These days we talk a lot about prejudice. It is an ugly wound in our history which has been reopened by the current POTUS and his adminstration. And when we hear such hateful and hurtful rhetoric from our "leaders" we realize just how deep the wound is and how superficial the healing has been.
Children are born without prejudice. It has been proven time and again that prejudice is a learned behavior. And it is often learned when there is limited exposure to different types of people. When I was in elementary school, the nearest people we had from other cultures were the very few Catholics, Yankees whose fathers moved to the South to manage a plant that located in our little town. They went to the library during our weekly religion (read that Protestant) guest speakers. When you were a child, how many people of other races and cultures were represented in your story books? I can recall only two books about different races when I was a small child. One was LITTLE BLACK SAMBO, and the other was THE FIVE CHINESE BROTHERS. I admit that I loved both of those stories although they clearly stereotype the cultures and I would not want Violet to have them. Oh, and I almost forgot Uncle Remus and his fables, the most famous being Br'er Rabbit and the Tar Baby. Not good examples of the culture either. Again, I loved them but would not want them for my granddaughter until she is at least a teenager.
I was absolutely delighted when Aunt Kathryn gave my little children a lovely book called OH, WHAT A BUSY DAY! The illustrations by Gyo Fujikawa were enchanting and included children of different races and ethnic groups all playing together. New Yorker Magazine
recently did a lovely article that you might find interesting. (Click here
.) The book, originally published in 1976 is still in print. It's filled with short verses and is fun for children and adults alike. I can highly recommend it.
Picture from the Internet
Violet now has our copy
Our Violet does have busy days. She enjoys all sorts of creative play both indoors and out. She is already loving dress-up and pretend.
Last week I posted a picture of her in a Darth Vader shirt. Today I will show you the real Darth Violet, ready to take on anything with her light saber. (Yes, she plays villians as well as heroes.)
First you get the light saber at the ready
Then you get your frightening face to scare the opponent
And who is the opponent? The same sweet giant giraffe Violet was hugging last week. If you are Darth Violet you must take on the biggest opponent you can find.
A fierce attack
I love that Violet is exposed to children and adults of all races, cultures, and lifestyles. No distinction is made among them. She is too young to recognize stereotypes but her parents will guide her to dismiss them when she is old enough to understand. I do believe Violet will grow up to be as accepting of others as one can be. Her parents are exceptional role models.
I often wonder (and fear) just how the children of the supporters of the too-often heard hate speech will fare in tomorrow's world? Will they become the minority? Will they grow up and recognize how wrong their parents were? Or will they grow up bitter and angry? Time will tell.
The first quote of the week is from one of my heroes, Ruth Bader Gingsburg:
"America is known as a country that welcomes people to its shores. All kinds of people. The image of the Statue of Liberty with Emma Lazarus's famous poem. She lifts her lamp and welcomes people to the golden shore where they will not experience prejudice because of the color of their skin or the religious faith they follow."
(PERSONAL NOTE: Take THAT, Ken Cuccinelli!)
The next is from the late (and still missed) Molly Ivins:
"Old-fashioned anti-immigrant prejudice always brings out some old-fashioned racists."
And from the late (and still missed) Maya Angelou:
"Prejudice is a burden that confuses the past, threatens the future and renders the present inaccessible."
Is there hope for our Nation? I do think there is. For our sakes, but mostly for the sake of dear innocent Violet and all other children who will inherit the world we leave behind.
HAVE A GREAT WEEK, EVERYONE!
FIGHT PREJUDICE WHEREVER YOU SEE IT
WE ARE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER