Last installment I talked about my daughter moving to a new school. So here is the interesting part, as we sat there, and she was crying beyond belief I tried to analyze this reaction. When we, initially, visited the school she was very outgoing and adapted to the environment very well. So I figured if we ever needed to leave her school it would be a good fit. Well due to circumstances, we had to change schools.
Her first school was an oasis of light, wonderful families, very culturally diverse student body. She felt safe and nurtured in that school and aesthetically the place worked for us. It is a very nice school. My daughter, clearly, loved it. But very few of her teachers looked like her. In our home I make it a point to have books, art, any kind of visual stimuli to enforce who she is and her heritage. She is a black girl in a world that does not look favorably upon us at all. Its my job to make her proud of who she is and where she comes from. Sounds good! There are so many exterior influences are working against my efforts.
Often I wonder where this multicultural approach is taking our children. Until now, my daughter's primary teachers were mostly Latinas. She has extra curricular activities taught by Caucasians. Friends that she loves of all different ethnic backgrounds, lessons in Mandarin taught by Chinese teachers. She was immerse in a Euro-based "majority" assimilation based school environment. 'The Wheels on the train go round and round"... What must my child think of her surrounding world? She is growing up in traditionally African American based Bed Stuy but her Bed Stuy is starkly different than mine! Ironically, her school was not reflecting much of her own culture at all.
As we sat, she cried in fear, I asked her soothing questions to discern how to give her comfort."Do you want to sit with the other kids at the table?" "No!"; "Do you want some apple" "No!"; I looked around and the school continued in session, basically continuing the daily routine despite the wailing child. I observed the teachers care for all of these small children in so many ways. Caring, nurturing, and showing a lot of love to so many children.
Then I thought about it, this school was different in very stark ways than what my daughter was used to. Teachers that looked like her, with a significantly different style and approach to the kids. I continued, "Do you want the girls to sing to you?" Now her future classmates were really concerned about my daughter and her disruptive behavior they were willing to sing to her. "Yes they can sing Mommy"- I suggest that a few of the girls sing a song to help my daughter calm down. "To the tune of the them of Spider Man, the children sang "Kwanzaa Man...."- My daughter wails!!!! Basically in her own toddler WTH fashion!!! So one very smart little girl begins to sing "Itsy bitsy Spider" and my daughter immediately calms down.
Bless her heart, with all the teachers, African art and musical influences, the exuberant outburst of "Kwanzaa Man", I believe my child went into culture shock! Honestly I know she is not a racist, but she came pretty damn close with her little judgmental self!!!