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November 21, 2008

Teaching my sons

Images_2 With the recent election of President-Elect Obama, there has been ample opportunity to discuss diversity. As a mom raising two African American young men in this country, I do my best to teach them to be open to learning about all cultures and accepting of all people.

I instill that everyone is a human being and we are all the same. We laugh, we hurt, we eat and we breathe. However, I also have to raise them to understand their history and where our race has come from. Eventually, they will learn in school about slavery, the Civil Rights movement, the Asassination of leaders like Dr. King and President Kennedy. With learning, inevitably comes questions.

I distinctly remember my son asking me on MLK Day...."Mommy, why didn't the white people like the brown people? What did we do?"

I struggle with that balance of being uplifting yet standing ready to instill a sense of pride that we have fought for these rights and deserve to be considered equal.

Yes, our world seems to be changing. There is a Black family in the White House and our nation elected a candidate based on his qualifications, not on his race. We seem to be moving forward and for that I am thrilled. I have a renewed sense of hope.

Yet, I still have to prepare myself for the day when an ignorant remark may hurt my sons. I have to know how to respond. To teach them to be proud but not bitter or angry.

By exposing them to children from different cultures, I want them to understand that everyone has a story to tell. Everyone's race has a wonderful history. We are no different than anyone else. We are simply Americans.

Thanks to our new President-Elect, at least now they know they too can be President one day.

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