Monday, January 16, 2012
I particularly like this song from the Calvary Baptist Church in Salt Lake City. On Martin Luther Kind Day I like to listen to this kind of music. In fact, one of my radio stations on Pandora is set to contemporary gospel music.
My family and I saw a great exhibit, This Light of Ours, at the new Leonardo Museum in Salt Lake City. We walked around looking at hundreds of pictures of the civil rights movement. The college-aged student and my high schooler were rapt with interest. My 13-year old and 10-year old were definitely not rapt, but showed a heartening amount of interest. I will take what I can get!
This exhibit is outstanding. The photographs are stunning. I loved listening to Pastor France Davis of the Calvary Baptist Church speak (on video) about the civil rights movement in Salt Lake City. What we learn in school is about the movement based primarily in the South. I learned that all states were influenced and involved in some way. It was fascinating to see it at the local level. Utah was intimately involved. Utah? Yes, Utah.
As some of you know, I have been spending some time in the public schools. One day I listened to a group of 8th graders talk about racism. They discussed how it is alive and well in the halls at their school. They talked about the assumptions they make about people because of their race or where they're from. One Asian boy said, "Yeah, everyone thinks I'm so smart because I'm Asian. But I'm just normal." Others spoke about how it is easy to make racial jokes. About how fun that is. And how the people who are the brunt of the jokes are often laughing as well. That is what this group of mostly white kids claimed.
"Dude, I don't mean to tell those jokes, but they just come out," one of them said.
I wanted to chime and say that adults are just as guilty of racial assumptions and sometimes actions, maybe even more. Adults would like to say we are not overtly racist, but many of us are passively racist. We don't engage in racist activities, but we do nothing to help stop racism. We rarely discuss it. We don't like to admit that it exists. But I didn't say anything because I was a visitor and I just wanted to listen.
I was impressed with these 8th graders. They were informed. They were aware of their tendencies to make judgments about people.
Here is a poem that we read in my multicultural education class. I will never forget it.
When I was born, I was black
When I grew up, I was black
When I go out in the sun, I am black.
When you were born you were pink
When you grow up you are white
When you are sick you are green
When you go in the sun, you are red
When you get a cold, you are blue
And when you die, you are purple.
And you call me colored.