At lunch, the three of us had a good talk about the Civil Rights Movement, and Dr. King's role in it. And we talked about the fact that the movement was a non-violent one, and how hard that non-violence must have been when police arrested Rosa Parks or sicced dogs on teens peacefully sitting in at an all-white lunch counter.
At some point, one of the girls said something about how happy Dr. King must be to see how his dream has come true. I cautioned them that there was still prejudice and discrimination in the U.S. and in the world, so the dream hadn't yet come completely true. Zoe wanted to know how discrimination against African-Americans still happens, and I mentioned that some people might not want to hire someone or live in the same neighborhood as someone who is black (FYI, 86% of suburban whites live in communities that are less than 1% black, and schools are even more segregated than they were when MLK was assassinated).
Then Zoe wanted to know if people still discriminate against Asian Americans. I said yes, and explained that one of the most common thing I hear Asian adults complain about is that some people don't see them as American, that people might ask them if they speak English or ask who they would support in a war between America and China.
Maya thought that last part, who to support in a war between America and China, was a really tough question she had to answer: "I don't know. . . I know an awful lot of good people in America, and I came from China and there are an awful lot of good people there. . . ." Zoe, like a bad law student, fought the hypothetical: "That's a dumb question. There won't be a war between China and America. That's dumb."
I found myself trying to explain the proxy war between North and South Korea in the 1950s and in Vietnam in the 1960s and 70s -- and then said, "Wait a minute, she's only 10!" and dropped it. Still, you can see the issue hit home with her. Here's Zoe's contribution to the MLK Day gallery:
In case you can't read what she wrote, here it is:
I HAVE A DREAM . . . That Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s dream will come true. That everyone will get together. That there will be no more War. That all races will join together. That slaves will be set free. That everyone will be treated equally. That the world will come in Peace . . .AND. . .FIGHT FOR FREEDOM!
(OK, I'm hoping that "fight for freedom" thing is metaphorical or the whole peace/no war thing comes across as a bit hypocritical!)
And notice the No War drawing -- a person under a China flag and a person under a USA flag taking aim with guns.
So here's joining my girls in wishing you all hope, love and peace on this special day.