Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Race Relations ("The Help")

Over the past weeks I have read many favorable comments about a new book and movie called "The Help." I've even watched the official trailer more than once. Unfortunately, though, neither the book nor the film have arrived in Chile just yet. While I therefore cannot speak from personal experience, I am contenting myself with reading the writings of those who do.

One such piece of writing was this blog post written by Molly. As a mother to a black daughter, she cares deeply about the issue of race relations and she took the time to share a few "super, super easy" things that families can do to bring positive change. Please take a few moments to read her post today!

I especially resonated with this statement Molly made: "You might not ever have watched your child cringe while another child points out that their skin is different from everyone else they know. I have."

Just yesterday we experienced this (again) with Ian and Alec. While waiting to get a new visa stamp in their passport at the Chile/Peru border we were surrounded by strangers from two countries who were all quite fascinated with the two little "morenitos" (dark-skinned boys.) There were curious questions aplenty and of course the not unusual request for a photograph. Soon enough I simply put on my "blinders" - which means I focused on my two boys, and only on my two boys - and tried to politely ignore the stares and conversations around us.

Apparently Ian, however, was still quite aware of the looks he was receiving because he suddenly startled me by saying very curtly, enunciating each word, to a nearby woman: "Stop. Looking. Me. Tia!" ("Tia" which literally means "aunt" is the term children in Chile use to politely address adult women.) I had to stifle a laugh while I shushed him and said that wasn't a polite way to speak to grown ups - not that her staring was polite either - but at the same time I couldn't quite blame him! And I imagine it's just that sort of scenario Molly is referring to in her post.

I hope you'll read Molly's thoughts. Because whether we've already begun to address race relations in our own hearts and families or not ... we can always do better!

1 comment:

panim said...

Good comments. Funny thing is, Mati & Juliana get comments all the time but because they are so white! And I've noticed that at times it actually does bother them. Guess we all need to be more sensitive.