I thought I’d take a few minutes last Monday and teach the kids about Martin Luther King Jr. and civil rights in general.
We had a good talk in the car about who Martin Luther King was and what he stood for. Laylee could not get enough. “Tell me another more story about him,” she begged so I told her all about the civil rights movement. I explained how bad it was for people who were treated differently just because of the way they looked and I told her how much better our world is now because of the sacrifices made by so many people who worked to make things equal for everyone.
Magoo didn’t get much of what we were talking about and when we got out of the car, he began running around jabbing a stick at people and yelling, “I’M THE MOOTH ER KING! PUME! PUME!!!” I suppose we all have the right to celebrate the holiday however we choose. I do have a dream that some day he will get on the clue bus though.
When I ran out of the 4-year-old-appropriate stories I knew about the civil rights movement, I started to make up scenarios to apply racism to Laylee personally, leaving Magoo to his own devices.
“What if you tried to go to preschool and they told you that you couldn’t go to a good school because you were skinny and they thought skinny people were bad so skinny people had to go to a yucky school? How would you feel? What if people threw stuff at you or wouldn’t let you use the restrooms because your skin was that peachy color?”
We talked all about how we should treat everyone with kindness and how even if people are mean to us or others, we should stand up for what’s right without being mean back. I asked her what she would do if she saw someone at preschool being mean to another kid because of the way they looked.
She stopped, thinking so hard you could almost see the thoughts popping out of her ears and then she said, “If I see anybody being mean to somebody at preschool… um… I guess I could do the civil rights on ”˜em to get ”˜em to stop. I wouldn’t hit ”˜em. I’d just sort of do the civil rights.”
“What do you mean by that?
“You know, just, like, do the civil rights to them.”
With her word choice, it sounded to me like code for some sort of brutal playground hand to hand combat move. “Well, Jimmy likes to use an uppercut or just whack the other kid over the head with a Little Tikes folding chair but I personally prefer to mix it up by giving ”˜em a quick civil rights to the solar plexus.”
I suppose she could be planning a sit-in or something. At dinner later that night she told Dan that for civil rights you mostly just sit places and sing songs. This description could apply equally well to a peaceful civil rights protest, Woodstock, or a class at Gymboree.
Maybe we’ll try this again next year.