Tag Archives: multiculturalism

People, Ron’s Big Mission and Amazing Grace

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I’ve been so busy trying to keep the kids busy this summer that I have not had a chance to post a weekly multicultural book or talk about WeStories– the organization I have had a chance to volunteer and get involved with these past couple of months. So today I will highlight 3 multicultural books.

In May we attended our kick-off for WeStories and received our bookbag with multicultural books. They were books I had never heard of, much less read. Loved it. Still reading the books with the kids. Some of them were sad and they were shocked/taken by it- trying to process all the feelings around segregation and racism. It’s hard for us adults to process so imagine kids doing that. But it’s important work and I will continue and talk to them, push past my own comfort zone knowing that my children will be better for it. Considering everything going on in the world right now- I think there is no better time to do this. We must do this. Educate our children in age-appropriate ways on topics of race and skin color and the history/legacy of our country around these two topics.

People by Peter Spier

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People is the simplest of all these books and it places a strong value and emphasis on the beauty of diversity in this world. Highlights different cultures, skin colors, nose shapes, religions, languages and customs. A book you can go back to again and again.

Ron’s Big Mission by Rose Blue and Corrine J. Naden

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Ron’s Big Mission was super sad because it features a little boy who lives in segregated 1950’s South Carolina. My kids couldn’t understand why he wasn’t able to get his own library card. As proud card holders themselves for years now, this really disturbed them. Lots of conversations around emotions and anger after reading the book.

Amazing Grace by Mary Hoffman

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Amazing Grace was a big hit with Baby Girl. Not only does Hoffman tackle cultural stereotypes but gender ones as well. This book empowers and paints a picture of girls being more than just quiet, polite, rule-abiding children. Long live Grace and all the rules she breaks in this book!

Happy reading and warm snuggles.

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Silent No Longer

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I just can’t anymore. It’s been a long, emotionally trying week here in America. I find myself at a loss for something. Not quite sure. Loss of innocence? Loss of trust? Loss of life and love and compassion for other human beings? 

All over social media – you are either on one side or the other, it’s us vs. them.  The comments that people write are horrible. And I’m exhausted. I’m sorry but it is not my job to educate you on what white privilege is. It’s not on me to have to explain why every life is precious- regardless of prior criminal record and socio-economic level. 

You feel empathy for me because you can’t imagine how hard it must be right now to be a mother of black sons in America? Well- don’t. Don’t feel sorry for me. Do me a favor. Educate yourself. Take a course on “witnessing whiteness” through your local YWCA. Read books – lots of them- I have a long list if you are interested. Learn the history of this country- not the one they taught you a long time ago back in high school from an outdated textbook but learn the history from black, Latino, Asian and Native American perspectives. You will be shocked of what you learn and it will give you a much richer perspective of the diversity of America.

Please- don’t post that it’s not a black man issue. That you are going to educate your children to respect authority (as if that was the issue), that it came down to personal choice (as if they had a choice). Don’t send me videos through messenger that explain why police killing these black men was justified (your side of things as you put it- I’m not against you or what you stand for but this is how I see things you said). We are better than all of this and it’s insulting. 

It’s on all of us. This issue will not go away. We need serious changes in this country when it comes to criminal justice and law enforcement systems. But it all starts with each individual acknowledging that there are serious problems here.

Really take a deep look at yourself and ask these questions-

What internal racisms and biases do I personally have? (We ALL have them- to admit otherwise is naive) 

How are those biases being passed on to my children? 

Finally- what can I personally do to confront those biases? This will involve doing lots of things outside of your comfort zone. Go meet people who are completely different than yourself- go to places that you normally don’t go to. Challenge yourself to learn something new about a different culture every day. 

This is our defining moment people. Years from now the history books will paint this time of 2016 in a certain light- similar perhaps to the year -1968? 

Where we go from here matters. The world, this country, our legacy, our children’s futures depend on it. 

Art and Thinking Twice

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With the end of the school year, I had the pleasure of reviewing all the kids’ artwork from their art classes. What a surprise I found- I love learning new things about my kids and the way they think. It makes me think about how the stuff we talk about at home impacts what they say and do out in the world.

All 3 are in summer camps this week, so I find myself with a few hours of spare time. Wouldn’t you know it- accompanied by a terrible head cold. I am so mad about it- going on day 5. Instead of enjoying the nice weather and going for a walk or yoga class, I find myself at home, sniffling, doped up on medicine and napping. It could be worse I suppose- I know. So, I’ll quit whining.

Back to the artwork. Second, Most Honorable Son drew the above piece. By itself it doesn’t say much. Accompanied by this caption- however – it speaks volumes.

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The world is a whole place with diversity in it. Black, brown, white, yellow, tan, every color of the rainbow. Every color is needed and it is a beautiful thing. Words captured by a 10-year-old boy on how he views the world.

Here is Big Boy’s self-reflection pastel portrait. Loving it and so proud of my boys. They never fail to amaze me. This morning while watching CNN, a commercial for UNICEF came up with Alyssa Milano as the voice-over. As we heard about the “poor children who are starving and dying in the world because of lack of food,” I asked them- does this commercial make you think twice about throwing away your food and not eating it? No- they responded. “It makes us wonder why they only show black and brown children?” I was shocked. I had never thought about that commercial in that way. Despite seeing it or versions of it throughout the past 30 years of my life. Well said, my boys. Well said. In so many ways- through television, social media stories, throughout history and how it’s presented to us are we only shown part of the story, through a lens of bias, stereotypes and assumptions.

How many other things out there do I just dismiss and not think twice about how or what the message is that is being presented to me/us? There is much to think about here.

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