okay to either shelter their kid from racial issues or to pretend like their kid could do no wrong? They are just innocently asking a question, you may say. The problem isn't as much the question that people see but the way it is responded to. That is, that as parents, when they ask those questions, it is our responses that define both relationships with others but also how they view the world.
If we teach our children that they can do no wrong or that we let the societal pressures get to us about not parenting them with a strong moral compass, then we have seriously done a deep harm not only to our children but to our country and world. We are becoming more world citizens as time goes on. We can't ignore this. In being afraid to raise a child in the right way, we are doing by far more harm to our children and teaching them that they are better than others because we are afraid to correct them for their errors.
When you think about it that way, don't you see how millions of children will grow to become entitled adults who don't foster the growth, love, unity that our country so desperately needs?
It is our parental DUTY to teach our children to genuinely appreciate the differences we all have and to foster that- and to love others and any neighbour (metaphorically speaking) as we would ourselves.
#5 Differences is What Makes Our World So Amazing
No rain drop or snow flake (real snowflake, not the new terminology for it) is the same. It can't be. Flowers are different. The colours of the rainbow are different.
If we would stop just for a minute, and see the world around us, we would see how differences brighten our experiences. I think that is all the author wants too. I could be wrong, but I read it as she just wants her and her children's ethnicity embraced as part of them and who they are. Not put aside in a prescribed box.
If we were all the same, it would be a very dull, unpleasant, world. A Brave New World. Which is not brave at all; if you have read the book you know what I am talking about. It is a world in which we are plucked from a societal standard and want from one group rather than embracing what nature and the divine have brought us to do.
Socially and culturally, we have seen through time how things like this are perpetuated through a system of hierarchy for either social or economical gains and at what extent or price to the world as a whole?
What is the historical context for this and how is it applied to today?
I read this book in college, yes another book (ha), called King Leopold's Ghost. And it is is a book that will forevermore make me uncomfortable. And it's such a good reminder in that uncomfortable place of the intentions that our ancestors set in the past that still affect today and we need to change that. Simply by being loving and open. In "King Leopold's Ghost" all these countries look at the country of Africa as a piece of pie to be claimed and taken. When it wasn't theirs to begin with. We aren't even talking about when America was even around as a country but way before that.
How does that translate to today?
Seeing that there is western chains (stores) taking over other parts of the world while not allowing the local economy, artists, bakers, farmers, etc etc, to thrive. I have no problem with chains going over but once Starbucks takes out a local company, I have issues.
The reason for that being, and the point in all this, is that it takes local culture and says it's not an economic benefit to their own space and culture or to the world. And that is simply untrue.
I love LOVE, L.O.V.E. seeing other cultural practises and their food, and their people. Because often, they have so much to teach us if we are OPEN with LOVE to listening.
I don't want everything the same. I want everyone to be who they are and to preserve the cultures that we have in us and around us. It is our duty, even if it is not our own, to preserve it. It's called being a world citizen. (Duh!)
#6 When we set a high standard for our children in not just tolerance but love of all, everyone wins!
This is not a question up for debate. It is the darn truth. And if you can't read that in all I have written, I am sorry. No, I am not for writing it or for feeling that we need to stop and take a deep breath.
When we set high standards for our children, not to just "tolerate" others because of laws, but to actually stop and see them as family, then we will ALL THRIVE.
I cringe and want to cry to think that this is an issue still today. Why, why, why, why, why?!
Why, the question, isn't going to get us anywhere if we aren't ready and willing to change it.
I see many are ready, now it is the time to change it.
Remember, how we took history in high school so "history wouldn't repeat itself?" Where do you think that starts? At home!
If you are going to try to make this better, do something. Start by embracing when your child wants to be friends with someone that is different than them. Be honest about the differences. It could be a learning disability. It can be the colour of their skin. It can be their religion.
And here one way of how you do it: (constantly, not a one time practice)
First, meditate and be honest with yourself with prejudices you grew up with-- and hint, we all have something.
Second, release the many years of cultural imprints that have made you the way you are and release unhealthy patterns.
Third, See everyone with love as if they are not only your neighbour, but your blood (relative) and are family.
Four, Be honest with your kids in an impartial way, about the differences. Think of it, if you have to, in a scientific way when explaining to your kid and do so with compassion.
You can point back to this genealogy project called The Genographic Project by National Geographic, which is one of many to make a human history map. The point of this project was to point back to the fact that all our ancestors go back to one tribe in Africa. When you go to this tribe, you will see all races in their faces because we all originate from the same place.
So when you hate on your neighbour, you are completely hating on yourself. These videos from Momondo "Let's Open Our World" Project show how we are some times the things we never imagined or even one in which we were conditioned to hate. And Carlos is a prime example, of how some of us, have everything in our blood. In the end, we are mostly all stemmed back genetically to our first Ancestors in Africa.
Jay is a great example of how the very people he despises, is where he comes from.
Auriele is an example of how she is not who she thought she was at all.
Carlos is a great example of the whole world.
So, YOU are the world, and the WORLD exists in you. You no long have an excuse to not embrace the differences and similarities in others with anything but love!