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Readers Weigh In on Lessons of MLK Jr.

It's important to teach our kids about their heritage, even if they don't always get it the first time around.

 

Editor's Note: This blog post by Alicia Yost reflecting on how she teaches her mixed-heritage children about the importance of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s work garnered many reader comments. Reader input has moved the conversation from ancestry discoveries to classroom education to deregulation to farm-raised fish, and finally the lobster die-off. We invite you to share your thoughts.

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We took the kids to New Haven today for a Martin Luther King Jr. festival. They read children's stories, had live music, an African dance troop and a host of other things.

This comes on the heels of our showing them a King documentary. Giving that many facts to small children is mostly futile because while they act as little sponges and absorb everything, it's usually all jumbled up in a big mess so that when you ask them about segregation, they tell you stories like: "so that's when black people were coming from Africa and had to ride different trains than white people when they went on the underground railroad."

Right.

I'm determined to whip out the video camera and record their historical interviews. I'm thinking it will be strikingly similar to watching an episode of drunk history.

Still, it's important for them to know their heritage. They are a mix of Spanish, French, Mexican, Native American, German and African American. In other words, they're a Heinz 57 mixture of blood. All of my husband's family is African American and they have such a wonderful, rich history.

My kids know about their family but still when we pointed out to our little one that she was lucky not to have be born 60 years ago, she was all, "you mean I'm not white!?!"

This reminded me of the time when I asked my mother-in-law if she faced discrimination in the '60s and '70s when she and my late father-in-law were in a scandalous (at the time) marriage. She a fair-skinned, blondhaired, blue-eyed German girl and he is a mix of African and Native American. Were they taunted? How did their families react? Was it difficult?

My mother-in-law has been blind since she was 16 years old and my father-in-law was also blind. In fact, they met at a school for the blind. When I asked her the discrimination question, her eyes got wide and a look of distress came over her face.

I immediately felt bad and said, "I'm sorry. If that brings back memories of hard times, you don't have to tell me." Instead she said, "You mean he was BLACK?"

Man, that woman is a smartass. Man, I love her. But she's right. What does it matter? And curiously, she did point out that because both of them were blind, nobody so much as looked twice at them. Or maybe people did but they had the luxury of not seeing the judgment.

It speaks volumes about the power of discrimination. It's a two-way street that requires someone to put out the hatred and someone to receive it. And since my in-laws never received it, it was therefore non-existent. At least to them.

Read more of Alicia's writing at her blog: www.americasnexttopmommy.blogspot.com

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Gene Bartholomew January 19, 2012 at 03:54 PM
yes I do, when I was a kid in the early 70's I got my CG certificate for boats, I remember learning the charts for LIS, and asking, "what are these circles that say "dumping grounds" and they said that was where the hospital and other waste went from here and NY none of that was investigated when the lobsters died off, not even mentioned in the news Brilliant, it amazes me what supposedly educated people think is a good idea
Alicia Yost January 20, 2012 at 01:25 PM
So, last night I was watching television, minding my own business when a commercial for McDonald's chicken nuggets came on. My body waged a full out mutiny. My mind immediately flashed on the image of oozing, pink goo. I said to my mind: "take a deep breath ,mind...McDonald's says their nuggets are all real, white meat. I promise, it will all be okay." But my mind wasn't having it. It kept interjecting by screaming out words like: "AMMONIA", "EYEBALLS" and "CRUSHED BONES" and before I knew it my stomach was all, "did someone say crushed eyeballs?" and did a somersault. That's when the dry heaves started. Gene, when it comes to that link you posted, I don't know whether to throw my arms around you in gratitude for opening my eyes to such horror or whether to kick you in the shins for bursting my bubble ;)
Gene Bartholomew January 20, 2012 at 01:45 PM
I'm sorry and you're welcome. 20-30 years ago McD's and BK were probably ok, I remember when the burgers changed composition, it dosn't make sense that their burgers are different than grond beef. I also remember BK changing the Whopper to a burger, it used to be huge, thats when I dropped them, I still crave a BigMac and fries, but, a few years back McD had a lawsuit over their fries by a Vegan group, the reason, it turns out, that you crave their fries is that they drench them in the blood and scum from the meat, essentially like spraying steak juice on them, when they hit the frier that burns off and your mind smells steaks as you drive by, which gets most people to craving.
Alicia Yost January 20, 2012 at 01:48 PM
Oh my goodness! Can I hire you to follow me around all day and tell me stuff like this? I will be bikini-body ready in no time!
Gene Bartholomew January 20, 2012 at 02:26 PM
sure $75hr, don't eat that,don't eat that,don't eat that,don't eat that,don't eat that,

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