Ruby Bridges

RubyBridgesNormanRockwell

Norman Rockwell’s famous painting of 6 year old Ruby Bridges

When I heard Ruby Bridges was going to be speaking in our area, I decided right away that Addis & I would be going.

It was at a venue 1 1/2 away, so I pulled her out of school. We arrived at 2:15 & waited outside online until 6:00.  Addis was a champion! Not a single complaint! And she listened to the talk intently. I am so pleased that Addis had the opportunity to meet Ruby Bridges & get her book signed. She showed the book to her class the next day.

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Ruby Bridges

During the talk, I posted what Ruby Bridges was saying, as closely as I could:

                                        She thought she was going to college

She thought the school was sooo much nicer than her previous school

The second day the crowds doubled. When her mother saw it on tv, she thought, “oh God what have I done? “

As a 6 yr old she could see Separate was not Equal

She could see her teacher looked like them. But soon realized she wasn’t them.

2 schools were chosen to integrate, & they were schools in the most racist parts of town

She says all of her neighbors walked behind the marshall’s car everyday, escorting her for support

Sitting in the class room She could hear kids yelling at her

She saw only marshals on the playground & thought there were no kids there.

She couldn’t go to the cafeteria because of threats to poison or hang her.

She thought all the kids were in the cafeteria & she’d have to go there to make friends.

Teachers quit their job

They thought she wasn’t eating because she was worried, but it was because she was throwing out her lunch hoping she could go to the cafeteria.

She just wanted to make friends. She was so disappointed.

The worst part of first grade was the loneliness

There were white patents who wanted to send their kids to school with her…but they lost their jobs, crosses burned on their lawns, threats to their lives & safety.

Children who were sent to go to school with her were kept away by the principal

Her teacher would confront the principal about breaking th law.

A little boy told her “my mom said not to play with you because you’re a n***er”

That’s when she understood what was happening.

He hurt her feelings, she just wanted someone to play with.

She works in schools every day & listens to their stories of being bullied.

She said a little girl told her she gave her the courage to be brave when something bad happened to her

My story is bigger than me, I’m just a vehicle

I feel responsibility to explain racism to children. Which is hard, because there’s no sense to it.

Racism takes away children’s clean heart

I cannot judge a person by looking at them, I have to know them. Dr MLK taught us that

We are responsible for what we see unfolding before us today.

I still can’t really understand it. What we see unfolding in front of us, what is it about?

They didn’t see a child, they saw what they were losing, change. Is that the case today?

If so, we’re losing, there will never be a place with no race.

We don’t have the luxury to trust & love only people who look like us.

I’m speaking to you as a mom who’s lost the most precious thing, a child, to murder.

We are being separated. There is a them and us. It’s good & evil & looks like me and you.

Good will win. My message is to come together, I want you on my team, we have to fight the evil.

Kids: you can change the world.

Asset the civil rights museum, there was a wall of all the freedom riders, & they were all different, black white Asian Hispanic. How did we get here?

I’m just as upset as most of you at what is happening now.

I hope that what I say inspires You to think about how we can make the world better. We can’t afford to lose another child.

Norman Rockwell, he didn’t know what to do. So he stepped away from what he knew and he painted it. It inspires us to ask “what can I do”

If I’m not shouting it from the mountains, I’ll be whispering it to every child. We have to end this.

Racism is a grown up disease.

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#rubybridges

#rubybridges2015

 

Those Evil Laws

Being the parent of a Black child means I have to talk to her about some things more intentionally & earlier than I did with my big kids. With Ponyboy & Jasmine, I didn’t have to teach them about racism, about our country’s ugly history, about Native American genocide, about segregation before it came up in school.

(actually, i DID have to, i just didn’t know it)

For Martin Luther King Day, Addis’ Kindergarten teacher read the class a book about MLK. When I picked her up that day, the teacher grabbed me & told me that Addis was the only student who knew who he was & what he did, & she shared what she knew (beaming with pride). Of course, she is the only non-blonde child in the class.

(maybe i’m exaggerating here, there may be a few non-blondes. but you know, alll those white kids look the same)

It started almost TWO YEARS ago when she was racially attacked (https://peanutbutterinjerasandwiches.wordpress.com/2012/07/16/my-kids-not-racist/) I realized that I needed to teach her about racism so that she knew it when she saw it. So that people couldn’t use words against her, so that she would really know what was going on when ugly people belittled her…I already *knew* this, I just didn’t know that I’d have to start it so early in her life. I didn’t know people were racist against beautiful 3 yr old girls.

So I had to teach her about our ugly past (and present). We started way back in the Old Testament, with the Egyptians enslaving the Hebrews. We talked about The institution of African Slavery in the Americas. The American Civil War took place because enough people found slavery abhorrent & wanted it to end.  We talked about how there are still slaves everywhere in the world today.

MLKrally

We talk about how it is of utmost importance to speak up when someone is being held down. That may mean a child is being bullied at school. It may be a friend saying ugly things trying to be funny. It might be discriminatory laws. We talk about Malala Yousafzai, how she was shot in the head (along with 3 other girls) and how that didn’t stop her from doing what she knew was right to do & now she is changing the world. A teenage girl.

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I can make a difference. You can make a difference. She can make a difference. She WILL make a difference.

Shot Dead By Police & I’m Gonna Yell About It

I went to my first protest today!

There have been others that I meant to go to, but couldn’t make it work. This was an hour away, in the cold weather, but it’s a cause that is IMPORTANT to me.

On Sept 10, 14 a young bi-racial man was shot dead by the police for carrying a “sword” in public. It could have been my child.

I carried a sign, I marched, I yelled.

Also, Jasmine joined me!

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/10/28/darrien-hunt-official-autopsy_n_6063930.html

I Was Lied To

I was lied to.

I was taught that in America everyone was equal.

I was taught that individuals can make a difference when they fight the system.

I was taught that we fixed racism & now we all judged people according to their accomplishments.

I was taught feminism, communism, & talking back to adults was Bad.

I’m trying to re- learn. Dear God, what else did I get wrong?

A Little Bit About My Job

I’ve been accused recently of being racist. And, at about the same time, I’m seeing it happen on political discussions on the internet. People on the right are accusing those on the left of being “racist” because they keep dragging up history, because they won’t let the subject go, because everyone is the same & let’s just start from there. 

They aren’t saying that I’m racist in the conventional manner…they are saying that I am feeding the fire of hate by speaking up & bringing light to disparities or hate I see. They say that whites are having their place chipped away by minorities percieved “special needs”.

Yeah…I say… fuck that.

If I see racism, I’m calling it out. 

First of all, I am offended by it myself, even if it doesn’t actuallly effect me.

Second of all, things aren’t going to magically “get better” because it’s been 150 yrs since the Emancipation Proclimation, or because we have a black president.

Third of all, I have a black child. IT’S MY JOB. 

Let me repeat, CALLING OUT RACISM IS MY JOB. 

 

My Kid’s Not Racist

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My American Girl

Well, It happened.

Our beautiful girl has been home for 21 months. She’s almost 3 1/2 years old. And this beautiful, friendly, little girl has been told that she’s not liked because she’s black. And because she’s African, and nobody likes Ethiopia either.

By someone close to us.

I am so pissed. I am disappointed. I am sad.

This person is almost 11 yrs old, is the child of someone close to us, & is a neighbor.

Fortunately Jasmine was there. She yelled at him, she took Addis away, & she called & left a message on the parent’s phone. Not sure what I should do from here.

The thing is, I knew that this would happen, sooner or later. But by a friend?? And at THREE years old?? WTF?????