Friday, January 30, 2009

MLK Jr. Day (a little late)

I had Disney on the brain and therefore missed my obligation and opportunity to write a post about Martin Luther King Jr. But it's something I don't want to ignore. It's important. And I wish there was more attention to it in every culture and every American family, not just multiracial and minority families. Mostly because I never gave it a second thought before getting my beautiful African-American and Puerto-Rican son. And I am ashamed of that. I should have noticed, I should have cared, but like most of us, I was living in the bubble of white privilege. But the more I delve into the depths that is transracial (adoptive) parenting, the more I realize the changes I need to make to myself. And the more I care about things like Martin Luther King Jr. day, Obama's inauguration (which I did watch live) even though I had never watched or cared about a single inauguration before, looking for TV shows and books and schools that are diverse in race and culture, and much much more.

And it's not just for Mateo, although we all agree we would go to the ends of the earth for our children, but to be a better person, a better citizen of this earth, and a better child of God. I try to have patience for those who do not understand, because I was just like them once. But I find myself becoming more and more intolerant of ignorance, bigotry, and prejudice. As I re-hash in my mind conversations I've had with people about race, I find myself getting more and more furious that I couldn't make them see, make them understand, or even want to understand. At least I had my eyes and my mind wide-open to learning. And that really hurts. Especially when it's a friend. But in thinking about Martin Luther King Jr., I remind myself that he did not forefully and angrily make people believe in him. He inspired and encouraged and led as an example of humility and integrity. I have a lot to learn.

I guess I'm still navigating through the gray and haziness of it all. I don't think I'll ever come out the other side, but I have to try to keep wandering through it for the sake of Mateo and my future children. But let's give credit where credit is due. Martin Luther King Jr. is an inspiration. To me and I hope to my children some day. What would have happened if he didn't stand up for what he believed in? Where would we be now? Obama probably wouldn't be president. Schools may still be segregated. We may not even have the children we love so dearly. It's scary to even think about. If I could have my children come away with anything regarding MLK Jr. it would be to fight for your passions no matter what the cost. Although I wonder if MLK Jr.'s mother worried about him getting arrested during all of those marches, and if he would eat a healthy dinner, and wear a warm enough sweater. You've got to think he was who he was partly because of his parents.

I'd like to end this post with two book reviews. These are two children's books I found at our local bookstore.

The first is called "Barack Obama; Son of Promise, Child of Hope."

The illustrations are beautiful, as is the story. The only downside is that it's told from the view of a single mother of a young black boy. Obviously not every family can relate to that, but it makes the story interesting since Obama grew up without his father's daily presence. The story tells of a young "Barry" who had dreams of helping the poor and changing the world and how that led him to becoming the president. It's very touching.

This next one is called "Martin's Big Words"

I LOVE this book. It tells the story of Martin Luther King Jr. and his fight for equality in simple, yet honest, language. The pictures are also beautiful and the story includes some of his actual speeches. It is my new favorite book of Mateo's.

Both books are written more for an elementary age child, but a preschooler would like the pictures and be able to follow along. I bought them for Mateo now because I'm an avid collector of multi-cultural children's books, even if he's too young to appreciate them now. Both these books are worth having in your library.

And finally, although I'd like to think that MLK Jr. would be proud of the families we've become in this generation, we still have a long way to go. And I have a dream, that we will keep striving to become a more equal country, not only by race, but gender, sexual orientation, and in every way that makes us different and unique. For we are all children of God.

1 comment:

JonesEthiopia said...

Beautiful post. Thank you.