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Sure, you retain THAT information. March 13, 2008

Posted by Ms. Art in Black Just Like Everybody Else, Darndest Things.
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Today, one of my second graders asked if Keith Haring was black (“He wasn’t,” I replied).

Uhmire, with absolute certainty: “But!  But he started OUT black.  Everybody does.”

Me, and probably every other kid in the room: “Wait, what?”

Uhmire, still quite sure: “Well, that’s what you said.

Huh.  Oops.

It eventually came out that what I’d said, at some point weeks and weeks ago, was that everybody is different shades of BROWN, i.e., “black” and “white” are misnomers.  Well, I had good intentions, anyway…

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Flashback Friday February 8, 2008

Posted by Ms. Art in Black Just Like Everybody Else, Darndest Things, Flashback Friday.
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Sometime last school year, I was standing in the hall outside the art room before school, supervising the hoodlums, when two of my second graders came running up (“Walk please!”, I said), and Grant threw his arms around me and said, “MS. ROGERS. Last week in art Angel called you WHITE.”

Note that this was literally an entire week previously.

So I said, “But I am white!”

Janice: “No you’re not! You are not white, you’re not, you’re black! YOU’RE BLACK JUST LIKE EVERYBODY ELSE!”

Me: “Well, actually, I am white. Sorry. But-”

“No you are NOT, stop saying that! You are not, you’re black, you’re black!”

“Um, well, I appreciate that, but I promise, I’m white. But if Angel said it in a mean way, well, you’re right, we need to address that.”

So we argued a little bit more about whether or not I was black and they eventually went off to class.

Fast-forward about an hour and their class arrived at my door. As Angel went by me, before she was even in the room, she stopped and said, to the floor, “sorryIcalledyouwhiteinameanway.”

I guess that took care of that. In the meantime Janice was standing behind her, shaking her head and mouthing, “No you’re not YOU’RE BLACK YOU’RE BLACK.”

The Other White…people. February 7, 2008

Posted by Ms. Art in Black Just Like Everybody Else.
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At the car-rider loop today (minutes ago, in fact) a cluster of kids was standing near me.  I sort of started listening in when I heard them talking about “jonin’ on” somebody (new usage, for me.  I knew one could be joned, but not joned on.  Learn something new every day).

So the next thing I hear is, “You can’t say that!  You can’t hate white people.”

“Yeah, I don’t hate white people.”

“Yeah, me either.  They’re NICE.”

I figure it’s time I chimed in.  “I don’t hate white people, either!” Desi is a very sweet kid.  Good student, though I don’t teach him this year.  Often stands by me to chat after school.  But then…

Desi: “Naw, I do!  I can hate white people!”

Me: “Gosh, Desi, if I didn’t know you liked me, my feelings might be hurt.”

Desi: “Naw, I do like you – ohhhhhhh.

There’s a pause.  I raise my eyebrows.  Desi ponders.

Desi: “I mean – I hate the other white people.”

Me: “Hmm.”

He never really seems to feel like he needs to backpedal, although eventually he declares hatred for white people “back in the day,” and I agree that nobody likes a slave owner.

We leave it at that.