Tuesday, October 25, 2005

A rose by any other name is just a rose...

...unless her name is Rosa. RIP, Rosa Parks.

Lex posted about her life and death today, and followed it up with an interesting article from the Washington Post about Condi (Rice '08!!!). I left a VERY long-winded comment, which I decided to leave here as a post. So here you go:

Racism is a hatred I do not understand. Why should your ethnic background, accent, color of your skin, or shape of your eyes, matter? There’s no reason.

My Dad’s family is from the South- WAY South. Lower Alabama. My Great-Grandpa’s family owned slaves, so I am not ignorant about racism. My Grandmother was born in the old slave quarters. My Dad has a couple of uncles who still use the “n” word. I find it disgusting and unacceptable.

Racism isn’t something you are born with. It’s taught by your parents and other adults around you. I am fortunate to have grown up with parents who did not teach me to become a racist. We are not raising our kids to be racist either.

My son started a new school this year, and about a week into school, he started talking about Tom. Tom this, Tom that. It was so nice to see our son excited about a new friend. They wanted to set up a play date, so I talked to his Mom. She had an obvious Asian accent and was a little hard to understand. Unfortunately, the play date didn’t work out that time, but I learned something very interesting about my son. He doesn’t care that Tom doesn’t look exactly like him, nor do his parents sound like us. I was so proud. He likes Tom because he’s a cool kid. He doesn’t NOT like him simply because he’s different.

We had to explain to him why some people in his school had “brown” skin. He was simply curious. It had nothing to do with prejudice. We also make sure that our boys are not afraid to play with kids with disabilities, nor do they make fun of people with disabilities. Last year Thomas had a girl in his class who was blind in one eye. The eye was very freaky looking- it was totally light blue. The whole eye- not just her iris. At first, Thomas said he “didn’t like her”. Within a week, he was fine with her, and so were the rest of the kids in the class. His initial reason for not liking her was because her eye looked so weird (it really did look weird), but we told him he needed to pay attention to the person, not her looks.

If everyone would just pay attention to the person, and not their looks, we could rid this world of racism. Prejudice will always exist, but as adults, we should do all we can to prevent it from passing on to our children.


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