I love driving my grandson to school. Practicing times tables, spelling words, test question review, that time when it was raining on one side of the street and not the other. Yes, that happened and yes he still references it. Any “parent” that drives a child to and from school knows that those are the times when communication is the best. I’ve missed years of Ted Talks relishing the silence and the questions on those rides. Those questions that come out of the back seat are priceless gems of life, time and teaching. And for me as a legal guardian to an African-American boy, there is a host of other experiences that I am not at all prepared to handle, such as “Nan, why do white people hate black people?”. My answer on that day in 2015 is not that different than it would be today. The question took me off guard and I have a steadfast rule of not lying to children, especially mine, so my response was “Not all white people hate black people, why are you asking?”. To which he responded about the Civil War and Social Studies class. So today with the topic of “Black Lives Matter” I now have questions too:
“Why are OUR schools teaching our children that white people hate black people?”
OR “Why is the history of slavery coming across to my child as white people hate black people?”
“Did the white children in that class come away with the message that white people hate black people?”
OR “Do white people hate black people?” I certainly don’t think I do but I am certainly not the norm…
AND “How would black people prefer that portion of our history be taught?
“Has anyone bothered to ask black people that?”
OR should it “Not be taught at all?”
OR “is there a better way altogether?”
He was a little younger than I think I was learning about the slaves in Social Studies class. I CLEARLY remember throwing up in that class the day they described the slaves, layered in boats with only a foot above them, laying on their backs, chained together, lying in their own feces. I threw up, ran from the class room and continued to throw up in the bathroom. I’m not sure what that says about me being the only child with that reaction or the rest of my class not having any reaction. I’ll leave that to you. Today, I have a rescue mutt that lives with me, sleeps with me, eats from my fork. What was F$@K is wrong with us?
BLACK LIVES MATTER. Period. Always and forever, and shame on us!