Sunday, January 17, 2010

About the Peacemaker

So this is a conversation overheard on Friday morning by GEW and Hubby as Boy and Girl struck out on their own in the house after they woke up at six a.m. (I have no idea why they chose not to roust us, but they settled on an independent survivor-ish approach to the morning, so we just eavesdropped from our bed). This particular bit took place when they were in the bathroom, contemplating brushing their teeth:

Boy: Hey, did you know that today is the birthday of a peacemaker?

Girl: No.

Boy: It is. Yeah. So, see, there are people with brown skin. Do you have any friends with brown skin?

Girl: Ummmm . . . . no.

Boy: Oh! Well, when you grow up, you can have friends with brown skin! I have friends with brown skin. They're called Black people.*

Girl: Oh.

Boy: Yeah. And a long time ago, they weren't allow to do things. And back then, T. and E. wouldn't have been able to come to our house for dinner.**

Girl: Oh.

Boy: Yeah. White people--like us, we're white people--put up signs against people with brown skin. Black people couldn't go to the park. Doesn't that sound so mean?

Girl: Yeah! So mean!


Girl: Let's not brush our teeth right now.

Boy: Okay. Let's go get some cereal.

*Actually, most of the Boy's brown-skinned friends are Latino or Latina. But, I suppose that's a mere technicality when you're focused on peacemaking.
**T. and E. are friends of our who are Italian.

The Boy has been talking a lot about the Peacemaker whose birthday we are celebrating. He even brought home a little book from school called, "Our Friend, Martin." And I have felt pretty comfortable talking about all of this with him after reading a chapter in the book Nurtureshock called "Why White Parents Don't Talk About Race." Seems the research says it's much more effective to discuss the details than to allow abstractions to rule the day.

Whether or not I facilitate these conversations effectively (when I'm there to facilitate them at all), I sure love seeing the Boy impassioned by the celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr. I can't wait until he can read "Letter from Birmingham Jail."


Anonymous said...

that's a gazillion degrees of awesome right there!

TKW said...

You should be so proud.

suzicate said...

It's so awesome to be able to eavesdrop on their little conversations and learn they're such good little people.

Ink said...

Two thumbs up!!! Love it. And am posting something on my blog about Eldest that's similar.

We think alike!!! ;)

loveskidlit said...

Love listening to the pitter patter of learned feet around the house after they have elected not to involve us!

Daughter must have gotten the same booklet from school. As hubby was about to step on it (accidentally) she threw herself under his foot to pick it up and brandish it: No! Dad! This is a famous person!

(I'm impressed your 2 were even contemplating brushing their teeth without prompting, irrespective of the outcome...!)

Contemporary Troubadour said...

So terrific!! I'm with everyone else above. Boy and Girl are amazing. Clearly they've got awesome role models :)

The Steel Magnolia said...

I sure wish I had a time machine so that I could go back and be childhood friends with your children. Oh, the discord it would have saved me to be around people with some common sense about race! But that's what I get for staying in the South all my life . . . .
Sounds like you're doing a good job (on behalf of a brown/Black person!).