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Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Why Couldn't We Each Be A Different Color?

My kids are receiving much more political education than I would wish. 

Driving in the car, my little one says, "Big Brother says he thinks its great that when we ride the bus we get to be with more African-Americans and Asians. But I think it's because they don't have as many cars. Because look at that little bitty girl back there walking along that busy street and there isn't even any sidewalk." 

What follows is a long talk about slavery and Jim Crow laws, how unions work and how long they resisted allowing minorities as members, what a factory is like and when they moved to China and Mexico and India. The conversation veers into an explanation of housing racial exclusionary laws--that only allowed people of color and Jews to be inhabitants if they were "domestic help;" how much more people of color had to pay for houses in those neighborhoods when they were finally allowed in--money that was not given back to them if a freeway was forced through their neighborhood--and the expenses of Driving While Black, like Philando experienced. (Enough almost for a downpayment on a house.)

A little later, in the bathroom: "Somebody had to make up words," says my little one. "Somebody made up the word white. What if they'd called black white and white black. Then people would be saying they didn't like white people." She's trying so hard to figure all this out. 

And on the drive home: "Why couldn't we all be a different color from one another? Each person their own special color? Then no group of one color could be hating the other people, because each people would be alone with that color." 

A sigh from me. "That would be lovely, wouldn't it?" 

Now, take a breath for a moment, and imagine To Kill A Mockingbird from the point of view of Tom and Helen Robinson's children as well as from Scout's. 

Imagine Diamond Reynold's conversations with her little daughter. . . 

This is a really rough summer. 

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