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Sunday, March 22, 2015

A HANDMADE CARD FOR HARMONY'S BIRTHDAY

 


A few days ago, when I read this for the first time, all I could really think about was how hurt I was as a little girl when things like this were directed at me.

I was trying to imagine how upset I would have been if my friends parents, Laura Watt's parents had been different.  If Laura's parents hadn't been kind, generous white people with one foot inside always inside hippy culture, if they hadn't been as open as they were, I wonder how many different shades of devastated I'd have been if Laura had given me a card like this in 4th or 5th grade....or any grade.

Looking at this story again, I see that a 10 year old white girl drew her friend a pretty card; knows that being a racist ("races") is a bad thing; and hopes her mother will change her father's mind.

Judging by the video, the little white girl's hopes were dashed.

In the video, Harmony's Father said that the birthday party went off without a hitch. And maybe it really did. Everything  probably was okay during the party itself.  But Harmony wasn't okay. I know she wasn't  because I wasn't. My parents always wanted to believe the same thing when I was targeted because of my skin color. And I helped them believe everything was "okay." As young as 7 or 8 years old I knew what I was supposed to say.  I knew how to make my parents less upset on my behalf.

It still amazes me when parents say 'bad thing *x* happened yesterday, but then we did fun thing *y* immediately afterward. So she forgot all about it'  ...especially when bad thing *x* contains a suitcase full of racism that weighs more than the little person expected to carry it.

Still, I'm hoping Harmony genuinely did have the happiest of birthdays this year. Maybe her mind really didn't travel back to the moment she opened this card/folded note--- not during the party anyway. And I hope she won't remember reading the note OR the reaction of her parents when they first read it... not too often, anyway.


I also hope the little white girl was at least somewhat distracted the night of the party. But better she had a night full of tears over being left out than lose the knowledge that her father's actions were indeed racist and hateful --even though she loves him. Ten years old is rather a young age to figure out that you can love a person but despise some of what is inside them.

But she can do it. Others have. Others can. Others will.

More than anything, I hope that neither one of these girls ever completely forgets this incident and that we don't either.

I wonder what kind of artwork was drawn on the cover of the card?



READ MORE/SEE VIDEO  http://abc7chicago.com/562622/