Racism is often treated as a "black subject", but we know it's everybody's issue. Being white shouldn't make a person exempt from having to consider race and racism in their everyday lives. Any a parent who want to raise well-adjusted children should probably be thinking about these kind of things. I was reminded of this as I was going through some of J-Jo's papers from nursery school. So much of it brought back certain memories, like:
...the day I brought J-Jo to school a few minutes late and Headteacher beckoned (only) to J-Jo and chimed: "Hurry up, we're taking about Africa!" (emphasis on the word "Africa!")
...or the day that we told Headteacher we were keeping J-Jo out of school one afternoon to take her to see a replica of the Amistad, which was temporarily docked at a harbor nearby.
Mrs. Headteacher: "Do you feel she's ready for the subject of slavery?"
Mrs. J: "She's known about slavery since she was two." In a general sense, but it's true.
Mrs. Headteacher: "Let us know if there's anything we can do here to help her with that."
Mrs. J: Uh, thanks.
What I wanted to say: "You all pretend like the holidays aren't even happening because you're afraid of offending people. Do you really think I expect you to teach my child about slavery? Do ya really think I'd TRUST you to?"
Oh well. It's over now. J-Jo graduated two weeks ago (in the form of a picnic, no cap and gowns up here). Next year, she'll be at a progressive charter school in Houston that's a lot more diverse. I know J-Jo will miss the friends she's made here, though. I will too. They're all sweet kids who I've watched grow from babies to toddlers to sassy-mouthed little kids right along with my own (not too thrilled about that sassy part). And I know she'll miss the little white schoolhouse and its intimate little yard. But I gotta admit, I'm still reeling from this upstate nursery school experience. While it was great in certain ways — the healthy snacks, organic "birthday muffins" instead of cupcakes, the fact that their learning was play-based — I can't say I'll actually miss it.