You know, I walk around in this world of ours and it just astounds me how arrogant people sound when speaking about each other. The fact that it's nearly 2016 and I still hear people being referred to/ described as: "Black, White, Cuban, Asian, etc. (and their “slang” counterparts) is utterly ridiculous. Sadly, it doesn't even stop there. Aside from using racist remarks, we have now seemed to become a society that marks people according to their weight, religion and sexual preferences too. It’s gone on long enough! We are not a “stupid society” and yet we act like it, every chance we get. No matter where you turn, It seems that we are all "Labeled" something, instead of just simply calling ourselves "human" instead.
I read a Face Book post the other day from a dear friend who has a beautiful little boy, that happens to be a wonderful mix of Italian and African-American origins. Sadly, it seems that he is already feeling the cold grips of racism, after another little boy in his class refused to stand next to him because his "hair" was/looked different than his own. Insanely sad! It broke my heart to read such a thing. Now, I get that children are innocent and will simply comment on what they see but, it's up to parents, families and teachers to nail this as early on in their young lives as possible- that we are all the same. One human race. One love. Period! We are not born racist or sexist- we are taught to be. It's a fact.
Now, I know that I’m going to feel the heat of this blog from parents everywhere, but so be it. I think we have all tip-toed around this subject for far too long and I am personally done! I am holding adults everywhere, responsible.
No, we cannot be with our children at all time and yes, what they hear/pick up at school cannot be made to be the parents fault. OK. But I ask you this: Where do the children from the playground, class room, daycare, neighborhood or party get these labels from? That’ s right, from you – the adult. Where did we get it from? From the adults we were around. It breeds itself into oblivion, don’t you see?! So we have to all hold ourselves accountable for the terms we use and actions we make. It’s that simple.
It stems from a lot of different sources, I understand. The TV shows, music and gaming kids are exposed to these days is crazy and it’s hard to be there, every waking moment to flag this kind of messaging and that’s fine, but we've got to try harder. Something as simple as how you speak to your spouse/partner in the household is a great start. Children pick up EVERYTHING. And sponges don’t just soak up all the clean stuff, they mop up and absorb all the dirty stuff too. As long as you embed the basics into your children that’s all you can do! Education, mannerism and humility start in the home. And don't wait for situations to arise, make this a daily, weekly and monthly conversation. Teach those around you about people, ethnicity, etc. All you can do is enable your child with the proper tools and let them go out into the world – hoping they make the right decisions and choices as human beings.
I have nieces and nephews myself and as they grow there are always instances where they will make comments about weight, race, creed or color. They are at an age where their minds are so keen on the differences they see. So naturally, they become inquisitive. It bothers me endlessly when I hear certain things come out of their mouth. It literally hurts my heart. In the past, I've shy’ d away from saying anything, saying to myself: “Oh they are just children Gia, they don’t know any better. It means no harm.” But, it does and they should be aware of it. I don’t ever want them to go out into the world to bully or be bullied to/by others for being different – so I will help teach and shape them in that way because it’s my responsibility to do so. If I don’t and just ignore it if/when it ever comes up, than I am just doing a dis-service to them and the world.
Take a moment to watch this incredible video and truly pay attention to the message. After all, change starts with us. So, we must “be the change we wish to see in the world” – and today, I am starting with all of you!
In the words of Bono … “One love, One blood, One life. You got to do what you should. One life, with each other. Sisters. Brothers. One life, but we’re not the same. We've got to carry each other.”
I really hope this blog has touched / ignited something in all those who read it. Bad or good, I’d like to hear from all of you. Your comments are always welcome.