Nothing makes racism sound more absurd than trying to explain it to an 8 year old.
There’s no real way to make something so ridiculous make sense to someone whose mind can’t conceive hating and enslaving and subjugating people because of your own fears and prejudices.
The truth is that hatred, no matter the targeted group, shouldn’t make sense to any of us.
My daughter came home with question after question after learning about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. at school again this year. She couldn’t understand why anyone would kill him for trying to make things equal. She didn’t and couldn’t understand why the world allowed for things to be that way at all.
We have spent the weekend talking about who MLK was historically, but also how who he was makes our family possible today.
Imagine having to explain to your child that your marriage was not legal in the lifetime of their grandparents where you live. Without the work of countless people, I could not have married my husband. Let that sink in.
We couldn’t have attended the same university, church events, or loved each other without there being life-threatening consequences.
It’s something so hard to imagine. It’s something that we want to believe was so long ago, but it wasn’t. The fight for equality and fairness in and under the law has not been attained still, but EVERY STEP FORWARD MATTERS.
Every step matters for the generations who are being born now who will look back at us and see how much more we had than those just one generation before us. One day, we will all be judged solely by the content of our character if we have the boldness to teach that to the generations being raised up.
This is not an easy cycle to break or conversation have, but if it matters, you have to engage it. It’s not nearly enough to say racism is wrong. You have to call it what it is and not be comfortable around it. You have to show your kids what it means to live like it’s wrong beyond what you say.
You have to live like you don’t want there to be any place for it in our world, and if we can do that with courage of conviction, there’s hope that one day, his dream will be fully realized.