Subject: Pinking King
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MegaLiz)
Date: Tue, 03 Feb 1998 19:31:21 GMT
Sparky, our number one pupa, doesn't know anything about racial
strife. The public schools are going to fix that. I swear, these days,
the road to racism is paved with goodie-goodie intentions.
With children in general, and yeti chillun in particular, it is always
important to caution them in the most general or confusing ways. For
instance, when teaching them about how to bathe safely, I would never
warn, "Don't throw a toaster or a hairdryer in the bathtub!" because
that GUARANTEES an immediate appliance hunt and subsequent
electrocution. Amazingly, very few parents have learned through their
repeated mistakes that this sort of admonition is REALLY STOOPID.
People who like to make money watching other people do things in
artificial environments have studied this very thing and found that
not only will children do THE THING WHICH THEY HAVE BEEN WARNED
AGAINST they will LIE THROUGH THEIR CHERUBIC TOOTH GAPS afterward.
This is exactly why I do not explain the GFCI outlets in the bathroom
in any accurate detail. They just do not need to know this stuff
beyond the basic principle that electricity and water don't mix unless
you want coffee. In this way, I can still enjoy a nice tub bath in
safety and STILL maintain my credibility for another year or so.
Now about racism, I have a similar approach. I do not tell long
stories about antebellum slavery to lull them to sleep at night. Not
that the library doesn't provide EVERY opportunity to teach pliable
little fact vacuums all about it--they have all that covered right
along with such anxiety-causing titles as "E is for the Extinctions
You Are Causing" and "Let's Count the Ozone Holes!"
Sparky has never shown any curiosity about skin color, except to wish
fervently for her own cornrows on occasion. She wanted to wear scads
of "doo-dads" in her hair like her friends, but eventually accepted
the idea that her hair wasn't happy to be nappy.
Her elementary school is going to make sure that her benign ignorance
is rooted out right along with the ignorance that really IS their
business. They are introducing the concepts of racism right along side
reading and the other Rs.
To celebrate her African heritage on Martin Luther King Day and to
"integrate and culminate the reading drive" the school had an assembly
for the children to listen to an African Reader read something. Sparky
dutifully reported on the highlights. The African Man said that
Africans speak two thousand languages. The African Man also said that
if you read about your ancestors and say some magic words you can fly.
Sparky was VERY anxious to read about her ancestors. I pointed out
that he may not have been speaking LITERALLY, but she just insisted
that if he didn't mean "fly" he wouldn't have said "fly".
So we started looking at pictures of her ancestors. The ancestors that
I had handy were featured in photos from World War II. I pointed out
Uncle Bud, "HE could fly. But that's because he studied to be a PILOT
and somebody gave him a PLANE because he did all his homework." She
maintained a polite interest and promised not to try to fly until all
her homework was done.
Later, I found some of her school work that ALSO honored Dr. King.
They had the MLK Find-a-Word (can you find "brutal murder"?) and the
MLK Had A Dream Puzzle and the MLK Connect-The-Dots. She'd dutifully
colored King's dot portrait with blue eyes and bright pink skin.
I just love it that she STILL doesn't get it.
Bobo: "GWICK! Em beh-BWAH-DA!"
Translation: My! That was unpleasant! Please help me keep the
spoon away from the back of my throat next time!
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