Hi Meltingpot Readers,
Yesterday morning, my eight-year-old son came into my bedroom and saw my copy of Baratunde Thurston’s hilarious book, How To Be Black on my dresser. He picked it up, thumbed through it and casually announced, “Hey mom, we should send this book to Abuelo y Abuela in Spain so they can be Black like us.” And he was serious. He waited for my response. And while I wanted to laugh in the worst way, I realized he really was serious. So, I nodded my head and said it sounded like a splendid idea. That was enough for him. He put the book down and went on his way.
Dear readers, I share this story with you not only because I think it is hilarious, but because it’s one of those perfect meltingpot teaching moments. My younger son could best be described as beige, and until recently he denied that he was Black. Not when his barely brown skin told him otherwise. He just didn’t see it. But then big brother schooled him on the one-drop rule. He put it like this, “Dude, mom’s Black so that means we’re all Black.” Now, what my younger son heard in that little lesson was that our Kinky Gazpacho family is Black. Including el esposo. You see where I’m going with this, right? Clearly the eight-year-old has realized that the color of the skin has nothing to do with one’s racial classification. And so his pale, pink daddy can be as Black as he wants to be. And with the proper training, apparently his Spanish grandparents can too. It’s all so easy.
In my humble opinion, this little experience perfectly demonstrates, just how confusing the concept of race really is, for young and old alike. Because far be it from me to explain how people of every shade from dark to light, can be Black but not White. (Hey I’m a poet and don’t know it!) Think about that.
So, dear readers, do you have an answer for me, or my son? You know I’m listening.