The other day I picked up my son from kindergarten and told him we’d be going over to my girlfriend’s house for a play date. Even though my girlfriend’s daughter is only two, my five-year old son loves her to pieces and more importantly, she has cats.
Sure enough, my son grabbed his coat from his cubby and ran over to his teacher and announced, “I’m going over to my cousin’s house and she has two cats.” I smiled at my child and felt all warm and fuzzy inside knowing that he is still so innocent and unsullied that he believes his Jewish, milky white playmate could be his cousin. I left the school with my multi-culti, rainbow-tinted glasses firmly in place.
As we were driving along to my girlfriend’s house I was still thinking about what my son had said and trying to remember what age it was that kids started to notice color and race. And then as we approached a stoplight, it hit me. My son wasn’t being colorblind when he declared that Samantha was his cousin. He wasn’t fulfilling some civil rights prophecy either. It wasn’t that deep. He probably just thinks Samantha is his cousin because her mother and I are so close. We celebrated Hanukah together last year and a couple of times her whole family has slept over at our house. That’s what families do. And the fact that Samantha and her family is White surely doesn’t disqualify her as family –as it would in my old-fashioned mind—because half of my son’s family is White!
When we go to Spain every summer, I’m the only Black one in the bunch. Abuela y Abuelo, Tia Eli, Primo Juan…they are all white and they are all family. So why couldn’t White people Stateside be cousins as well my son made me realize. It was an amazing lesson. As much as I profess to be a member of America’s meltingpot, my mind still sometimes functions like a single ingredient.
This would be a good time to mention that America’s Meltingpot families, scholars, activists and educators will all be descending on the Windy City (Chicago) on June 21-24 for the Loving Decision Conference 2007 to discuss and celebrate the future of Multiracial communities. There’s still time to register for what looks like a fabulous conference.