Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The things we teach our children

When my son was four, his grandmother sent him Peanuts Thanksgiving stickers in a greeting card.
from ebay
 At which he giggled, "It's a Charlie Brown Pow-wow? That's so silly!"
And I'm embarrassed to say, 
until that moment I hadn't realized, how truly absurd it was.

About the same time the following year, my son exits his school wearing a paper headdress and yells to me, 
"Look Mom!  I'm a Pow-wow guy!"

from Nebraska State Historical Society
I didn't bother correcting him.

The next year, he came home declaring, 
"Indians have a different word for pants!" 
So, sent him to school with information about the only Native language I knew.
And his teacher thanked me.

The following year, as part a lesson about teaching the history of the state, he came home with coloring pages praising Custer for his, "Valuable service."
And so, I yelled at the State Historical society who printed it and the teacher who handed it out.  
His teacher didn't realize it was offensive.
The Historical Society apologized profusely
and said they'd send out new lesson materials.
A small victory.
But then, 
I had to try to explain Custer to my seven-year-old.

Since then,
I've had to explain to my child why he can't yell,
"Geronimo!"
"But Spiderman says it!"

"Spiderman doesn't know any better."
"But."
"But you do."

I know,
it's all small stuff.
Little offenses.
Here

and there.

And over there.
But maybe
when my son grows up,
 he'll be the one that argues,
"Hey, I don't think it's okay to name 
a nuclear weapons system
Navajo."

Just saying.

1 comment:

  1. That's the first time I've heard an SUV called little. Usually they're a big example of Freud being right.

    ReplyDelete