No Words.Posted: January 12, 2012
Sometimes, there are no words for what you are feeling. Sometimes, there is just not a word or phrase that can work for a specific situation.
Last night while I was making dinner, Mea was “helping” me, we were having our daily “How was your day?” talk. She had been completely passed out at Lolo’s house when I had picked her up, and she had just started to wake up enough to talk to me.
I have no idea what we had been talking about before the sentence was uttered from her lips. Those few moments of my memory were wiped away in one quick second.
“Momma, Millie said we can’t be friends anymore, because I am brown and she is white.”
I made her repeat it, because I honestly couldn’t believe that the words had come out of her mouth.
I was fuming.
I talked to her about it some more, thinking that I had misunderstood, or that maybe Mea had.
This was what this little girl had said to Mea.
I really don’t know if Mea had understood up until then what had happened. I don’t think that she had gotten how this was any different from when the evil double mint twins had been saying she couldn’t be their friend, back and forth playing her off of each other.
I didn’t want Mea to see how angry I was. I didn’t want her to know that I was calling Mrs. M, so I went outside to make the phone call. I called her teacher at home. She was fine with this. She said that she could tell how upset I was just from the tone of my voice. She thinks it’s possible that the things they have been learning about Martin Luther King may have gotten misconstrued in this little girls head. She said that there was another boy in the class who said something that was disturbing yesterday as well. She was going to have a discussion in class about racism, and the teachings of MLK again today. She was going to go into more depth until they all understood.
She said that this little girl, is someone who’s family she has known over the years with other kids, and that she couldn’t see this being something that was taught to her at home. We’ll see.
My husband and I had a talk with Mea in general about the Civil Rights Movement last night. Talked about how there were slaves, segregation, and how it is through the work of Martin Luther King and others like him that families like ours are possible. How it used to be illegal for Daddy and Momma to be married. How black people were treated like inferior humans. How black people were beaten, jailed and even killed for standing up for what they believe in, for standing up for things being fair. That everyone, no matter what color they are should be treated the exact same way.
We had a similar talk last year, around this time. When they were studying MLK in preschool. She remembers most of those conversations.
When my husband took her to school this morning, Mrs. M had stated that she was going to keep an eye on things, watch how they played, or if they did. She was going to let the principal know of my concern. Unless, she saw something in class today that made her think otherwise, she was going to not say anything to Millie specifically. To a point I do understand this logic. I don’t want Mea to get special treatment, either positive or negative, and I don’t want the little girl to get in trouble, unless she does something like this again.
Mrs. M had told me last night, that she was going to go back and review what they had talked about in class about MLK, that she was going to talk about how everyone should be treated the same. Just reiterate what she thought she had already taught them. Make sure that they all completely understand that it is not right to treat anyone of any color any differently.
I had hoped that it would be a while before my child was talked to like this. I had hoped that I had prepared her for when it did happen. I thought that I had in some ways been prepared myself. Racism is alive and well out there, and it is a sad, sad thing that we even have to have these conversations with any of our children.
In just a little bit my husband and I are going to head to school to pick Mea up. I hope that Mrs. M can tell me that it was all a misunderstanding. I am praying that this is the case.