I never thought I was racist. Growing up in Northern Maine everyone is white. Yeah we had some kids that were Native American. We called them Indian. Just as we sat Indian Style on the classroom floor. We would sit up straight and proud and try to resemble the pictures of Indians that we had all seen. We were always told that Indians were very proud people and what had happened to them was a terrible thing. The children that were Indian were proud and sat up ram rod straight.
When Chrissy went to kindergarten and the children went to sit on the floor at circle time they had to sit criss cross applesauce. What the hell is that I thought! I asked her teacher, cause I had to know, and she said it was discriminatory to say Indian style. WHAT!?
We didn't have any black kids in school until middle school. That's what we called people who were black then. I referred to them by their names. Then we had two at different times. That's it. Neither was 100%. Not that it mattered to me. That's was what I heard. We all hung out together. Neither child stayed long. I remember some of the kids ragging on them. They took it well but I'm sure it hurt. It always is hard to be different.
I remember the first Afro American person I saw. She was in Zayre and I was six. She was the largest lady I had ever seen. I was fascinated!!!!! She was standing at the front of the store and in a big, booming voice, she was hollering for her son who was running around in the store somewhere. I couldn't help but stare. I thought she looked like Aunt Jemima. Not the one on the bottle now the one on the bottle with the Do Rag on her head. She looked like someone who liked kids and would pick you up and hug you in her arms and make you feel special.. I used to study the bottle in the morning as it sat on the table. I always wondered who she was and did she have kids. My mom grabbed my hand and yanked me along and hissed it's not polite to stare. But stare I did. As I was being pulled away she turned and winked at me and smiled. I smiled and tried to wink back. I led a very sheltered life.
When we lived in Florida it was a huge melting pot of people. Colors everywhere. Different cultures and personalities. It was so exciting. This little girl from Maine was in love.
I wanted to embrace everyone! To be friends with everyone. I already talked to everyone I came in contact with so why couldn't we all be friends? Then when Kadie started school it all became clear. If you were white in color you had an easy life. Except if you were white in color and Jewish. Then you were rich. Oh, I worked in a Dr.s office and the Dr. and his wife were Jewish. She always said the Jews will Prevail. To this day I'm not sure what that means. She was scary so I never did ask her. I would just look down at my schedule book and nod my head yes. I DID NOT work there long. I didn't even give a two week notice.
If you were gay you were trying to be different. You wanted people to look at you and make fun of you. Can you even imagine that? If you were from India and you wore your your native clothes you wanted to be different. If you lived on a street where everyone was white you were racist. And so on and so on. It became tiresome.
In Kadies classroom the children were relentless. Not at first. At first, in kindergarten, all the kids were the same. Everyone played together, went to birthdays together and had fun together. Kadie had one little friend, Kaleia, who was her very best friend. They were stuck at the hip. It all changed in fifth grade. They had not played through the summer as Kadie was here in Maine at camp. The first day of school rolled around and she couldn't wait to see her friend. Kaleia ignored her and played with her other friends. After a week Kadie was alone in the bathroom and her friend walked in and she confronted her. Why won't you talk to me? Kaliea told her she couldn't be her friend any more. You need to be with your own kind. When I heard that I was appalled. I called her mom and when I didn't get an answer I left a message. SEVERAL times. My call was never returned. So I went to the school and the principal informed me that at this age the kids start to pair off in their own groups. IE Spanish with Spanish, White with White and African American with African American and so on. Whew, this is tiring. Can you imagine living it? All these rules. What you can say or not say. Who can you talk to or not. Kadie was 10.
In Jr. High we had even worse problems and when I feared for Kadie we switched schools.
This whole time people are saying I'm racist. Or I must be because I was questioning the source of our aggravation. It was mind boggling. So when we had more children we decided to move. We put names of states that we like into a hat. We had Tenn. Idaho, WI and Maine. We had ties to WI and Maine. We picked out Maine. We sold our house and moved here. No jobs and no home to go to. We just took a Leap of Faith that it would all work out.
Yes Maine is white. Very white. That doesn't mean it doesn't have the same problems as Florida. We have drugs and crime and poverty. Blah blah blah. It just means we can be who we are. People who love other people. I can't speak for others. I also can't save a world that doesn't want to be saved. I have a hard time making my bed in the morning and teaching my kids school. All my family and I can do is help the people who want it and try hard to live morally. I teach my kids to treat everyone kind. If we don't care for someone to still be kind to them. They are people to. Not everyone likes everyone else and that's okay. We can still be kind and use our manners. Yes, at times it's hard to do. We just want to live our lives in the simplest manner possible. If that makes me racist than so be it.