Saturday, January 28, 2012

Thank you, Dr. King

It's no secret that my Teensy has a best friend. A bestie. A BFF. They've scarcely sneezed without each other over the past eight years of their little lives.

Her name is Selena.

Here is a precious photo of the two of them on their baptism day:

Okay. So, a couple of days ago, I was driving the kids home from school and Mackenna was excitedly telling me about what she had learned that day. It was about civil rights. She was rattling off names like Ruby Bridges, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and Rosa Parks. She explained to me that without these people, her class at school would look totally different: there would be no black people. She was so earnest in her effort to educate me. I just "Oh!"-ed intermittently like I was hearing this bit of history for the first time.

Then my Teensy spoke up with a question. "Mom," she began, "Would Selena be considered white or black?"

I chuckled softly. "Honey, Selena is white."

"No, Mom," she responded forcefully. "She isn't. She's dark."

"I know her skin is darker than yours, but she is still white," I proclaimed.

"Mom!" Teensy barked in a disgusted tone. "Have you even seen her skin? It's dark."

I was laughing in earnest at this point and trying in vain to convince her that her best friend is the same race as she is. I tried to point out that Selena's sister, a red-head with skin the color of drifted snow is clearly white and that because they have the same parents, they are clearly the same race, but Marlee wouldn't buy any of it.

Then, it occurred to me that Selena actually is 1/4 Latina. I tried to explain that she gets her quick-to-tan skin from her grandmother who is from Mexico. That just brought up a whole new bout of confusion. "What's Latina?" Gracious.

So, what did we learn in the car ride home? That we are thankful for people like Martin Luther King. Because without him, not even brunettes who tan would be allowed to go to school with my blonde daughters. Sakes alive.


JazznJenna said...

I love besties, they don't come along very often. That's funny about Teensy's conviction about her friend's different skin color. Kids just KNOW they're right sometimes, don't they?

Deb said...

this story is hilarious! really, i think kids are right. the whole race thing doesn't make sense anyway. :)

Quotation of the Month

There is no way to be a perfect mother, and a million ways to be a good one.

-Jill Churchill