A regional event.
Get in a car.
Drive forty minutes.
Pay $20.00 for a family of four.
Sit outside at a picnic table in 33 degree weather not including wind chill, and eat your plate of not from scratch pancakes.
Drown the pretty good anyway pancakes with the amber syrup that was produced this season.
Listen to the banjo music by the very talented trio of high school boys.
Lose a balloon.
Pet a cow.
Go home, talking about how fun that was.
Imagine you live somewhere where the regional activity draws people from the region
who are the same skin color as your children.
At least one?
Eat more cotton candy, and feel gratitude that the movie being played in the van of the friends who invited you out with them, is The Princess and the Frog.
Lower your voice as you tell your friend that you don’t know how much longer you can live in a place that is so white.
Tell her you want your children to be able to have a black doctor, dentist, teacher, or shop owner.
Recall how Sammy told you last night that Maine has lots of black people-
at our church.
Notice how understanding her nod is.
Look at the pictures of the maple syrup together that you took, and notice all the different shades locked away for safe keeping in all of those little jars saturated with light.
This post just sparked a conversation between me and my friend who used to live in New Hampshire. I can only imagine living in such a monoculture, well, actually, nope, I know what that’s like, lol. There were no white people in my old neighborhood. I am so glad that I was able to raise my daughter for the past 7 years in a community that has folks from all over the globe, but only because I happened to have her when I was in college! And that’s not even saying that she is exposed to African American history or African culture through her school, but at least she does get to see some folks that look like her. Agh! Ok, now I’m kinda depressed.
Ms. Bar B,
So powerful to read your words here-as they mirror this intense thought process I am involved in too. It isn’t a monoculture here-not as you would expect anyway, not where we live. There are something like thirty seven languages spoken in the elementary/middle/ and hs here. But families that look like ours are few and far between. And, furthermore what the boys are not seeing are many people of hue in positions that they might themselves wish to achieve (doctors, educators, representatives, store owners or managers etc.) which feels important to me. And yet, the AME Zion church here for example is supposedly one of the most racially inclusive in the country. The boys will be/ are learning about diversity, world and AA history and culture in the schools, and in the community. (The middle school here is doing an expedition on the American Civil Rights Movement for example.) So both you and I have things that feel important to us, and things that are missing is what it feels like. Your response is deepening my thinking, as is this entire process, thank you!
I think you’re right about wanting to find a place where your kids will have role models they can identify with all around them in the community, where the diverse society has made equity something imperative for all teachers to be aware of and address in their teaching. Good luck in finding a new home! It’ll be a great experience for your children to grow up in at least a couple of different places, and to gain confidence in their ability to cope with the moves; I’m sure it’ll bring them closer as siblings too.
Believe me, it’s a challenge everywhere. I take the girls to free events and still don’t see a lot of children of color.
I feel like I am in a constant struggle to fight the divisiveness of class to incorporate more diversity in my son’s life. I have to say – I am pretty sure I am failing miserably. You are not alone. By the way – of course, my pregnant butt is totally consumed by your photos of maple syrup and I am now preparing Isaiah (we are off from school and work this week) to go grab some breakfast take out lol.
Tiara-I would love to read more about “fighting the divisiveness of class” to incorporate more diversity… in your experience. I have had other readers share similar sentiments with me, on and off line. I get it, and I would like to know how you navigate this, and how you create a context for this discussion with your family? Hope the syrup was delicious!