Conversations with My Mother

You Have to Be Carefully Taught……..

giphy[1]Often, as I explored my world in early childhood which consisted of a few city blocks. I would go home to share with My Mother my latest adventure or discovery. This day she was standing at the kitchen sink washing dishes with her back to me. It was her style to continue with the task at hand during our conversations. So that the lessons learned became a natural part of my life.On this day her posture carried great significance. She was sending me a clear message.
Did you have lunch at the Smith’s today? Now my five-year-old mind started roaming. What did I do? How did she know and why? Was I rude and not mannered? Did I eat too much? What? What? What? Did you bring other children from the neighborhood with you? Yes, to both was my response. What did I do wrong? I asked.
The  other children’s parents called me. They were upset. She never stopped washing the dishes conveying how little the parents phone calls meant to her. Upset over what!!!! I responded. Well you must have noticed that the Smiths have a different color  skin. Yea, so? Well some people do not like them because of that. What???? Are you telling me that people do not like other people because of the color of their skin?Yes.Her response and tone wrapped in disapproval. Are you telling me? I cannot play with the Smith children, or go to their home or bring them here?
Now,she turned towards me without missing a single beat. She looked straight into my eyes. Oh No, I am not telling you that. Please continue to play with the Smith children and go to their home and bring them here for play and meals. Just do not bring the other children from the neighbored with you. Okay, Mom! I shouted and went running off feeling comfortable, secure, and most important enlightened. I did nothing wrong and the color of a person’s skin means nothing. That conversation resonates in my heart and soul every day of my life. That day my Mother gave me a great gift. The courage and freedom to fully embrace and respect difference. You see. Black lives always mattered in my home. It is just that simple. Thanks Mom. I am forever proud to be Margie’s Daughter………