I’m still keeping with my love theme up through Valentine’s Day, but this post is about love of self, innocence of children and Black History.
A couple of nights ago, Munch was doing his daily reading log for school. He has to read a minimum of 20 minutes each night and write a synopsis on his log about the book. We had just gone to the library the day before and checked out 6 books. I chose 5 books on Black History and he chose a book on Amphibians. So, I selected one of the books that I wanted him to read for the school log called “Seeds of Freedom: The Peaceful Integration of Huntsville, Alabama”.
Munch read this book and had a lot of questions. These two stuck out in my head. He asked:
- “Am I black mommy?” “Yes, baby you are” I replied.
- “Is it bad being black Mommy?” “Not at all baby, but your skin color matters to some people.”
“Oh” he replied. It was like his little heart grew up with that one word. He was now seeing himself as a different color than his peers. I wasn’t ready. I wanted to keep his innocence locked up in his 7 year old spirit for as long as I could. But, it was time to talk to him about the color of his skin.
I began to explain to him that his skin color is a reflection of his race. That I’m black. His dad is black and his immediate family is black. I told him “Except your cousin Cameron.” He looked at me quizzically. “Cameron is half black/half white. Your uncle Kenny is black and auntie Danyelle is white. Cameron is half of both his parents.” He laughed and said “I love that cute little one year old Cameron.”
He asked questions about why black children were not allowed to try on shoes in the store or sit at the lunch counters. He wanted to know why we marched. Why were children taken to jail? Why were dogs attacking us and why did the white people hate us?
“History. It is part of our country’s history, Munch. We have to know our history to make sure that we don’t repeat it. There is a thing called racism when people hate you because of the color of your skin. That hate allows them to treat you as though you are not as good as them. That you’re less than.
But, you’re not Munch. Never ever believe that.
God created us all equal. Not all white people hate black people. We have a blended family. Your friends are different colors and races. We’re a rainbow and we’re all God’s children. We just need to learn to get along.”
Was it too simple? Probably. I have to balance what I teach him to make sure that he doesn’t have nightmares. That he loves the color of his skin and not consider it a curse. That he sees all people with their various hues and remembers that we’re all God’s children.
Because we are. He’s black. I’m black and it’s time to learn about black history, American History, our history.