The other day Riley came up to me and said "Mommy brown" pointing to my skin. I asked her what color she was and she said "Riley tan. I asked her what color daddy was, she said "Daddy pink" :) I've written before how we don't talk about color in our home, at least not yet. There's no need because at home we're simply a family. It's so different when we leave our home though...
I roll my eyes when parents say they're teaching their kids to be "color-blind" and they accept everyone. To me thats simply ignoring the fact that there are other types of people out there besides your own. Being color-blind in theory sounds good, but what good does it do a child if they never learn about other cultures or learn that there are other ethnicities besides their own. Other cultures should be respected, the person as a whole should be accepted. Colors and all.
Today I experienced a bit of racism. I'm still in shock and a little frustrated. Not frustrated because of the situation but my friends responses. I made the "mistake" of posting this in my status:
"This man just parked next to me, looked over at me then backed up and parked in another spot. One of the reasons I hate Chilis"
People responded of course, some just being surprised a person would do that, others defending Chilis, and then in a way defending the man. They knew what I was getting at but its hard for people, especially here in California to grasp that there are still people that are going to dislike others because of their color. Even if they have a black person telling them about different experiences they laugh it off nervously, making excuses or even sometimes calling you "too sensitive". Thankfully no one did this but people offered suggestions like "Oh its because you're a woman driver" (which in itself would have also made me upset... ;) Or maybe I did something to offend him, all joking of course. Yes, I did offend him, by being black. I got fed up because people either weren't taking it seriously or they were making terrible excuses. I don't blow up on facebook because its a waste of time, but when people I consider friends make jokes or defend someone who was doing something to spite me, I think I need to say something.
I can't describe the feeling when someone looks at you with such disgust and you begin to feel as if you don't belong there (And as Leif said, I didn't. We hate Chilis, haha.). I think what made me really upset was the fact that my children were with me. They don't understand now but one day they'll ask me. I don't want to hear someone tell me about how far we've come, believe me I'm aware. But are you aware of how far we need to go? Its sad but whats sadder is the fact that people deny that there are others out there that are still racist. Even here in California. I just got off the phone with my mom and she had to give me some tough love. I cried. Because there will be more experiences like this, and not just for me but my kids. That kills me.
I try not to talk about race because it makes people nervous. It used to make me nervous and I avoided it and stuck to me "only white friends". I'm a bit embarrassed about that time in my life, I was basically in denial. I know that a lot of my friends are too, despite the fact that here I am, living proof of certain things. I don't want to change anyone, but I would like people to be aware. The older I get the more I notice things and the more passionate I become. My children should not have to grow up surrounded by ignorant people, who will dislike them simply because they're brown. Its part of life though and the best I can do is prepare my kids. God made us this way and I never want my children to be ashamed, but to celebrate who they are.