Wednesday, January 14, 2009

That Time of Year!

It's that time of year again -- around MLK's birthday -- when we have lots of conversations about race at our house. Now, it's not the only time we talk about race, but the girls always have lots of questions about Jim Crow (they don't know to call it that particularly, but that's what the questions are about), civil rights, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Rosa Parks, etc.

Zoe came home from school yesterday singing a very cool new song:

1. If you miss me from the back of the bus
And you can’t find me nowhere
Come on up to the front of the bus
I’ll be riding up there (3x)

2. If you miss me from Jackson State
And you can’t find me nowhere
Come on over to Ole Miss
I’ll be studying over there (3x)

3. If you miss me from the cotton fields
And you can’t find me nowhere
Come on down to the courthouse
I’ll be voting right there (3x)

Click here for the full lyrics.

All this led to a really interesting discussion about racial teasing, and both girls tell me they haven't experienced it at all (I know that kids don't always tell their parents about it, but I asked it enough different ways that I'm pretty sure they're telling it to me straight.)

We were talking about what they could do if there was such teasing, with lots of role-play -- "what would you do if someone did/said . . . ." Zoe just blew me away with one of her answers. I asked, "What would you do if someone was speaking in fake-Chinese [you know the funny sounds to insert here, I'm sure] to tease you?"

Zoe responded, "I'd say, [and then all in Chinese] 'Hello, My name is Zoe and I'm 8 years old. How are you? Do you like school? I have a mother, a younger sister and a grandmother (maternal) and grandfather (maternal). How about you?' And then when they asked me what I said, I'd answer, 'You must know -- you DO speak Chinese, don't you?!'"

Smart cookie!


Sheri said...

Ohhhhh, GOOD one, Zoe!!! That was an utterly PERFECT response - well done!!! You go, girl!! :)

Wendy said...

I LOVE her response!

We talk about race a lot as well. M has several books about many people from all backgrounds and we incorporate them into our daily life and discussions. She has had someone not tease, but ask several times about being Chinese--mainly about why we are not (that was at Chinese school) so adoption language and WISE Up helped a lot there. She also gets a lot of comments about limb difference--I would recommend Wise Up for those occassions too--M uses it more for that.

Mei-Ling said...

Let's hope she keeps that confidence. :D

malinda said...

Oh, yes, I hope she keeps her high level of confidence -- but, of course, it's a little different coming up with an answer when someone is bullying you and when you're sitting on your bed talking to Mama! Let's hope the role-play gives her a fighting chance to say it in the heat of battle!

Lisa said...

Malinda - As we have discussed, I think you having Zoe in a school that represents multiple cultures is key for her low incidence of teasing. Sydney has already named two people who did the "eye thing" with their fingers (she showed me). She thought it was amusing?! Early experiences, I don't think the other 2nd graders mean any harm. I am going for her Forever Day at the end of the month, will give me a chance to enhance their adoption education!