Wednesday, 20 October 2010

We Are One

For the first time this week, Pixie has mentioned the colour of people's skins. I don't know why I was so surprised really, she is almost five.

My Saturday copy of The Times had a large picture of former US Secretary of State, Professor Condoleezza Rice. Phoebe had asked why the lady had "a brown face" when ours weren't brown. I explained that because the world is so big, everyone looks different even though we're all one.

We don't live in a culturally diverse place to be frank, and we have a population of about 3500 folk in our small town. We live on the outskirts and amongst the old-school farmer types who have never left the area, therefore have not seen very much of life, in my opinion.

I have lived here, there and everywhere, so very little shocks me these days. I have friends of every creed, colour and  flavour there is, but my children are not immersed with the rich cultural environment I might hope for. Travel in the future is a possibility..

Anyhoooo, do you remember the United Colours of Benetton campaigns from the 90s? I do. Passing the billboards on the school bus, splashes of the familiar green logo surrounded by multi-cultural models always captivated me.

I know people who often say "I'm not racist but..." and then go on to quote the fascist shite that is the inner workings of the BNP.

We need to raise our children to be accepting of all, but with people like the ones I have described above, how, on a international scale, can this be? It feels like there is so much hatred in the world. I suppose by giving our children the tools of preservation and tolerance, we can only hope that they will go forward in their lives and outshine any bigotry and hate that they may come across.

I recently have been reading many of the teachings of the Dalai Lama. The man is just so peaceful it has a knock-on effect. His ideology is so simple, and how he believes compassion can genuinely be achieved for all. He is a great and wise man.

I'm not even sure what I'm writing here, just some thoughts that have crossed my mind that I wonder about often. Thanks for reading :)

Here is an amazing song. I actually prefer Johnny Cash's version, but the video is great on this one:

We ARE one, but we're not the same. I think that's a strong message.


Scented Sweetpeas said...

Very true, it is quite scary how nasty some people can be towards others just because they are a little different :-(

Becky said...

Having recently seen 2000 racist thugs up close, I can tell you I was shaken by the level of hatred that exists and started to feel a little depressed. Having a mixed race family, it makes me so sad to think that racism is around every corner. If there is anywhere in the world where racism doesn't exist, I'd like to know about it and move there!!

As a mixed race family this came up early with the children asking why dad's face is brown and theirs isn't and so on. And also, being in Leicester we are in a very multicultural area, thankfully and can partake in a multitude of different cultural and religious events.

We had seriously been thinking of moving to Devon to live near the sea when my eldest is 18 and off to uni, (only 2.5 years time - ) but the monocultural aspect is such a concern that we probably wouldn't, which saddens me immensely.

There are tonnes of multicultural books out there. I also loved the 'The Human Journey' series which showed that we really are all descended from one small tribe in sub-saharan Africa, and they used DNA testing to show it. Fascinating. Probably Phoebe is a little young for it yet thought :-)

Sorry for the excruciatingly long ramble!

smilymel said...

I've yet to come to these questions, my little one is only 15 months, but we live in rural Scotland, so opening up to multiculturalism is something we'll have to work at. Thanks for the thoughts, I love reading your blog.
And for Becky - I'm from Devon, yes it's fairly mono-cultural, with a bit more variety in the Summer, but honestly, my family had friends from different cultures, and I'm pretty sure they had never come across any hostility or issues as a result.
Actually, it's made me think of my first teaching job in a school in Devon. We had one girl of Indian origin in our class, one of the other children asked "Miss, why is R*** brown?" I answered, "because her family originally came from India, and that's what colour most people's skin is in India." Next question, "Is that why she always smells of curry?", my answer, which I still wonder if it was the right one, was "no, that's because she lives in the curry house on the High Street, if you spend a lot of time around a certain type of food, the smell gets in your hair and clothes."
Aaaggghhh, I still ponder whether I should have answered differently and whether I worsened racial stereotypes by my response. It's a minefield!

Joxy said...

The things that gives me hope, is I grew up in a very racist family and an area that was known for it's intolerance of peoples of other races. I'm not racist; I've never understood why someone's skin colour matters - it would be like making daft comments based on hair colour. Its idiotic.

What does really sadden me is the damage it has caused to people getting along; the suspicion and animosity.

It does worry me that Rye's dad has some rather racist and bigotted views, I just hope raising him the way I am will mean, like me, Rye will reject any racism and bigottry that his dad exposes him to.

Claire said...

I think it's increasingly harder these days, to give the right replies, often being afraid of offending people and crossing boarders in not being politically correct.

The FIL asked Phoebe a few years ago, when she was playing with a little black dolly of mine from childhood - "Are there any of them at your nursery?" I said: "Are there any of what at nursery - dolls?" He said: "Nooooooo, black 'uns." Holy fuck. I went mad that he had asked my small daughter that! But that is coming from a life-long farmer in the hills who has only recently started to travel outside of the UK (albeit on a flippin' bus, but hey). I despair quite often!!!