Paw-Paw, you white.” These were the words of my two year old granddaughter spoken directly to me eye ball to eye ball. Well, she was seated her car seat and I was making eye contact with her via my rear view mirror. Anyway, the statement made me stop to figure out what she was saying.
Children call things like they see them. They speak with unfettered language what the gather from the world around them and many times this is done with brutal, yet innocent, honesty. We adults on the other hand have been conditioned by culture, family, peers, and religion to camouflage what we really want to say. So, being an adult I felt I had to find out what she was really saying before I responded.
The fact that I am indeed white is no news flash. I have been this way all of my life and the lily white skin goes to the bone. I have been informed that I will be this way the rest of my life. It is a cross that I must learn to bear. So, was she stating the obvious or was there more to her racial remark? I responded sheepishly, “yeah...” Then she says “Nana white too.” She was on a roll and I had no clue where this conversation as heading. And again I said; “yeah.” Then she says something that let me know where she was coming from; “grandma brown and grandpa brown.” That’s when it all clicked. My two year old bi-racial granddaughter (white and Hispanic) had noticed the racial differences of her family. My grandkids will grow up accepting diversity as a normal part of life.
We live in great big world filled with people of numerous cultures, languages, religions and points of view. And, the more technology increase the smaller our world is becoming. We find ourselves coming in contact with people from every part of the globe. This has caused fear to rise in the hearts of people. The reason they become fearful is they are faced with something they do not understand. And, when people become afraid they have one or two responses: fight or flight. So, even our modern world of ever increasing technology, ignorance still has a foot hold!
There are those who believe that ignorance is bliss. Well, ignorance is not bliss. Ignorance is just…ignorant! Is it bliss when a church is burned to the ground in Pakistan? Is it bliss when a mosque is bombed in Minneapolis? Is it bliss when a mix-raced couple has a cross burned in their yard? Is it bliss to hear that a homosexual man was beaten to death by gay haters? How is any of that blissful?
Like it or not, the world we live in has gays, Jews, Muslims, Christians, Blacks, Caucasians and Arabs! Like it or not, it’s just the way it is. There is no need to hide in fear or take up stones. Trying to force uniformity on the world does not make the world a better place. Colonialism taught us that. Our world is an assortment of diversity. Seek to understand it. I mean what is the worst thing that can happen when we can accept and love people for who they are?
In my grandkids world paw-paw and nana are white and grandma and grandpa are brown. And in their world, that’s ok.