Inauguration Day Conversation

After watching the momentous swearing in of Obama, I had to return to my regularly scheduled life.  So as I was nuking a hot dog for DD#2 and frying bologna for me and DD#1 (Aren’t we eating so healthy today?  At least it’s protein.), DD#1 started complaining that people should get the day off for the inauguration of the president.  I explained that most people were off yesterday for Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday and couldn’t have both days off.  She concluded that the inauguration was more important than MLK’s birthday.  While agreed that the inauguration is important, I noted that Obama probably would not be president right now with out the dedication of MLK.

From time to time we have discussed racism, slavery, segregation, etc, spurred by overheard conversations and Beatles songs, but since she is only six this is a complex topic that will have to continually be examined for her to fully understand.  So I started talking about segregation, and when I mentioned that some things were designated for “whites” only and that people of our ethnicity would be considered “whites” this was her response:

DD#1:  We’re not white!!!  I’m not white!!!  I’m an American.

Me:  American is your nationality, not your race.  Any person who is a citizen of this country is an American no matter what color their skin is.  I know that you have always said that we have “pink” skin, but most people would consider us to be “white”.

DD#1:  But if we were white, we would have voted for Hillary Clinton.

Me:  That’s not true.  In our country, any one can vote for any one they choose no matter what color any one’s skin is.

DD#1:  And Barack Obama is an American.

Me:  Yes, Barack Obama is an an American.

DD#1:  My skin is not white.  See; my skin is pink.  Not bright pink like a doll’s dress, but a lighter pink.

These were probably some of the funniest and most profound observations that she has made about race since she was about four.  At that time she had asked what the term “black people” meant.  After explaining the terminology we discussed how we all have unique physical characteristics like skin color and hair color.  She said, “Or some of us have orange ear wax and some of us have orangey-yellow ear wax.”  Even a child can see that such differences shouldn’t count for very much.  And I’m proud that this country could see it, too.

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