Friday, January 17, 2014

Are You Mexican?

Dear Diary,

I work in a bilingual school. 
The minorities are the majority here.
These dark haired children with varying degrees of beautiful, not-so-pale skin dominate the hallways and classrooms.  I am hard pressed to find any child of Anglo/European descent in the building.

Family and friends who are readers of this blog know what I look like. But in case a reader comes across this highly entertaining and thoughtful diary who has never heard of LJ, let me provide a sweeping generalization.

I am of Euro descent. Gazing upon my countenance one might guess I am German, which is partly correct; however, thanks to my maternal grandmother, I have more Bohemian in me than any other single nationality. So it is fair to say I am...well...fair!

This week I had the privilege of participating in this conversation in my kindergarten room. Names have been changed.

Niki (to her friend):  Katy, are you Mexican?  I'm Mexican.
Katy:  I'm Mexican-American.
Niki:  I will make you a bracelet that's Mexican! (Turns to other friend) Claire, are you Mexican?
Claire: No, I'm not from Mexico.
Niki (turning to me): Mrs. LJ, are you Mexican?

The absurdity of her question really made me laugh (inwardly of course) as I straight-faced answered her, "No. No I'm not Mexican."

But the really cool thing about that exchange was that it wasn't an absurd question to her.  At five years old, she has little notion about what being Mexican -- or any minority for that matter -- means. 
Thus she did not hesitate to ask her blond haired, blue eyed teacher, "Are you Mexican?".

We are approaching the birthday of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. 
As part of his famous I Have A Dream speech, he said:
"I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character."
Dr. King, I just met your dream, and her name is Niki.


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