My son is the only white boy in his class.
He is the minority in this one instance. And I think it hurts him, but I know that his status as a white man will never hurt him anywhere else in society. And it probably doesn't even hurt him now, But I'm his Mom, so I'm biased. But I get that.
But you know what I also see when I look at his group of male peers? I see such a beautiful diverse group of boys. Brown boys, black boys, native boys, asian boys, other kind of brown boys. I'm not going to comment on perceived nationalities or ethnicity here. The neighbourhood my son & his dad live in is full of immigrants from every part of the world, as well as some Canadians who are POC so I don't want to assume anything in terms of who came from where, and how they might identify.
And ultimately I know that every single boy in his class will probably experience some kind of racism, or discrimination based on his skin colour as he grows up. Some probably even experience it now, as no child lives in a vacuum and a 9 year is pretty observant to the things his parents and relatives experience. At least My Dude is.
And this breaks my heart. Why should these smart, creative, clever, artistic rascals be set back for something as superficial as their skin colour? I see each of them as I see My Dude. Learning about the world, about themselves, about their peers, about their place. And it is so stupid to think that they are automatically worse off than my socially awkward son because he is white and they are not. Ugh.
I see the colours because that is the world that I grew up in. I try not to, but I do. But I also see the personalities behind the colours. I have know some of these boys for their entire school life. I chat with them when I drop Dude off at school. They call me Mrs. Kercher or "Lucas' Mom" and I compliment them on their shoes, or ask them about school. I joke and I laugh, because ultimately they are just a pack of unruly 9-year old boys, and I've got a line on that! I smile at their Moms with the smile that says "I may not know your name, but I know you" and "sigh...boys" at the same time. We commiserate with our eyes, but we never chat. I'm just not good with people...a detriment to me and Dude I think in times like this.
I hope he always has this diverse cast of people around him. I hope he continues with these boys into junior high and high school. I hope he makes friends with them (heck, with anyone!). I hope he remembers these years, and takes this experience with him. I hope that it guides his choices, and his personality, and his outlook on the world.
Being a feminist, I recognize his privilege. Being a white feminist, I have to check my own. And I also have to recognize that I am going to FIGHT his privilege and educate him on it for his whole life. That's my job as his feminist mom.
But it also my job to listen to him. Answer his questions. Or just shuttup and listen. And from what I hear so far, these boys in his class are just other boys to him. They are not brown boys, or asian boys, or Arabic boys. They are just boys. I have high hopes for his generation, and so far so good.
Please note: I have been reading a lot of feminist literature online lately from writers of all backgrounds. I want to learn more and try my hand at contributing to their presence. Amateurishly for now, but we'll see right? Constructive criticism and comments always welcome!!!!