Sometimes I can’t explain how and why my mind wanders to topics or memories. I remembered a trip I took sometime last year.
There was a family of 4 people: Mom, Dad, a girl and a boy who were waiting to get on the same plane I was going to board. I normally don’t mind travelling with kids, unless they’re screaming and crying the entire trip (which has happened to me). These kids were probably about 5 and 4 years old. The girl was younger than her brother. It was obvious they were leaving on vacation.
The kids were excited and very animated. The boy kept counting down, “Five, Four, Three, Two, One, BLAST OFF!” This prompted other passengers waiting, to ask the family’s destination: Cabo. Nice to leave the cold behind, which was what I was doing also (travelling home to my family in Sunny Tucson – no beaches though).
I was just observing the kids, and the little boy was loud enough to catch the attention of most of the airport passengers. I was thinking about my own kids and how that type of loudness would not be permitted by any of the parents (my brothers and sisters). And I went further and thought about how and why that is acceptable for the little boy to hold such attention of a busy airport. The kid wasn’t overly obnoxious but how he was commanding attention was obviously a source of the parents’ pride.
I wondered if this was an example of White Privilege. Is that why their pride was so acceptable. I thought about how acceptable or unacceptable it would be if the kids/family were a different color/race/ ethnicity other than white. For some people, I want to believe the kids’ color/race/ethnicity wouldn’t make a difference but for others (how many or what % of those in the airport, though), this behavior would not be acceptable if the kids were not white. Then I started to think about, just even the fact that I was thinking about this issue and yet it probably would not occur to most white people to think about this issue, was an advantage for white people (White Privilege). Or it could just be a sign that I’m completely nuts.
Further perspectives of a Native woman-
When I walk into a room (anywhere), I automatically note how many people are similar to me to in color/race/ethnicity. Information stored, which could be useful later.
This morning, Sherman Alexie tweeted:
My Thanksgiving shopping list: Turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, green olives, pumpkin pie, and a can of genocide.
I laughed. Then I thought about why I laughed. Because the alternative is too depressing so you have no choice but to laugh. The alternative is to cry and cry for everything lost, given up, abandoned, stolen or simply taken. We can remember the past and know that it can be useful for our tomorrows or even how it can be useful so we can move past the genocide and atrocities. I am thankful for today for tomorrow is not promised but God willing, we may see it. Enjoy your todays and your family and friends. And I need to stop thinking so much or I need an “off” switch on my brain.