I was hanging out at my son’s school. Volunteering in my middle son’s first grade class, mostly, and boy have I been learning some things about black history this month.
At least one little boy (of the lighter hue) thinks
- Harriet Tubman is in the Bible
- Blacks and whites didn’t like each other during slavery times. It was because of ‘their skin and stuff.’
- Nobody really knows where Maya Angelou lives but she says cool stuff on TV
I like Black History Month (BHM) but my encounters with the 1st graders made me think (and squirm inside). Do six and seven year olds have the capacity to regard our racist past but choose another way? I make special efforts with my boys to bring in arts and history from every angle (and culture) possible all throughout the year. But not every parent does this. So I squirm and I think.
I came away from school, in the end, grateful. At least one little white boy ‘knows’ that Harriet Tubman was a biblical character and she was a hero in her own right. To him, it didn’t matter that she was ‘black and stuff.’ She was a great person.