Rew began our conversation with a question as we walked to the car. “Ya know what Dolly said today that got her in trouble?” By the way, Dolly is a real person and Rew’s best friend, not cotton puff held together with stitching. “She told Little Ms. B that she couldn’t play with us because her skin was brown.”
The statement literally stopped me in my tracks.
My mind began to race for words, kinda like the time when GROB’s daughter found that funny-shaped vibrating thing on the floor while she was helping dismantle mommy’s and daddy’s bed. However, I knew almost instantly that the “It’s a special screw driver for the bed” excuse wouldn’t work. I’m quick that way, ya know.
This was hard-core real life. The right words, correct delivery relating to her world, and proper praise for not participating were extremely important. I first had to determine if her participation in the circumstance was, in fact, exempt. I’m confident it was.
After thinking about it for a while, I’m willing to bet that this was more the type of discrimination that children do to the fat kid, or the kid with glasses, or the kid who is kinda stinky. I’m not saying it’s right. I’m saying that it probably wasn’t rooted in racial prejudice. There is a difference, but not much.
The obligatory discussion about green skin, red noses and/or purple toes ensued at length. A child’s definition of discrimination was invented, and praise for non-participation included the words, “how proud I am of you” and cost me one piece of bubble gum and a sucker.
At bedtime we prayed. In addition to thankful blessings, we asked God to help all people understand that discrimination is unacceptable.
I held Rew’s sippy-cup of milk, the one with the green top, in my hand as I tucked her in. After which, she asked me for one last drink. I rocked the cup back and forth in my hand as if it was speaking.
Then I said in one of my best character voices, “No Reilly you can’t have a drink of me. I have a green top and you don’t. Only people with green tops can drink from me…”
She held up one finger as such when making a statement and interrupted my last effort of the day.
“Uh, daddy. Daddy! Sippy-cups aren’t people and they can’t talk.”
Lesson of the day learned. Adult insight as to the comprehension level of a 4-year-old also learned.
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