Being a mom of 4 wonderful children, we are bound to have the racism talk at some point. I opt for when my children are old enough to understand and evidently my son was ready yesterday! We were out at Golden Corral for my daughter’s birthday and we were all eating and having a great time. It was my Mother, my daughter, her husband, my adorable granddaughter’s, my son’s and myself all sitting at the table. It was a beautiful meal, and my daughter who is 6 months pregnant with my soon to be newest grandson was craving Golden Corral. Now, I should let you in on the fact that my beautiful princess’s and my soon to be handsome little prince are all bi-racial. Now with that being said, I can continue on with my enlightening meal that brought me to this post.
The adults were all talking and of course my son had to tell me something, so I was half listening to him and half listening to the adult conversation. Well…until I heard my son say “This colored person can not date or marry this color person.” and my head did a 360 and I said “excuse me” to my son. Now, my kids KNOW…When mom says “Excuse me” it’s not a good idea to repeat it, although my youngest hasn’t seemed to catch onto that fact as of yet. So he went to repeat what he said, and I stopped him. I asked my son “Where did you hear that?” and my son replied “my friend said it to me mom.” Of course my Son-In-Law got quiet and my son was looking at me for answers as to why I was not happy with his answer to my question. I stated to my son that we would be discussing the topic when we got home. I smiled at my Son-In-Law who was still feeling uncomfortable, thanks to my son’s topic of conversation.
We finished our meal as if nothing had been said and we did not let it damper the family being together. When we left in the car, I got everyone inside and put my seatbelt on. I had been wondering what I was going to say to my son, so that he would understand this is not acceptable in our home! I have had this conversation with each of my children but this conversation with my son was a little more touchy then the others. He grasps things a little different then my other children. So when we arrived at home, I sat him down for our talk.
I asked him if he remembered which of his friends made this statement. He could not remember, which it really didn’t matter but I like to be more aware of who I am watching his interaction with.
We first discussed how bringing up that topic in a restaurant is not the appropriate place for this kind of discussion as well as other things that are not a topic for restaurants. We have covered this before, and will continue as new topics come up.
I looked at my son and asked if he understood what his friend was saying when he said that “this color doesn’t date this color person.” of course my son said “no, I don’t understand why they would say that.” He continued with my sister dates my brother (in law) and they have babies. So I don’t understand. He continued with “I love my little princess’s” (My granddaughter’s). “Mom, can you explain it to me?”
I had this whirling in my head since it came out of my son’s mouth at the restaurant. So I said “Yes, I can explain it to you.” I said to my son “Some people judge other people on the color of their skin, others judge people by their actions and what they do and say.” We do not judge people by the color of their skin, if we were all born with no skin, no hair, or other defining characters, we would all be the same on the outside. On the inside we all have the same organs, and are built the same way.” So we choose to ignore the color of someone’s skin, we are all the same, and we are all built the same.”
I asked my son ” Do your friends all have ears, eyes, noses, and all the same things as you?” of course I should have saw the wheels turning and he said “Well, boys and girls have different parts!” I looked at him laughed and said “That’s a talk for another day!” LOL I said “Other then that does everyone have the same bodies inside and out?” My son thought about it for a moment “Yes, they do, we are all the same” I looked at my son and said “So if we are all the same other then the color of our skin, does that really make a difference?” He looked at me and said “No, it doesn’t make a difference.”
I then asked my son “If a friend pushes you off your bike over and over again, do you want to continue to play with them?” He said “No, they are trying to hurt me.” I then asked him “If your friend helps you learn to ride your bike, helps you pick up your toys after playing and does nice things, do you continue to play with them?” He smiled and said “Yes, those are the kinds of friends I like.”
“Then you are judging people on their actions, and this is the tool that I would rather you use” to decide in life who people are and if you should keep them in your life. “Those who hurt you or others are people that you want to avoid.” The people who help others and think of others first are the ones you hold close to you and surround yourself with.” “They will bring you far in life and will help you to be a good person as well.” The color of a person’s skin is just that a color, what they do and what they say is who they are and those are the things you watch and look for. My son thought for a moment and said “Your so right mom, I have a lot of really good friends and I have some that I stay away from because of how they act.” “I don’t want to act like them so I play with my nice friends” I said to my son “You keep doing that and you will go far with a lot of wonderful people around you!”
I finished the conversation with “Everyone is allowed to have their own opinions, and you may not always agree with them.” “The child who said this to you, that “Certain colored people do not date or marry other color people” have an opinion because of their parents or someone said it to them.” They are just repeating what they heard, they may not always feel this way but we do need to respect that they have an opinion even if we do not agree with it.
I can say that I’m fine with people having an opinion about any topic, however, there are still certain words, phrases, and sentences that if said around my children will bring out the “Mama Bear” in me. It has on many occasions, and I do expect people to respect my point of view as I respect theirs rights to express their opinion. I also want my children to grow up knowing that the color of someone’s skin does not define who they are. It is just a color, their actions define who they are and if they should be included in your life. I want my children to decide on each individual not a race. Then decide who should be in their lives, who they should date or marry, and who should be there for every wonderful event in their lives. I feel this is a much more beneficial way to live their lives. If they judged on a race, they would be missing out on meeting some very amazing people, some that could enrich their lives in so many ways. I want my children to except every color of the rainbow, and accept people for who they are.