Friday, August 23, 2013

Racial Confection

The palpable hiccups in my posting is a direct result of the 3 Ring Circus that is our life. Each child has his own ring, and let me tell you...each act is vastly different. So, being the ring leader gets pretty exhausting! And I still contend it's the older 2 who cause me to crack the proverbial ring leader whip far more than the baby...

...also, as my boys get older, I feel like exploiting their lives is best left on my personal and private Facebook account. (Internet and private. What a joke.) As they start real deal school (one of which was on LOCKDOWN this first week of school due to an area shooter at another elementary school), my promise to them is that I will keep their lives more closely guarded. So the blog will appear as though I am playing favorites with my children. Gus getting top billing. Okay, and a few pictures here and there. And then any vignettes that pop up that I feel appropriate to share.

Like when Felix had me thinking it was time to deconstruct the concept of race with him...


Felix: Mom, a black man gave me candy at school today.
Mom: Really? Did someone come and give all of the kids candy?

Thought process:
  1. Why is he getting candy?
  2. Why is he getting candy from a man? Did someone visit? (There are no male teachers at his school)
  3. Why is he calling said man "black" when race has never seemed to be something he's noticed?
  4. Should I start talking with him about skin color and race more explicitly? I want my children to learn about acceptance and how do I start this conversation? I wasn't prepared today! What do you tell the 3 year old crowd? (That's not a rhetorical question--anyone out there still reading have suggestions of how to talk about race with preschoolers?) Give me a good old conversation about sex and STIs. That I can handle thanks to my public health background.
Felix: No. Just me. I was the only one.
Mom: Ummm, okay. Who was it that gave you candy? What was his name?
Felix: I don't know.
Mom: You don't know? Were you by yourself and why was it just you?

Thought process:
  1. Is he lying? 
  2. Why would he be by himself?
  3. Ali, why did you just throw a double-barreled question at a 3 year old?
Felix: No. I was running errands with [a teacher].


Mom: Ah! Were you in Father "John's" office?  

(I know the children sometimes run special errands with the teacher and go to the administration offices. Context: my children go to childcare at my husband's Catholic high school, and the principal is Father "John"--name changed)

Mom: What color is Fr. "John's" skin?
Felix: His face is white, but his body is all black.

So maybe I need to work on anatomy lessons before I jump into race...

1 comment:

  1. Still love this story as much as the first time I heard it. I didn't realize that area schools were all on lock down, although we did hear the news story up here.
    Should Felix actually bring up the issue of race, you can explain that we all have different color skin, hair, eyes, etc. The helpful thing is that your children are exposed to people of different races in positive roles.