This story is painful to tell. I'm almost embarassed that it actually went down.
But i am going to share it with you all, in hopes of finding some way to deal with it. I've told you before that the name of this blog is "Raising a Revolutionary" because i seem to have produced the most rebellious little angel the world could know.
But most of the time, i think all of her rebellion is really just some big attention-getting scheme.
We were in the car at the airport yesterday, just her and me. She was about to fly off for three weeks with her grandparents, and we were spending a few moments together alone. A lady was loading a baby with cute pink fingernails, coffee-colored skin, and a tuft of sweet baby fluff into a car next to where we parked. I said something like, "look at that cute little baby over there," to my rebelangel. She sighed, and with a mischievious look, responded "I don't like brown people."
O. My. God.
A few weeks ago we talked about Dr. King and how he helped make sure all kids could go to school together.
A few weeks before that she'd been at the birthday party of one of her favorite friends, who is a lovely shade of caffe-con-leche.
And one of her favorite things to do is enjoy a clandestine bowl of ice cream with one of my favorite friends' husbands -- who is a shade of tawny brown.
During that talk about Dr. King i called them "brown people" because i don't like the term "black" to describe someone who really is not "black" at all. So here she was, parrotting my term and twisting it around, knowing full well it would piss me off.
So should i let it? Or should i just know that it was something she said to get a rise out of me, and i should just let it go?
In my dismay, i told her harshly that that is not the way we talk about people, just because they are different. I tried to explain that how would she feel if someone didn't like her, just because she has yellow hair and blue eyes. And i reminded her of all her brown friends, who would be sad if they heard her say such things. (This reminds me of my radio show with Damali Ayo, an activist who speaks out against the concept of having the "token black friend." Perhaps pointing out who our dark-skinned friends are is in this category, but it's also teaching a humanizing lesson in this case...)
She got a little choked up when i mentioned her favorite friend and her favorite ice cream conspirator. So i hope the admonishment hit home.
Like i said, i think she acts the rebel part just to get a rise out of me. This time, it really worked. But i hope she walked away knowing that somethings are just not ok to be a rebel about. I can handle the fact that she's a lifelong vegetarian who is curious about meat. I can handle that she likes Hannah Montana shirts over the organic cotton one i bought her. But this is too much, and i hope she gets that.