Saturday, June 03, 2006
It's a 4 year old thang. I hope.
The other day, I was looking at photos online of the American Idol finale (shut up) and I was on a photo of Elliott and Mary J Blige (stage hog diva). Tater Tot saw it and she came running over to look. This is the conversation that followed.

Tater:What? Who is that with Elliott? He can't have a girl like that.
Me: A girl like what?
Tater (with an exasperated look of "duh!"): With black skin. He needs a girl like him.
Me: What is a girl like him?
Tater (with exasperated sigh): With WHITE skin.
Me: Who told you that?
Tater: (same look as above) My brain just thought of it.
Me: Well, sometimes, black people and white people love each other.
Tater rolls her eyes (where'd she get THAT??) and struts off.

Kinda funny. Kinda not. Seriously, we've never pointed out differences to our kids. Now, I'm worried. Should I worry? I mean, she's 4. Is she just seeing the skin color without thinking there is anything bad (which I hope is the case)? Should I worry about her starting school in the fall and being with children of different races everyday? Meaning, oh my heck what will she say to embarrass me? Should I be worried? Somebody help me!

Thinking back, I'm pretty sure our oldest, Guard Girl, didn't even know there were people who thought bad things about different races until she was up near middle school. It just never occurred to her to think about differences just because of skin color. She just realized, probably in the last year or two that her grandpa (my dad) is prejudiced. (NOT something I am proud of. YOU try changing the mind of an almost 70 year old man.)

My best friend at work is black. We often discuss and joke about the differences between the way white people do things and the way black people do things. (funerals is one example.) She calls herself the "color of the office" since the rest of us in my immediate department are white. She "threatens" to go to HR when we give her a hard time. Jokingly, of course. Sure, she's been witness and victim to racial slurs and such in her life but she has learned how to deal. She happens to be one of Tater's favorite people in the world so I am just hoping the above exchange was just how a 4 year old mind works. (Am I making too big a deal of this? I know..I probably am.)

I have also discussed, with that same friend at work, interracial dating. She didn't let her son do it when he was in high school, only because of the problems that follow with people giving them a hard time, saying things, etc. Same with her daughter, who will be a junior in the fall. When I was growing up, my sisters and I just knew, no way in H-E-double hockey sticks that Dad would let us even entertain the idea of dating a black boy. Bubba and I discussed it and really, the only thing we could think was that we would have to pick our battles. I think the only thing I would tell Guard Girl, or any of my kids, if she/he decided to date someone of another race, is be prepared for the comments and possbile racial slurs. If you think you can handle it, then go for it. I mean, should I really worry so much about that as much as I worry about keeping her pregnancy/STD/drug free?? Pick our battles indeed.

This parenting thing? It sucks sometimes.

PS Did you just see that? I kind of got serious in a blog post. Huh. Who would have thought...
posted by Angie @ 11:17 PM  
  • At 12:22 AM, Blogger Homer Jay said…

    Kids just say the what comes into their heads. She's probably only seeing like it were a matching thing. Like putting on two different shoes. I think your explanation was a good one and she may think you're nuts, but as she grows, she'll learn you were right.
    You do a good job. Don't sweat this. Just keep an eye on it.

  • At 12:23 AM, Blogger Homer Jay said…

    Dang. I was so busy commenting, I didn't get a chance to vote. Grrr.

  • At 8:26 AM, Blogger Jean-Luc Picard said…

    Wow! Serous topic indeed!

  • At 2:17 PM, Blogger Jen said…

    I think it's going to be OK. Kids get weird ideas all the time, and we explain things to them and they learn our worldview from that.

    The worrisome thing is that some parents out there are saying, "You got THAT straight, kiddo!" and encouraging that sort of thinking.

    4 year olds think of all sorts of things. Some of their ideas are creative and amazing, and some are just amazingly weird and wrong. (I'm on my 4th 4 year old now, it's just crazy what they'll come up with, even when you think you've seen it all!) She'll be just fine.

  • At 7:27 PM, Blogger PresentStorm said…

    I am thinking it is a four year old mind working. Especially since you guys have not raised her to be racist. I think jay is right. Kids that age match things up. Kind of like

    I think with you two as parents, she is going to be just fine :)

  • At 12:33 AM, Blogger aka_monty said…

    I'm with the 'matching' opinion...and I think those of us who are a certain age group have parents who have racist tendencies that we don't feel.
    :) I certainly hope I haven't given my kids any misinformation...but I worry. So far, the subject hasn't come up. When it does, I'm going to have my daughter call you, okay? :)

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