Posted by: ourwildride | June 20, 2008

First Things First

My head is swimming a bit tonight. As I’ve been thinking about racial issues I’ve found myself hyper alert as to the ethnicity of people around me. Yesterday I took all 3 of the kids to the farmer’s market with me. (I was desperate to get my fix of kalamata olives). In the parking lot there were 3 women loading up kids and stuff into a minivan speaking Spanish. W got all excited and he was loudly (he doesn’t have a quiet) saying ‘Mom, Mom they’re speaking Spanish! Mom, listen!’ I’m, somewhat embarrassed, trying to quiet him down and saying ‘Umm hmm. That’s right. They’re speaking Spanish.’ And he continues on, ‘I bet they are visiting. Do you think they are here on vacation?’

Hmmmm. Well, no dear I don’t think they are here on vacation. And double hmmmm. What does it say about me as a parent that your first assumption would be that they were here on vacation? But his response when I told him that nearly half the population in Reading was Latino made me want to crack up, kiss him and cry at the same time. He said, ‘Really? Wicked Awesome!’.

So I was curious and looked up the actual demographics. I exaggerated a bit (first time, honest…). The Latino population in Reading according to the 2000 census was actually about 37%. However, the Latino population in the zip code in which we live (outside the city) was less than 1%.

So first things first. I decided we could start grocery shopping at grocery stores (or the farmer’s market) in the city even if it is a little further to drive. It does enable us to see an array of ethnic groups in an everyday type of setting. I also found out that there is a preschool bilingual story hour at the main library downtown. There is also a library branch that has a bilingual family night on Wednesday nights. But I think I better attempt story hour first. Quite honestly, even that feels a bit intimidating to me at this point. So I’m typing this for my own accountability.

And a couple of things I read/heard this week and found thought provoking:

Peace!

 

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Responses

  1. Hi Jane, I just wanted to let you know that I enjoy reading everything you write. Since we have a multiracial family, I can relate to a lot of things that you say. My advice with years of experience is to just relax and enjoy the children. The things you are doing are great but believe me, kids are pretty much the same no matter what their racial background. I only wish there was some way to help people understand that. You are doing a lot to help break down some of the barriers that are there between races. Keep up the good work……and I look forward to lots of insight from you. Harriet (Peg’s neighbor)

  2. Thanks Harriet!

    Note to self – relax. 🙂


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