I need to find the charger for the digital camera so I can get a better video, but this is how we refresh our Doodles (check out the curly hair page for more pics & details) in the mornings.
I wrote a blog a couple years ago about the controversy surrounding the Don Imus fiasco, where he referred to a championship basketball team of women as Nappy Headed Hos… which led to a conversation with my children about the words ho and nigger, among others. In this entry I titled Don’t call me out of name, a phrase which comes from street vernacular and means don’t label me something I’m not, I struggled with a heavy subject… how could I give my children not only the tools, but also the strength to take a stand for themselves against the lure of the n-word in peer situations. While it’s probably unlikely my kids would feel pressure to use the word themselves, I wanted to empower them to “be the change” and influence others in a positive manner to not only discourage others from using the n-word to address them, but to also reconsider their use of the word, period.
I realize that’s a mighty tall order… and from a white girl at that. Like black folks haven’t been trying to discourage their kids from the use of the word for more years than I’ve been alive. And I can get up on my soapbox with other white folks and let them have it over the n-word… cuz to paraphrase a handful of white folks who are way smarter than me… racism is a white problem. We created it, we benefit from it… we need to address it within ourselves, our families, and our communities. And I feel pretty confident in teaching my children not to tolerate for one second a white person calling them by that pejorative. But I really struggled with how to guide my brown-skinned children through the minefield of the n-word when it’s used a so called endearment or as a sign of solidarity. I’m not naive enough to think that being called a nigger lover gives me any kind of authority on what it feels like to be on the receiving end of the n-word, whether from the mouth of a white or black person… and while I know that anyone who lived through the civil rights movement and the first generation after would be hard pressed to justify or tolerate it’s use, but I guess part of me did figure that it was somehow less painful for the younger generation to hear, that whether they used it themselves or not, they were desensitized to the vulgarity of the word due to the prevalence of it’s use in music and media. I was very much mistaken in this assumption, and exactly how deeply wrong I was became very clear to me last year as my daughter first encountered the complexity of social cliques… part of the shrapnel I mention in that post was one girl’s foul mouth, including her use of the word “nigga.” Read more…
So it’s not a GREAT about us page… and I cheated and used part of my other blog’s “about” page… but at least it’s semi accurate!
So we were watching a netflix rental from the 70’s earlier this afternoon, called Free to Be You and Me. I hadn’t paid much attention to the cast, but early in the movie I recognized a face.
“Oh, my God! That’s Michael Jackson!”
My son looks at the TV and back at me, without any hesitation in his voice AT ALL,
“No, it’s not… Michael Jackson is White.”
Ironically, he was singing a duet with a female character about how it didn’t matter whether he was tall or she was pretty, neither of them would change when they grew up.
So we were up late Saturday night, my little Easter/Christmas Elf and I, assembling Easter baskets and watching The Five People You Meet in Heaven. It was a warm weekend, but I refuse to turn on the air conditioning this early, so I popped the baskets into the fridge, intending to get up about half an hour earlier than either of the girls usually wake up to set them out and to go outside and, using the chalk stamper/stencil I got at Target, to stamp bunny feet going to and from our front door.
The girls woke up at 6:30.
So I herded them into the tub before they could look any further than their rooms, pulled the chilled chocolate and jelly beans out of the fridge and set them out, and ran outside in my jammies to stamp the bunny foot prints. Read more…
I’m editing this post because the back seat entertainment really started this morning.
I have several books that I had as a child, that I’ve had so long I don’t know quite how I got them, but whenever that was, they were already old. I’ve been trying to get Tyler to move away from paperbacks he’s read over and over and trying a couple of these classics. Monday night, I found success and he chose Black Beauty for his nightly read & respond. Daija, not to be outdone, chose Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. I put Huck away, but I keep finding him all over the house. Daija gets him out, I put him back, Daija gets him out, I put him back… not so much because it’s inappropriate literature for a child of three years, nine months… but because Huck is 58 years old. OK, so not the story itself, but this book, is 58 years old.
the opening act
This morning we leave for preschool, and Daija smuggles Huck out to the car. I reminder her that the contraband (she always has contraband) must be left in the car when we get to the preschool. She agrees (she always does) and announces she is going to read to me. I buckle her into her booster seat, she opens the book in her lap, and we start our commute.
I don’t remember Mark Twain writing much about an octopus… but Daija is aware that “O” stands for OCTOPUS, therefore, if there is an “O” in the book, the book is about an OCTOPUS.
Daija likes the story, and expresses her desire to take the book into the preschool. I express my desire the book stay in the car. She screams NO. We have a brief discussion about how Momma’s are to be spoken to. She says, in a more favorable tone of voice, that she doesn’t want to leave the book in the car. I explain that I do not want the book to get broken or lost. Daija responds, in her “Silly Rabbit” voice, that the book will not get lost. I restate that the book must stay in the car.
she says as she lays the book in the center seat.
Look at this book. Someone will take it out of our car.
I frantically yank the plastic off my bottle of starbucks and pray the caffeine kicks in quickly enough to make a strong rebuttal that no one will break into our car to steal a 58 year old copy of huckleberry finn… and wonder how much it’s going to cost me to put Daija through law school.
the final act
I wound up leaving work early because Tyler was in the nurse’s office twice complaining of head and stomach aches. We went home, where I was almost immediately hit with an extended family crisis, then went and picked up Halle & Jelani from the community center and Daija from daycare.
On the way to daycare, Halle and Jelani are chatting in the back seat. I’m preoccupied with the family issue so I didn’t catch the whole conversation, especially since Jelani tends to mutter. But here are the snippets I did catch out of Halle’s mouth…
Real mermaids don’t have those things up here. But mermaids are real.
I think by up here, she was referencing the bikini top or seashells often depicted on mermaids’ breasts. I leave that alone, and interject that no one has ever been able to take a picture of a mermaid to prove they exist.
That’s because we live in a DESERT.
I don’t hear much because I’m choking back laughter. When I manage to tune in again, Halle seems to be theorizing that God created mermaids.
[static, static, static]
God… [pause] Who VOTED for God? I mean, did somebody vote for him, or did he just get it because he was the first one?
[static, static, static]
I wish I knew what was in the clouds.
[static, static, static]
Jesus is like… Jesus is just like awesome.
[static, static, static]
How am I supposed to drive in these circumstances? And poor Jelani, having to hold the other end of that conversation!