But it's not. Today I'm going to talk about my desire to teach my kid's racial equality- and I'm not even going to be funny in the process. This is definitely not party planner blogging. Maybe I need another blog for something of this nature... But for now, this is what I got. So if you were looking for a cute party, you might wanna check out the 1000's of other blogs doing that right now- or come back next week.
As an intro to where I'm going with this post- I'm going to touch on some of my own upbringing as a child. A real get-to-know-your-[favorite?]-blogger moment is coming your way... Brace yourself.
I've mentioned before that I was born in Inglewood, Ca and raised in Hawthorne, Ca. Obviously, for a white girl like myself- being raised as the minority all the way through my high school years- has shaped a big part of who I am. And now, at 33 years old- I can honestly say I wouldn't change it for the world.
If you would have asked me that my Freshman year of high school, when I came home crying for a month straight, begging my mom if I could, "go to the white school" I wouldn't believe that I'd be saying that. I was dead set on getting out of a place where I felt ostracized for my skin color. Where the nicknames, "wedda" and "whitegirl" were not sitting well within my soul. I yearned for El Segundo... That glistening town 10 minutes away where there was no graffiti. No ghetto birds. No riots. While it was close in proximity- it was far, far away in reality.
That Freshman year my mom told me in a nut shell that I was nuts, I was not going to another school because we lived directly across the street from Hawthorne High, our zoned school- where I would learn to fit in. She reminded me that I was a likeable girl and I was going to meet people running track, I just needed to be patient and wait for the season to start. And you know what, she was right... I waited- and I made friends. I made a ton of friends. I was well-liked and decided I loved all of my nicknames and I took pride in being one of the only (if not THE only) white girl on my track team.
While I had a couple of white friends in high school from as far back as elementary, I mainly hung out with my new Hispanic and black friends. I spent my afterschool days eating homemade pupusas and flan. We went down to Mexico on the weekends with my friend's parents to go dancing. I had my hair braided in corn rows for my Senior prom. I went through many stages trying to fit in and figure out who I was in a sea of amazingly tan skin... When all I could do was burn.
Although I grew out of my Spanish accent (it was gooood) at my core I felt like I was either Mexican or black most days. I felt connected to other races (Asians, Tongans, Samoans) much more than I did to my own Irish skin. I floated between groups of friends forgetting all together that I'd ever felt like an outcast upon entering high school. Learning to get along with everyone was in hindsight, a gift.
One of the beautiful things about being raised in the ghetto is that no one is better than anyone else. That is something I really value learning at a young age- that I wasn't entitled because I was white. This is something I desperately hope to impart on my children.
Which brings me to our current state. We've moved in to a primarily Hispanic community on Santa Barbara's East Side. Which didn't faze me upon arrival... "These are my people", I thought to myself when signing our lease. "I will have no problem making friends". To a point I am impressed with my naivety and optimism. Because it has not been easy. While I may feel a close connection to the Hispanic community- they have not necessarily felt that same connection to me, or my family.
And I could delve in to so many reasons here about the how and why I think this is but instead I will keep it simple and say that in my short time here I've realized I wouldn't be overly welcoming of the white family in town if I were Hispanic either. Just the ways in which I've seen or heard white people talk to or about the Hispanic community is embarrassing to me as a white person. There is so much hate and I want to break that down and be different. I want my kids to be different.
One of the most important things I want for my kids is for them to understand that they're not better than anyone because of where they were born or what language they speak. I never want them to see race as a barrier in making friends. Even when it's uncomfortable. When Cormac starts school in August I am sure he is going to have many uncomfortable moments as a white kid in a Spanish Immersion school. And it's scary to think about a 5 year old feeling left out. But you know what- nothing great was ever easy.
I want to be able to say I gave my children an understanding of equality and real life. Part of the reason I was scared to death of raising my kids in our old town is because I didn't want my kids thinking the world is made up of middle/upper class white people. I'm comfortable saying I've seen what kind of adult that produces and I'm not interested in raising that person. I'm not saying it's inevitable, but in my experience, the outlook wasn't looking promising.
It's simple- love and respect for all people- shouldn't we all want that?