Thursday, August 21, 2008

My Racist 4 year old son

We were at the family dinner table the other night, my boys, my husband and I. We were all just chatting away about my youngest son's up and coming 5th birthday party. What would you like for your birthday? Would you like a theme? Shall we make it fancy dress?....You know the kind of exciting conversation. He was explaining he would like an animal theme...Then he could dress up as his favorite animal...The fast and amazing cheetah. The conversation was filled with hopeful anticipation we he suddenly said, "But I only want people with my skin to come." My husband and I stopped in our tracks and stared at each other from across the table. "What do you mean?" I asked. Then confirming our dreaded fear he said, "I don't want anyone with brown or black skin to come."......Deadly silence. My husband and I looked at each other in disbelief. WTF? I started to say that was a ridiculous request.....Everybody has different hair colour, eyes, skin tone. If he was going to start picking his friends based on whether they were like him or not, he'd end up with no friends...."Look at Daddy," I said, "he doesn't have blue eyes like we do. Should we stop him from being part of our family? He is different to us."....After more discussion he realized his initial request was flawed as he had friends of varying skin tones and decided to forget the idea.....Just a little thought and discussion and the matter resolved...for now.

But where did this come from? I decided to talk to his kindy teacher about it. Being an Indian South African, I figured she'd know a thing or two about racism. She laughed about it and said she thought there was nothing in it. She said something about "youthful innocence". Maybe she's right....I'd certainly hope so...Did she really believe that though? We have no reason to believe he was being "a racist" as this issue has never come up before.

But it bugs me so much. Why? I am of Scandinavian decent. I have fair skin, blue eyes and very blonde hair....Yet I have always thought about race, culture and wondered where I fit into "the big picture". I've always felt a kind of guilt attached to my skin colour. An ugliness....I felt shame at my son's comments.....(But they probably don't mean anything.)

I'm going back to University next year. Going to study Social Anthropology. I had been in the enrollment process when my son made his timely statements....Along with this I am currently reading Barack Obama's autobiography....All of which has really got me thinking.....

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Tea and sympathy

I talked to my friend today. Don't know if I feel better or worse for it. Forget me, I wonder if she found it helpful explaining her plans? We shared afternoon tea while our boys innocently played together. She told me rather calmly and unemotionally why she had to leave him...(Or kick him out I should say.) She's bored, going mad, scared that this is it. She hates her life in suburbia. Is bored, bored, bored......We all know this story well...It's textbook really.....I find it crazy/ironic that she helped to create this idyllic life with all it's order and comfort and yet now that it's done and everything has gone "according to plan", she wants out. Is that right? It seems entirely unfair. Her husband hasn't changed, she has. He doesn't want to change. He's happy with his life....At least he was. Now he has 2 options. 1.) Become someone she wants/needs and change his lifestyle, or 2.) Stay the same, which will mean a change in lifestyle is unavoidable anyway as she will leave him. A rock and a hard place?

What she really wants to know is is he going to fight for her? Is he going to try and win her back? If he does, I'm sure she'd be up for it.....But it's the million dollar question. Is it worth it?

I know I would fight for my marriage. If not for myself, then of course for the kids. My parent's split started a chain of events that bought heartache after heartache. Boredom and dissatisfaction is no excuse for that.....I hope they can work it out. I really do. It would be such a shameful failure otherwise.

Somehow she needs to feel empowered again. Unfortunately, at this stage, she sees their separation as her only means of doing that....They say that nothing is new under the sun...I'd just rather not see history repeating here.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

She tells me they're seperating

I have some friends that aren't the types of friends I thought I would have ever made. Very sensible. He's a manager in a large insurance company, she's a full time mum and part time accountant for a small business. They have a nice suburban home in a beautiful new subdivision....Double garage...two cats, large family portraits in expensive frames on the walls...Am I painting a picture? We were kind of forced into a friendship with them as their two boys become close friends with ours and we'd always meet at kindy xmas parties, birthdays and on the soccer sidelines. As the familiarity grew, over the years so too did our friendship.

Today she dropped a bomb. They have decided to separate. She told me this as all four boys were yelling and playing together. (My youngest had been playing with her youngest at their place while I took the older boys to soccer practice.) Nobody knows yet...They made the decision on Sunday night...Still yet to tell the boys...I'm the only one that knows.

We couldn't talk then. I'm going over tomorrow afternoon. The two younger boys can play together while she reveals the heartache over tea and cookies. They will be none the wiser of the doom that is about to break their little hearts.....It happened to me when I was seven...I can still remember the physical pain in my chest when my parents told me they didn't love each other.

I'm the first to know. This is what life is all about. Loneliness is a crippling disease. I hope I can make a difference in this world......Let me start by loving my neighbor.

Monday, August 4, 2008

I'm very new to all of this....

I have nothing to say at this stage. Just getting started on the whole blog scene. I'm hoping that doing this will help me to collect my thoughts and be more clear headed. My head swirls with thoughts and my body is often controlled by feelings. Hopefully by getting them down/out I'll be a better person within my world.

If you're reading this, don't expect greatness to come. However, I'm sure that over time, plenty would have been shared and hopefully conclusions made.

Here goes......