The reactions and support and stories I have gotten in response to my previous post have blown my mind. In both good and bad ways. Mostly good.
From the neighborhood list serve, I received emails and phone calls, apologies and offers to talk. A few days later, a mother started a new discussion topic entitled “parents helping kids talk about race and undoing racism group?” I knew then that my efforts were not in vain.
Also from the neighborhood list serve came a comment on my blog. The ugliest comment I have ever received. This blog is in no way connected to the list serve, but we humans have become pretty damn adept at finding what we want via Google. What unnerved me more than the comment is that this person searched the internet for me and found this post. I gave no indication on my message to the list serve that I would be blogging about it. Hell, they don’t even know I am a blogger.
But I’m the one who took to the internet with my story, so I guess I deserved it. When you put yourself out there, you’re bound to piss someone off. That’s okay. I never believed that everyone could understand what it’s like to have your child discriminated against. I know what the playground is like. It’s a dog eat dog world out there. Children, beautiful sweet children, verbally and mentally and physically abuse one another. And that’s why we, the adults, are in charge of supervising them. We must guide them and show them how to live.
It will not serve this little girl to grow up thinking that she may judge others based on superficiality (or judge others at all, for that matter). It is possible that the person who wrote me the comment is her parent, which is not a wild assumption considering the defensive nature of the letter. Because this person attributes this little girl’s behavior to her age (…walking away from a five year old was cowardly. But what you did after that was worse. That girl was five…what’s your excuse?), I fear that this person will not teach his or her daughter to love based on character rather than appearance. A five year old knows the difference between right or wrong, love and hate, but only if they are taught.
I appreciate criticism. But I don’t think that posting about this incident was wrong. From what I can see, it spurred conversations about race and children and the importance of teaching our little ones that we’re all the same inside, that blonde hair is beautiful, but not more beautiful than brown or black or red hair. It serves no child to grow up with a superiority complex, because they will never learn how to love themselves as the imperfectly perfect beings we all are. If one believes oneself to be superior to others, there’s always the chance of being knocked off of that pedestal and into the abyss. It’s a scary place down there.
I apologize to this little girl and her family for making an example out of her. I have since replaced her name with “the girl” in the previous post. I only included it in hopes of finding her somewhere in the gray mess of this city of 600k+ people. I may have found her, and all this got me was an accusation of slander.
I have learned a lot from this experience, and I am confident that the next time it happens, I will be prepared. Meanwhile, I will pray that it doesn’t happen again.