My heart completely broke this morning for one of my students. What do you say to a child wounded by the mean words of another? It is not an easy task. It makes me want to help the world see we must do a better job. His little tears depend on it and the only way I know how to do that is to write about it.
I thought yesterday was a mess which is a story for another blog post but then here came Thursday. Let's just call him T for the purposes of this blog. There he was looking up at me with tears welling up in his eyes as I asked him what was wrong. As he is crying he says J told him Mexicans are bad and people from Mexico don't belong in Michigan. More tears with a pause. Then T says "my Momma and Grandma are from Mexico" and then just huge tears looking up at me. I'm Mexican too.
OH-EM-GEE! Even a young child can understand the fact that there is nothing he can change about who he is or his family. Yet have another person leave him feeling completely unwanted, wrong, shamed, bad. How do you explain to a child what they are feeling is oppression?
T gets it. He's not wanted, shouldn't exist…SIMPLY NOT TRUE. 💔
My heart broke for both these kids today. One because I love J and I know he does not have an easy life. I've written about J in the past. He has suffered in his young life far too much but he has nevertheless learned privilege from this world and his heart is hardening. He decided to use it to deliver incredible harm to T.
J isn't the only child saying harmful words. I've heard a black student called a brownie…I've heard another student told they show everyone what it looks like to be gay. And I've seen and wiped tears from these children's eyes every time.
I missed seeing J today but he was sent home. Educators have to teach them these actions are wrong. But seriously, the odds feel incredibly high when our country has leaders who take pride in this kind of hate. It's sickening because a teacher can see it come straight back out of the mouths of children.
We aren't born of hate. We learn it or we experience it and it just becomes a horrible cycle.
I'm sitting here tonight teary eyed with prayers for T. Praying he never has to hear something so wounding about his identity ever again.
All I could do was hug him and insist what was said to him is simply not true.
Loved By Grace,