OK. So I need to write about something my family and I have been dealing with for some time now. Our precious and incredibly beautiful 5 year old is dealing with some racially motivated negativity in her kindergarten classroom. Let me start off by giving a little background about my family.
My husband and I are both from Stratford, CT which is a racially diverse community. Because I grew up on the south end of Stratford where most of the black and brown people were and went to school on the north end which was majority white, I often was the only black person or at least girl in my classes. I never had any major issues with racism from any of my peers or their parents. I was just always Tausha, I guess what you would call the “token” black girl in the clique but it was okay. Growing up in the 90’s, many cultural lines were being crossed whether it were in music, fashion or communities. More and more people of color were educating themselves and moving their families out of their impoverished neighborhoods and trying to live a better life.
When my husband and I first got together, we decided to rent out of Bridgeport, CT. Now if you are unfamiliar with Bridgeport, let me give you a quick run down. Bridgeport is a beautiful city filled with tons of parks and a historical Zoo, along with some beautiful sea side beaches. It has a community mostly of hard working people who try hard to keep the city together. But like most cities it has a great deal of crime. One of its main issues besides that, is the poor educational system. The city has incredibly high taxes and yet it seems the money is not going to the schools as it should. My husband and I fought to put our children in the Magnet schools throughout the city which were the best of what the city had to offer (in our opinion) Once our oldest hit high school, though she was going to the Magnet program within the high school, the thought of her walking through metal detectors every day just to get inside the building was very unsettling for us. Paying a high rental price monthly and not being able to ensure our children’s safety in our front yard or in their school was something we just would not accept any longer. Something had to be done.
My husband and I checked our credit scores which were not great, at all. I decided to go back to school and get some more education so that I could get a decent paying job and help with our bills. We buckled down for a year and cleared up most of the issues holding us back. We then were approved to move into a luxury apartment community in Trumbull, CT. Trumbull was our first choice because of the great schools and the closeness to our relatives with it being only a town over. Oh what a difference a mile makes in the things offered to your children! This was something that we needed to do, no questions asked.
Now we have been in Trumbull for over 1 year and we love it. Our luxury community is very diverse with people from many cultural backgrounds. BUT…the elementary schools are not as diverse. When our Zara started kindergarten in the Fall, we immediately noticed that she was the ONLY black child in her class. This is mostly because there are only a handful of black kindergartners to begin with who were spread out among 5 classrooms. There were a ton of 5 year olds starting school at the same time!
Zara was beyond ready for school. She has always been a social butterfly. She has a kind heart and can empathize with a butterfly in distress; the child is a sweetie pie! So you could only imagine how heavy my heart was when she came home from school sad because two of her friends asked, “Why does your skin look like this?”
I immediately reached out to her teacher to express my concerns. I didn’t think the children were trying to be mean, but were genuinely perplexed about Zara’s skin tone. It was at that moment that I realized Trumbull wasn’t as diverse as our small apartment community. The teacher put together some lesson plans and materials on diversity to help the children gain an understanding about differences and how they are okay. I was saddened and borderline angry but I let it go and prepared our baby for what could possibly be next.
About a month and a half passes, and Zara comes home yet again, saying that one of her good friends said the words to her, “It’s because your skin is too dark.” with an attitude attached. This is what set me off. Now I’m mad at everyone involved. I was angry at the teacher, the parents and every child in that classroom. I couldn’t even focus on work because I was emotionally THROUGH. Thinking about the heartache my child was going through because of another child making her feel as if something was wrong with her. There are no words to express how angry this made me. I have since calmed down but please pray for me because if it happens again??!…… (woosahhh)
Let me tell you what I did:
I sent an email to EVERY SINGLE PARENT in that classroom, teacher and principal included that expressed my exact sentiments. I wasn’t nasty and most parents responded positively showing compassion for our daughter. But let me just say this: TALK TO YOUR CHILDREN! If you live in a predominately black or white community please educate your child on the differences of others. Allow them to watch shows that have people of different color skin and cultures. Take them to places to meet people of different backgrounds. Maybe YOU, YOURSELF need to make friends of different races who have children your children can befriend. PARENTS: YOU ARE THE PROBLEM!!!!! We don’t need anymore donald trumps coming up and treating people horribly because of their ethnicity. This is something that is extremely important.
Lucky for Zara, she has parents who are very involved and we have taught her to always speak her mind and be honest. I thank God she was able to come to me about this or else I wouldn’t know anything about it. Always talk to your children and make sure they know that they can come to you about anything.
It’s so sad that we have to decide between subjecting our kids to a crime ridden city with a poor educational system or a beautiful town with hurtful racial remarks about the color of their skin.
These are the choices handed to most minority families who work hard to try and give more to their kids. This is in 2018 by the way….
We have to do better!