Sunday, March 18, 2012

Slavery

"Momma, I think Superman is gonna get the slaves and do some stuff."

"Um, kid. What does 'slaves' mean?"

"I don't really know."

"Where did you hear that word? It's not a bad word, I'm just curious about where you heard it."

"I don't know. I just know it. I mean, probably I just know it from the old days. I was a baby in the old days you know. But what does it mean? Tell me what you know."

(and here is where I totally cop out for a minute) "Umm, hubby, tell the kid what slave means." (oh, yes I did just totally drop that in his lap)

Hubby: "Well, back in the old days, some people thought that they should be able to tell other people what to do and be in charge of them. And they lived on big farms called plantations and owned the slaves and made them do lots of work."

(insert vision of me and the kid looking at him with our heads turned to the side, kinda confused)

Me: "Some people would go to Africa, make the people from there get on their boats and take a very long journey all the way to the US. And a lot of those people died on that trip, because it was really hard and they people from Africa weren't well taken care of. When they did get to the US, the people from African were made to do lots of work."

"Why?"

"Because the people on the plantations thought they had the right to own the people from Africa and make them do lots and lots of really hard work. They didn't treat them well at all. Also they didn't pay them for their work."

"Well, momma. That was wrong. If you have people do your work, the least you can do is pay them. Sometimes I put my cousins to work. But I don't pay them. When I have them do things, we call it chores. And kids should have chores. But that's not the same as the slaves thing, is it?"

"No. Not the same thing. [Note to self: come back at a later date to him making his cousins do his chores.] We can't own other people, Bug. People aren't like houses."

"Yeah, that's right, momma. We can't buy people like we buy houses. That's not how we treat people, is it? We should love people. And everybody just wants to be free. And loved. Everybody really wants to be loved, free and loved."

What a smart kid I have.

Today's lesson: So often our kids can teach us things. If only we can step back for a moment from what we're trying to teach them in order to hear it.

3 comments:

Emms said...

That is so sweet! He is such a good smart kid. I love him and don't even know him!

Mo and Will said...

among the first of many deep and complicated discussions on race. sounds like you handled it well...and like he is a bright and thoughtful boy!

mo

The Pussy Palace said...

Aww sounds like you got a smart kid.

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