No Words.

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.


4 Comments on “No Words.”

  1. Dani says:

    We don’t know each other, and I just found your blog (thru way of Twitter) and this story made me cry. I hope this all gets resolved quickly for your family, as well as the other kids at your daughter’s school.

    This made me open my eyes that someday I might have to deal with this. I live in a diverse area, so my kids area already used to people from all sorts of ethnic and cultural backgrounds. I was raised mostly here so I’m used to it too. I was also raised to judge people by their personalities and not their skin/hair/eye color. I’m very lucky and thankful that I was raised that way. I can only hope I’m doing the same for my kids…

    You see my mother is white and my father is a pacific islander, and there was a time we lived in Texas and some people had a problem with that. I was only 4 so I saw nothing of this. Looking back I do remember only one thing that happened that I just didn’t understand at the time. Not to date myself, but before answering machines (yes, I said it) the phone would just ring and ring. Naturally for a 4 year old it’s imperative to answer the phone and make an adult aware of it! But my mom just stood by the phone, looked at me with upset eyes and said “don’t answer it….. just don’t answer it”

    That I remember…. my brother was an infant at the time, and we moved back to California very shortly after that.

  2. Holly says:

    It makes me sad too that in this day and age racism is still out there. I’ve seen it and heard it with my own eyes and ears. Let me just say that this little girl probably didn’t realize what she was saying. When Jackson was in kindergarten he told a Hispanic boy that he couldn’t hold hands with him during a game because the boy’s skin is brown. You’ve known me my WHOLE LIFE– you know he didn’t learn that at home! The thing is it was also right around learning about MLK time. You never know what kids are going to pick up and how they’re going to process it. We had a long talk with Jackson about racism and pointed out to him that he has a family memeber with “brown skin” (Uncle Rick’s daughter Amy has a little girl). Thankfully it seemed to take hold and we haven’t had any issues since then. The very best thing we can do is teach our kids tolerence for people who are different from them.

  3. Libby says:

    I am really hoping this was just a misunderstanding. I really am. Can’t wait to hear the outcome.

  4. Jen says:

    +1 to Libby’s comment. I really, really, really hope this was somehow a misunderstanding. I do think you handled it well.

I like thoughtful comments!

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