Two disturbed liberal parents

He’s named them Black Kid, Happy Kid, and Grandpa.

Obviously we must have helped him with the black label since that is most certainly learned (although I genuinely don’t remember saying anything), but the happy one? Both of the firefighters have the same exact face!

17 thoughts on “Two disturbed liberal parents

  1. Perhaps Gus felt the Little White Firefighter was rather dull and lacking in cultural texture, so he felt sorry for him and gave him an optimistic name?

  2. I like the way you think, Andie.

    But I also think Gus came up with the label himself. Not only did he name them very soon after opening the box, but he also doesn’t like the word brown and will go to great lengths to avoid saying it.

    I also don’t think he knows the name of the colour white (or pinkish grey).

    From this, I think you can assume that I’m not as disturbed as Em.

  3. To Gus black is just a colour (yes that is how you spell it). Only for adults does it have other layers. When she was about two Harriet once asked me wistfully why some people were made of chocolate !

  4. We’ve been reading that it is wise to point out and talk about differences so that they are understood (and thus not misunderstood). There is a great book Nurture Shock that discusses many things, including how to “raise a racist kid” or avoid raising one. Step one, don’t talk about race. Step two. There isn’t a step two. The best way to raise a racist kid is to not talk about it – to be “color/skin color blind” and silent is not good. Surprising. You think you are helping by treating everyone the same, but actually, according to this book (which has a bunch of studies of course) that is not a good thing at all. This point is mentioned in this post, which refernces Nurture Shock.

    http://www.wired.com/geekdad/2010/02/how-to-raise-racist-kids/

    Food for thought.

  5. We have 6 ducks in the bath, all identical except for colours. The other night Daniella went through them all saying they were happy or sad – one of them was apparently sad, all the others were happy..who knows how they determine this?

  6. We’ve been reading that it is wise to point out and talk about differences so that they are understood (and thus not misunderstood). There is a great book, “Nurture Shock” that discusses many things, including how to “raise a racist kid” or avoid raising one. Step one, don’t talk about race. Step two. There isn’t a step two. The best way to raise a racist kid is to not talk about it – to be “color blind” and silent. Surprising. You think you are helping by treating everyone the same, though silently, but actually, according to this book (which has a bunch of studies, of course) silence is not a good thing at all. This point is mentioned in this post, which refernces Nurture Shock.

    http://www.wired.com/geekdad/2010/02/how-to-raise-racist-kids/

    Food for thought.

  7. That’s super interesting. I bet A. Lani has something to add since she teaches this topic at OSU, but based on some of the things she has said, it sounds like unless you actively teach your kids about this, the media will do it for you.

  8. Olivia once referenced a “black kid” when she was littler. I shuddered to myself and wondered how to respond until I noticed that the kid in question was wearing a black shirt.

  9. Yep, Emily is correct. For 17 years I’ve been teaching about the ethics of race and gender and socioeconomic class and all the isms and we just don’t want to talk about it for fear that we will be tagged as one of the “ists.” I agree with Tricia. Not mentioning race, for example, makes it seem like there is something “wrong” with it. Today, an African American young woman and grad student in our class stood in front of the class (I asked her to trust me and she did), and I asked the rest of the class to describe _who_ she was. Well, we don’t have any language for that so they gave a list of _whats_ that she is but, and this is the point of this somewhat long story, no one mentioned she was Black until the sixth !!! descriptor. (I had told her in advance that it would not be mentioned until five or six.) This, even though it is the very first thing any person in the room would notice without question – even before her femaleness. There is a great saying – your/our silence will not protect us. And, it seems to me that silence is assent (Rousseau) and what we assent to is the Othering of Black people, for example, or any of the other “isms.” Sorry to get carried away but Em and I have had a side discussion about this and since this is what is on my mind due to teaching, I just uncorked the bottle.

  10. Aunt Lani asked me to ask Gus which one he thought he was, so I lined them up and he pointed to the Grandpa. Charles was the white firefighter and I was the black one. He clearly had no preconceived ideas about them. It was pretty random.

    If I had to guess, I’d say his main distinguisher overall is the fact that they are figherfighter kids. Which is just one step down from a backhoe driver. (And just two steps down from God herself).

  11. Aunt Nette – I should have paid more attention! Maybe the hot pink one?? I think it was to do with their position as they were lined up along the edge of the tub, that one probably was turned around a little more towards the wall..

    With so few black people on the streets of Australia its not a conversation we have needed to have yet. But for quite some time after we came back from Fiji last year, every rare time Daniella did see a black person, she said “Bula!” 🙂

  12. Love the conversation. When my kids were toddlers they had next to zero black people but were surrounded by Alaska Natives, indeed we had Native relatives, and they were never considered “others” to our kids. We had close family lesbian couples and that was so ‘normal’ for the kids that it bore only some rudimentary discussion about other people’s prejudices. We somehow were able to avoid having those big chats about the otherness of people different from us. In fact the most otherness we had to deal with were people on the right of the political center, and those who were fundamentalist Christian.

  13. Belated Happy birthday.I had emailed you .Hope everybody is fine Gus looks very cute.Love from Kiran mama.We all remeber you.Goa is very worm these days
    Gopal Kiran Tandon & Fly

  14. Elizabeth would probably rate a woof woof woof above God herself. She has firefighters in one book, but really the woof woof is valued more.
    ~ Dadum (her goodbye)

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