Thursday, May 20, 2010

The Content of Her Character

We probably don't wash her as often as we should.

For the first four years of her life, she rode the 3% pediatric weight curve unfailingly.

She---not unlike her mother---has a complexion reminiscent of Elmer's Glue. So fair, black lights often trigger a glow.

Few are as feminine.

No matter the accuracy, when a good friend's big sister berates her younger sibling for hanging out with a "dirty little white girl," the words hurt.

Is the name-calling 10-year-old a racist? Is she the progeny of prejudiced parents? Could she be the product of a still-steeped-in-Southern-tradition society?

My belief? She's a fourth grader: an insecure, immature, unthinking, pushing the envelope fourth grader.

Should the principal be told? Perhaps. Can the sisterhood-knows-no-color second graders educate (and elicit an apology from) their older schoolmate? Perhaps. Can't we all just get along? Perhaps.

What I do know: wisdom takes root early. From my typically tough She-Twin's own slightly aquiver lips this morning, "I think Dr. Martin Luther King would be very disappointed in what ________ called me."

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Goddess in Progress said...

Oh, poor Sarah. What a hurtful thing for the child to have said. Whatever the reason or background, kids can be so cruel. I have no idea what the right thing is to do (though it is reminding me of the chapter in Nurtureshock about "why white parents don't talk about race").

Sarah, of course, is absolutely right. Dr. King and anyone else would (and should) be deeply disappointed.

Dana said...

This makes me so sad for Sarah. Please give her an extra hug from me. As a teacher, I think it should be addressed, but I understand if Sarah just wants it to go away. I am proud of her response.

Steph said...

Oh Cheryl, I'm so sorry. My heart is breaking as I read this. I hope Sarah is doing okay.

At the same age, I encountered my first racist remark. A girl on the playground called me Chinese Head. I know how much it hurts. To this day, I just don't understand it.

I think Dr. King would be so very proud of Sarah for her response. I know I was not that mature at her age! You've got a good kid.

Val said...

Good job Sarah and good job Mom. I hope Sarah is able to embrace the name caller as well, who is probably in need of some guidance and love :)

Rebecca said...

Poor thing...I'm sure you guys will figure this out, but it sucks to see your child hurting (even if she tries to act brave).

Jeremi said...

That's a tough one -- but what a wise little girl you have!!

Terra said...

Oh that breaks my heart and yet warms it too. She is so right, not only would Dr. King be disappointed but many others as well. School can be such a hard thing, kids can be so cruel sometimes without even knowing it...That little darling of yours is going to grow up strong!

MandyE (Twin Trials and Triumphs) said...'s incredible what kids will say. I hope you're right, that the older child is just pushing the envelope and saying something she doesn't really understand. In any case, I think you should be really proud of your daughter's reaction. That's a smart girl you have. :)

cat said...

Oh Cheryl, I just love it that she is educated enough to make that remark. She is a strong and beautiful girl. You can think that in our rainbow nation these things also happens.

girlytwins said...

Wow, Poor baby. I am so not ready for this. It must be so hard as a parent to do the right thing, which you obviously have done :) A little boy made one of my girls cry by telling her she was poopyhead, I wanted to pinch him LOL, but I refrained.

Cheryl Allen Salinas said...

Sarah is an amazing, beautiful, intelligent and gifted girl. Tell her to let the words roll off her back like water off a duck's. Girls can be very cruel. You can tell Sarah about Mrs. Salinas' bewilderment when two little girls whispered and stared at me in kindergarten and then the brave one walked up and said, "You Chinese, ain't you?" Not as cruel, but still odd, and now it's just something to giggle over! I pray this little bump in the road for Sarah is just that to her and something she can see for how little it really means to her. Lots of love to all you wonderful people!

Nancy said...

Oh Sarah. I just want to hug you! What a grown-up response. Go Sarah, and go Mommy.

Barbara Manatee said...

Poor Sarah! My nephew is being bullied pretty badly right now and my brother and SIL are taking it above the school since its keeps happening and nothing is being done. SO tough to see your kids be hurt and/or bullied by other kids. :-(

Shelby said...

Cheryl, I attempted to post here the other day, but for some reason it wouldn't work. I'm sure you are just so proud of her! It sounds like you are raising a very classy young lady!

Wahzat Gayle said...

oh that is so sad... your daughter is such a sweetie and she is right Mr. King would be disappointed. it is just so painful when children are mean to each other sad!

your daughter is gorgeous you tell her that!