Sunday, November 30, 2014

Talking To Your Kids About Racism and Bigotry

This past weekend I wanted to take my grandchildren for a ride to look at some of the historical landmarks in Tangipahoa Parish, Louisiana. We came up on an old store with a gas pump that appeared to be from the 50s in Roseland, Louisiana., right on Highway 51 North. As usual I wanted to photograph some of the building captures moments of the past.

What I didn't want to hold on too was some of the racism we as African American people had to face in Tangipahoa Parish. I was just about the same age my grandchildren are when I had to face the ugly faces of racism, and now my grandchildren met it as well.

We pulled up and waiting for the person who was taking photographs of the same building to finish take her photographs. The little old gray headed white woman didn't say a word to her. She allowed her to take her pictures. When my grandchildren and I started taking our pictures she rushed over there. My grandchildren spoke and wave at her several times and she refused to speak to them.

Once they got back to the car they started talking to me about how mean she was. They couldn't understand why she was so mean and hateful. I explained to them that some people are that way and the little old woman was one of those people.

As old as she is, someone would think that she wouldn't want die with those ugly feeling of hatred in her heart especially where children are concerned. We know that it wasn't only white people who patronized her store. Many African American people on the northern end of the parish patronized her business establishment.

After posting the photographs on Facebook this morning, a woman named Rochelle said," I remember going there when I was a young girl, as we were getting out of the car a little boys shouted something I won't repeat." I just told someone about that experience a few days ago. That just gave me chills. It probably the same lady too. I'll never forget that. It was my first real experience with racism.

It maybe hard to talk with your children or grandchildren about racism but we can't be afraid to talk with them about the ugly face of racism.

Look for the teaching moments and take the opportunity to teach them and by all means be truthful with them. Teach them to treat all people with respect and dignity. We can't alway keep our children shield from bigotry,  nor can we always shield them from people who are prejudiced.