I had a realization this weekend that was big. At least for me. And it was a good one that made me realize I am in my own way achieving what Husband and I have been trying to teach the girls.
We all have prejudices whether we want to or not. It’s part of being human, and often learned from the environment around us as we grow up. Husband and I don’t want to have prejudices, and try hard not to. We are trying to teach the girls that it isn’t skin color or religious preference or things along those lines that show who a person is, but their actions and who they are inside.
The girl’s school, though small, is actually very diverse. There are 5 or 6 different ethnicities represented, maybe more. My girls have friends from all of the groups, and I feel this has been important in forming how they see the world. When Oldest One was in 5th grade, and in her first year of club cheer I remember driving in the car with her, and she asked me why the cheer gym was mostly white girls. I was floored that she noticed, and that she cared enough to ask.
I know I have some prejudices, but I really try to take people for who they are. I grew up in a state with a large Hispanic population, and I’ve always had Hispanic friends. There is no black and white as far as the immigration issue for me, because it has too many shades of grey. If I’m going to talk nasty about people, I’m probably calling them a type of bag or female dogs. But like anyone I have a few triggers, and I know it, but I also know better than to judge a whole group of people based on the actions of just a few. I don’t like being judged “one of those Jews”, whatever that might mean to the person, only because of my religious affiliation.
My realization came about because Husband and I have recently been in the position to help some kids from the girl’s school who are not Caucasion. That didn’t enter my mind at all, although I didn’t realize it as it was happening. What I was thinking was that these are children who need help, and Husband and I can do that. When I talked to Husband about it later in the context of did the other parents care we were white, he agreed that the important part of this picture is that They Are Children And They Need Help. Which means that to some extent and in some way, if these kids fit into any prejudices of mine, I broke away from them. What they are is so less important than Who they are. I’m worried about them and for them, and want to help them succeed and be safe. I could care less if they had green skin and blue hair; They are Children and They Need Help.
The world is diverse, and that is a wonderful thing. I am a part of this diverse world, and I am accepting and embracing it the best I can. Yes, it is a small part of the world, and probably barely a ripple in the bigger picture. But the part of me that was worried that I couldn’t carry out what I was trying to teach the girls understands and knows that I can, and that I am able to see past the what to the who, and make the what not matter. I’m not saying my prejudices are gone, because I know they’ll rear their ugly heads from time to time. But I know that I am able to see the Who, and that is really what I’ve been striving for the girls to do, and then I found it in myself.