Friday, 28 January 2011

Le King et Suzanne

It seems like I'm already expecting so much out of my kids. But what is the good of being bilingual if you don't know where you come from?

So how silly (not stupid because I am not allowed to say that anymore since I caught Suzanne hitting her babydoll on the head while saying stupid) did I feel when my sister asked me in jest what the kids and I did for MLK day. I am completely and utterly ashamed to say that I completely forgot about this most important American day.

After reading Suzanne her normal 3 books at night, I began a discussion about MLK. I told her that a long time ago (even though it wasn't so long and indeed is still the case in some places), only white people could go to school, go to restaurants, etc. I told her that black children couldn't go to school and couldn't use the same toilets as white kids. She pointed to her face proudly and said she was white. I asked her if she knew any black children (which of course she does at school) and then told her that thanks to Martin Luther King and lots of other people, black kids could go to school. I figured that by focusing on school, which is something she loves, she'd get the idea better than if I talked about, say, the voting rights movement or Rosa Parks riding the bus.

I asked her if she wanted to see Martin Luther King speak. So of course she said yes and then told me to type his name into the computer (yes, she understands how youtube works) and we began watching Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech. After a couple of minutes of watching the grainy black and white video, she said, "Mommy, I can't see that he's black". So we put on a color video of MLK which she thought was ok until she saw the Obama girl/Obama duet image appear in the youtube sidebar.

By that point, I think I'd made my point. Or at least I hope so. And I've sworn to myself that we will be reading about Harriet Tubman and the underground railroad, Rosa Parks, MLK, and other very important dead Americans more frequently.

I do wonder though if she said anything in school. I can only imagine what could have come out of her mouth like, "avant le King, les blacks n'avaient pas de school. Et après, beaucoup d'hommes sont allés à Washington devant le giant Lincoln."


Jan Exner said...

You should absolutely mention Amelia Earhart so that when they talk about Antoine de Saint-Exupéry she has an American equivalent she can mention ;-)

TN said...

Excellent Post Reb!

Reb said...

Amelia Earhart for sure! Maybe I can rid our lives of the princesses by talking about a cool woman flyer!

Thanks TN.

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