Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Out of the mouths of babes.

My daughter 'graduated' from second grade today. It was a lovely occasion. As I sat with the other parents at the poolside graduation party we reminisced about the school year that had just ended. As we chatted, one of the children-the only black person in the class-was reprimanded by the lifeguard. One of the parents shrugged his shoulders and said, "I knew it would Samuel who got into trouble-you know how these people are."

These people? Just who were these people? Were 'these people' black people? Were they young people? Were they boy people? Second grade people? Or people not like him? More importantly how did we get from one kid's behavior to these people?

I was horrified by his statement and his attitude and I contemplated ignoring him-after all, I was enjoying a rare afternoon out of the office. But I knew that I couldn't. I don't think we can pick and choose when and if we are going to fight racism. We either do it-or we don't. So, I did-and it felt good.

Later, when my daughter got in the car she said to me, "I liked the way you stood up for Samuel. It made me sure that you would stick up for me-you know that I am a person of color, too."

I learned a great lesson today. You can talk about the issues like racism, but it doesn't count until your kid sees or hears you take a stand against racist behavior.

Today I put my money where my mouth is....and I hit the jackpot.

What would you have done?

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