Today we celebrated Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birthday. As I explained to my children who he was and what he stood for, something really struck me.
Until a couple of months ago, my kids had no idea what racial prejudice was. We started reading the Addie (American Girl) book. This is written from the perspective of a 9 year old slave in America. It was very descriptive and eye opening to my girls. They couldn't understand why anyone would ever behave the way this country did only a short time ago. We talked a lot about slavery and that time in our history. We also talked about how this is still happening all over the world.
Today though was the first time we really talked about segregation and racism. Again, they were so baffled by the behavior. We talked about Rosa Parks and the boycott King encouraged which led to a new law banning segregation on buses. We talked about where King lived, who he married and his children. We talked about his profession and his heritage in that profession. We talked about his famous speech and how it still needs to be learned by many. Then, we talked about the inauguration and why this is such a big deal.
It is amazing to me that only about 150 years ago, children my children's age were already being taught and believed the exact opposite of what I am teaching my children. They believed they were better and had the right to treat another human being with such disrespect.
Although Obama and I have our differences and I would much rather him be on the conservative side of issues, I am amazed at the change our country has made in such a short amount of time.