I was talking to my kids the other night about the shooting at the Sikh Temple in Wisconsin (yes, we talk about such things, because I figure they're going to hear about it somehow, and I'd rather it be from me). In the course of that discussion, I had to explain what a white supremacist is. I told them that there were people who hated others who weren't white, to lots of expressions of disbelief from the girls. I mean, who silly is that?! What does the color of someone's skin have to do with anything?! People are all people, after all. And, of course, the always unanswerable question -- why?! Why do people think that way? I had to say I didn't know why some people think that way.
And kids being kids, and thus the center of the universe, they needed to know what white supremacists would think about their Chinese selves. They talked about some of the times people have said things to them about their eyes or skin -- like the Chinese eyes teasing at school, and the incident at ballet where the little girl told Zoe her skin looked dirty, like it was covered in mud, and the little boy who said Maya couldn't sit next to him because she was Chinese. I said I didn't think those kids were white supremacists, but they were definitely ignorant. I said I hoped they learned better before they grew up.
Maya then came up with the perfect idea: "If I had a wish," she said, "I'd wish that those white supremacists could have black or brown skin, and then they'd know."
Indeed. Then they'd know.
Still hoping for change
4 weeks ago