Friday, December 11, 2009

Nut Cracking

Mouse, Emma and I stand in the lobby of the Peoria Civic Center Theater waiting for Mouse's class to arrive. Students from all over the area parade past us, heading to their seats to watch the Nutcracker. As their teachers present themselves to the ushers they identify themselves by their school's name. Schools from the north of town draw no comments from either girl. It is a school from the south, one I've heard called a 'ghetto school' by some of my classmates, that grabs Emma's attention.

"Mommy, why do all the kids from that school have dark skin?"

"Good question Emma." I'm stalling to organize my thoughts. She's right. Only their teacher is white. "The school a kid goes to depends on where they live. The neighborhood those kids are from must have a lot of families with dark skin. "

"But why?" She asks.

"That's not a simple question to answer, Emma."

Just then Mouse's class arrives, excited, breathless, and all colors of the rainbow, though decidedly white. Mouse runs off to join them.

I put an arm around Emma and head for the door. "Let's go," I say, all the while planning a very different field trip.

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