Monday, July 22, 2013

from Philadelphia, PA to Pipersville, PA {35.74 miles}

“Once upon a time they was two girls," I say.
 "one girl had black skin, one girl had white."

Mae Mobley look up at me. She listening.

"Little colored girl say to little white girl, 
'How come your skin be so pale?' 

White girl say, 'I don't know. 
How come your skin be so black? 
What you think that mean?'
But neither one a them little girls knew.

So little white girl say, 'Well, let's see. 
You got hair, I got hair.'
I gives Mae Mobley a little tousle on her head.
"Little colored girl say 'I got a nose, you got a nose.'
"I gives her little snout a tweak. 
She got to reach up and do the same to me.

"Little white girl say, 
'I got toes, you got toes.' 
And I do the little thing with her toes,
 but she can't get to mine cause I got my white work shoes on.
"'So we's the same. Just a different color', 
say that little colored girl. 

The little white girl she agreed and they was friends. 
The End."

Baby Girl just look at me. 
Law, that was a sorry story if I ever heard one. 
Wasn't even no plot to it. 
But Mae Mobley, she smile and say, "Tell it again.”

It is just 35 miles away.
The city.
Sometimes it seems like these places are worlds apart.
I cried last week because my kids
(the ones in the city and the ones in our home)
 are upset and angry.
We talked about racism.
We talked about being the best person we can be.
We talked about skin color and assumptions.
We talked about choices.
I can never know what they are feeling exactly. 

Kaishon told me that people around here make him feel different all the time. 
Bria told me people look at her differently at all the 'white places' I take her. 
Bria said most people don't look at her badly, they just look. 
She feels different. 
Naji told me people think he is bad as soon as he walks into a store. 
Naji said everywhere he goes he can just tell that people think he is going to be bad. 
He told me there is no way I could understand. 
He told me Gary knows what he is feeling. 
I asked Gary. 
Gary said he does know.
 Gary knows about racism.

I pray for peace. 
Most of all, 
I pray that everyone I know will take personal responsibility for being kind to all those they encounter.

Rich people, poor people, brown people, white people.

Every person matters.
Every single one. 


O'Boy! Organic said...

Beautiful! This truly says it all.

ajcingram said...

I love this....we are more alike then we will ever be different! Beautiful, thank you for sharing this post with pictures.

Souffle Bombay said...

Beautiful post. I am proud to say that my children(9 & 11)see everyone exactly as they see themselves, and I hope as they grow the media doesn't influence them.

Lauryn said...

A beautiful post Kaishon. Your words and your photos say it all. I too hope that everyone will take responsibility for being kind to all those they encounter...beautiful words.

Jessica @FoundtheMarbles said...

My absolute favorite book ever. Such a beautiful post.

Rebecca Stanley said...

Oh I love you and this post and your kids . . . all of it.

Busy Bee Suz said...

The story at the top says it all; we are all the same. {LOVE that!}
Love to you and your family.

melissa q. at a happy stitch said...

What a touching and beautiful post. Thank you.

*Jess* said...

so true.

Anita said...

Is that you and your honey, Rebecca? Beautiful photo, and so are the rest!

Sometimes I feel like just giving up on all the explaining black people have to do about certain things and ideas that are perceived to be "black." (Not that it is everyday, but enough) My first explanation is usually, "We aren't all alike." However, it's a conversation that must persist; just like your pictures. You have to keep shooting- because someday, those who don't truly get it will "get it."

Gigi said...

You made me cry. Because yes, we are all the same...just different. Why can't some people grasp that concept boggles my mind.

I just keep telling myself - maybe the next generation will get it.

Bevy said...


I wish I could say it louder...

great post, Becky... beautiful!!

M said...


I have always taught in very diverse schools. I was the minority in my classroom for 26 years. One of my favorite stories is from a day in kindergarten when we were gardening. It was muddy and my sandals were thick with mud. I looked at my watch and when I realized it was an early release day I called all the children from the garden to the back door of the classroom. I gave quick directions for leaving and took my shoes off so I wouldn't track mud into the classroom. I was very tan and beneath the sandal straps revealed very white skin. A very bright little Indian girl looked and my feet and looked up at me in shock with her brilliant observation and said, "YOU'RE WHITE!" All year long she saw me as an Indian just like her.

I like to think that I don't see color....when I have to mark the "race" on stat sheets I always have to stop and picture the child in my mind...I can't flat out tell you what race the children are. I wish it were this way for everyone :)
Happy Wednesday!

Mark, Wendy, Dale and Rose said...

This. Is. Amazing. And it broke my heart. We still have a long way to go, don't we? Thank you for writing this.

photowannabe said...

Amen, Amen, Amen!!
Thank you for sharing this beautiful
I pray we (me) have more Grace and Love and understanding.
I pray for the sweet people in your lives, that they stay tender. I pray that for my own too.
Wish I could be there and we could hug, laugh and cry together.
Absolutely stunning photos of LIFE.

FootPrints said...

I'm scared for my blue eyed, blonde daughter to start feeling different in her school of Black hair, brown skin. i hope she never feels different at home either where it's the same as school!

Christina said...

As usual, you say it just as it ought to be said. I am broken-hearted, but know that a sovereign God is holding us all in his hands. I was in tears by the end of your post. I wish we all had your lovely heart.

Anonymous said...

Beautiful Becky as always your soul is beautiful i know how it is and is really a shame how some people can be my kids feel bad every time they come out because people stare and whisper so they just stay in breaks my heart.

Katherine Vargas

Farmgirl Paints said...

beautiful parallel with the pics girl. you have a gift!

Dee Wilcox said...

Such a beautiful post, and your photography is lovely. I'm catching up on reading, but this was timely and right on the mark. Thanks for sharing. :)

Sarah said...

Amen Sister. I love your spirit and your words, and I know I'd love you, too.

Joanna Jenkins said...

Amen to ALL that! It makes me sad that the kids feel different, really sad.
Sending love and hugs their way and hoping people become colorblind.

xo jj

Jennifer Hoppins said...

I hate that Gary has to know that feeling, and that Kaishon is feeling it too. Where we are, our churches are kind of separated and so our our neighborhoods. I once worked as a housekeeper at my college and I experienced that feeling of "other" as I was the only white person on the staff. It was not a very comfy feeling, but let me tell you that I loved my coworkers and saw through something that many people don't realize or question. The management was mostly white and the labor was mostly people of color. For an independent, pacifist, liberal college whose founders helped to establish the underground railroad, I thought this was deplorable. Then I realized it had more to do with the outside community's sense of entitlement which still remains in the south. Many wouldn't dream of applying for an unpleasant job like that, but coming from the north, I didn't grasp the situation. The day I showed up for work, everyone was shocked to see me and didn't trust that I was simply there to work.

really.truly said...

Love!! Love this. The picture of the black/white doors is awesome-all the pics are.

Katie said...

It's sad that it has to be this way at all. I can understand what your son is saying. Ignorant people make a lot of assumptions. People assume that Lauren's birth mom was on drugs? Hmm really..The stuff that comes out of peoples mouths. I have seen it on both sides, I wish people could just make their own opinions based on the person not the looks. My boys are very lucky in the fact that they understand racism but they don't understand the reasoning at all.

brainella said...

I wish there was a magic wand. Beautiful post. :-)