Friday, December 19, 2008

Color Conscious children


"Mom, I get the feeling that other people don’t want me over their house”--son
“Hmmm, well why do you think this is so”? --mom
“Because I am different.”--son
"Different how"?--mom
"Because I am black".--son

This broke my heart to hear this from my child. And even though this was something he consciously became aware of, I think I tried to explain to my son that it was not true. I did not raise my son to be conscious of this. We have had friendships of other nationalities. And my closest friend is of a different ethnic group. I did not know why my son felt this way. I was not aware of these feelings. But I never told him or confirmed what he felt was true. I wanted him know the world from his eyes and not from mine. And maybe somehow my child did see from mine. I do know that my child is left feeling alone when he shows up at a friend’s house to see if he can come out and there is one excuse after another.

I don’t think we know what we do to innocent children.

We moved out here into a neighborhood that was extremely diverse. And even though one ethnic group did not appear to dominate another in our neighborhood, we were the minority. My son has been attending one of the best schools he has ever attended. He loved school and could not understand why other kids at his school didn’t enjoy school as much as he did. He had been trying so hard to overly achieve. There have been times he would beat himself up for not doing better academically. He has been involved in most of school’s activities but still it’s not enough. Maybe I have not been doing more? Who knows.

He got over the feeling of being different for a little while until the first snow day. My son called one of his best friends and asked if he was coming out. In the background he hears voices that told his friend to lie about not being able to come out. His friend returned to the phone with an answer about his mom not wanting anymore children over.
My son hung up the phone and I could see an overwhelming feeling of hurt on his face. He would not tell me what was wrong or what happened at first. I could not understand why. But as a result he was confused and very hurt.

I really thought that we would be ok. I thought that giving him a really good education took prominence.
But how could my son focus on his education when he knows he is different. Is he left to prove to others that he really is the same? Should he be left with this task?

African Americans are left with constantly trying to prove to the rest of the world that they are the same. They have the same worries, the same joys as anyone else. We are left to overachieve to have the same as any individual.
So is there still a race problem?

My annoyance is those who feel that it no longer exists. My annoyance is those that feel “Now we voted for a black man, so racism is over”.
My annoyance is those who fail to open their eyes to other issues and other problems.

Take a city for example like Chicago which is known to be extremely segregated versus a more integrated place like San Francisco. Would Chicago have the same issues as San Francisco? I am not saying that San Francisco does not have issues; I am saying that we only see our own issues and we only acknowledge the issues we are confronted with and weigh one problem as being heavier than the other.

Our children exemplify the problems that still exist. And my heart is crying out for us to recognize these issues as one people and work together as women, as both women and men, as parents, as a family as Americans.


Previous Comments on Old site>>

Comment by deatrice on December 21, 2008 at 10:30pm
Delete Comment I feel his hurt, because it is very difficult to deal with being rejected when you have done nothing wrong. But it is only through love that he will experience healing. Remind him of how special he is and the contribution he makes in your life, mom. We must continue to model how we would want our child to respond to this experience. This is an opportunity for us to grow in love for humanity and their weaknesses.

Deatrice
Julene Comment by Julene on December 20, 2008 at 7:50pm
Delete Comment Thanks Cheryl,

what a great message.
Cheryl Comment by Cheryl on December 20, 2008 at 6:48pm
Delete Comment Linda,

I am sorry that your son had to experience this and be made to feel that he was different. Remind him that through God, we are created equal and no man, woman or child can change that. It is through generational curses that divisons are created.


Have A Blessed Holiday Season,


Cheryl


P.S. Please tell your son to continue to be the best he can be, for he is accountable for his actions only and not the actions of others.
Julene Comment by Julene on December 20, 2008 at 11:26am
Delete Comment LLinda, thanks for that. What an awesome message. And Ken, I totally agree!
LLinda S Droge-Blauwkamp Comment by LLinda S Droge-Blauwkamp on December 20, 2008 at 10:59am
Delete Comment Kids come from families. Kids mimic what they see and they are innocent enough to see the heart and know what they can "get away with" because it is modeled to them. Adults are very blind to what they are modeling just as children who grow up with "blind" parents are blind to their behavior. We all are blind in some way or another. Our children can help us see our own blindness. White, black, rich, poor, etc. are only parts of a same continuum. You cannot have poor if you don't have rich, you cannot have black if you do not have white. They each come from a similar place. They are the surface. If we do not consciously as adults begin to understand the very structure which creates the abuse of difference we can do nothing about (skin color) and avoids thinking about the difference we can do something about (poverty), our children will continue to suffer and will either grow in character or grow characterless. You thought an education would help your child be equal, many think the same way. Others think police, courts, judges and jails are a solution. Our children and adolescence are a mirror to us adults for what is wrong in our system. Children feel the pain and the joy. A child needs to learn his joy depends on him or her not on others and she needs to learn that he is responsible for his own joy. Learning to surround your life with others who give one joy and learning how to give joy to those who are "blind" takes the strength and understanding of those around us. Adults who will wake up and work to solve the problems, not sit by and let a child figure it out alone are the ones whoteach real change.. Figure it out together. This is the best way to educate our children. Our children are our teachers and together we can learn how to solve a social problem. We all need to take responsibility to face the blind spots together. Suffering makes us ask questions. Pain can be turned to joy. Our focus is continually turned towards. racism, sexism, etc. so we avoid the real problem. Why the disparaty in being able to have a life of freedom of choice (liberty) and happiness? The Obama presidency gives us the people a chance to work with an administration to create real change. We are not victims. We are the people, of the people, by the people, and for the people. Who has the courage to bring real change? What is real character?
Ken Comment by Ken on December 19, 2008 at 10:48pm
Delete Comment Sometimes kids will pick on the most obvious difference when they are angry like a big nose or size and race. It doesn't mean it's in their heart. He may not know it but whatever he suffers now will build his character for later.