On the topic of skin color

I recently read an article where a black mother wants to inform her child’s white friends that they should be aware of how black people experience racism so that they can help their friends to combat it.

I have struggled with this article for a while.  Oh, and I’m white – I think I should disclose that, although I long for a time when that won’t matter one way or the other.

I completely understand why this mother wrote the article. Completely. My issue is not with the article itself; my issue is that I don’t want to tell my children that black children may be treated differently.

Why? Because ANY visual difference in a person may lead them to be treated differently and I don’t want them to linger on that specific physical trait. Glasses, skin color, disabilities, deformations, etc. I don’t want it limited to just, “Langston is black and so for perfectly stupid reasons, some close-minded morons may decide that he looks scary in a hoodie. So, stand up for him if that happens.”

In reality, I want my children to stand up for ANYONE who experiences wrongful accusations or unfair treatment for any visual characteristics. I don’t think that I want to call out black specifically. I am hoping that the world gets past it so I don’t want to call attention to it. Does that make sense?

When my kids were first noticing that our neighbors had darker skin, I would help them refer to the neighbors visually. Like “the lady with the long hair” but with skin color since they were small and wanted to point it out.  I would say “did they have light skin or dark skin?”. To me, this was the most accurate depiction of every race of a person. From my mother’s side of the family with olive skin “kind of light” to my kids with light skin and reddish hair. To the kids from school from Sri Lanka with dark skin. They’re not “black” as we know it in society, but their skin is just as dark.

So what happened? School. In school they taught history and everything referred to blacks and whites. That’s just not accurate enough for me. I’m still trying with the light vs. dark skin – we’ll see how it goes.

In the meantime, I’m happy to report that my oldest son stood up for his geeky friend to some bullies. It’s kind of a visual identifier if you think about it – given that he dresses differently and carries himself in a less-confident posture.

I just think that NOTICING physical traits are part of life and we should not call attention to any in particular as part of the education of our young before it happens.  To prepare them for what what small-minded people may think or say might work against us. We may unwittingly skew the perception of our children by making them look at their own friends differently than they have before. It’s OUR burden to bear that we know what happened (and are horrified by) from so many years ago. I think that separating that visual trait from other noticeable traits is how we got into this mess in the first place.

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Vaccines and Politics

I’m a little torn up today. When it comes to social media, at times I feel perfectly overwhelmed that so much is broken, it’s impossible to effectively address anything.

Today, my thoughts are on vaccines and politics.  It’s funny to me that vaccines have become the third forbidden “casual conversation” topic.

So, what am I thinking about vaccines?  Here’s what I’m thinking:

In my mind, vaccines are a necessary evil. Let’s say that they don’t contain preservatives and remove that argument about mercury. Let’s say for this conversation that they are just dead viruses or the like that teach our immune system to protect itself against that illness.

Because our bodies must manifest everything they ingest, my first thought is that we can no longer treat vaccines with this “one size fits all” approach. Our bodies process them differently for a thousand reasons. Why do we insist on just injecting the same thing for all?

I once had my then 4-year old son’s titers tested for Tdap. He was protected for 27 lifetimes. And that was WITHOUT the recommended booster.

Can’t we do better? When I ask this question (as well as the preservative one) I get answers centered around how unfeasible alternative possibilities are due to cost. I’m just very tired of that answer.  I just can’t accept that. Calling all millennials in medical school – keep an open mind, friends, we need a better way. Quite often, I wish I’d gone to medical school.

Here’s the second thing I’m thinking: If our bodies manifest things and based on my son’s 27 lifetime protection, why isn’t it possible that our immune system is OVER reacting to protect itself and we develop auto-immune issues (allergies, for example) as well as other issues.  I think it’s incredibly possible.

Allergies are more severe than ever, particularly in our very-vaccinated children. So, if we can’t (conveniently) remove the vaccines, what can we do? I’m going to try the ALCAT test and see how that goes. I think that it’s possible that we’ve also manifested a more subtle issue and that is food intolerances.  they’re not as notorious as actual allergies, but make us subtly miserable – digestive, skin, even behavioral.  I’m anxious to find out. Hoping to have the testing done next week.