Особенно порадовало самое начало:
- Мама, что они имею в виду, когда спрашивают, кто я: белая, темнокожая, азиатского происхождения?..
- Они спрашивают про цвет твоей кожи.
- А какая разница?...
И самый последний абзац:
"Я возлагаю очень большие надежды на детей, которых мы сейчас воспитываем, и которые унаследуют эту страну после нас. Я надеюсь, что мы не успеем окончательно ее замусорить до того, как они вырастут и придут на наше место"
At the beginning of her second-grade year, my daughter was filling out a questionnaire for school when she stumbled on a question she couldn't answer.
"'Which most closely describes you: white, black, Latino, Pacific Islander,'" she read aloud. "What do they mean?"
Your skin color, I told her. She stared at me blankly for a few moments.
"Who cares?" she asked, genuinely baffled.
I don't write down nearly enough of the things my kids say, but I wrote that one down.
(Another I committed to paper, from my son: "Mom! The Hulk is so strong he could lift you! Wait, which weighs more, you or a bus?")
But back to racial harmony.
One of my very favorite things about my kids' Chicago public school is the ethnic diversity. The school sponsors "Around the World" night every spring, and parents and kids fill the gym with booths showcasing their heritage. We learn about (and sample foods from) Jamaica, Colombia, China, New Zealand, Ghana, Mexico, Croatia, Korea, Ireland and more.
The official demographic breakdown, according to the school's website, is 40 percent black, 29.1 percent white, 13.2 percent Asian, 9.6 percent Hispanic and 8.1 percent "other."
Which means my kids have friends from everywhere.
It also means the xenophobic rantings of some of the grown-ups (a term I use loosely) they hear about in the news make zero sense to them. It's as if they're hearing Greenlandic Norse or some other ancient, dead language.
A new Pew Research Center report finds that more and more American public school students are gaining similarly diverse experiences at school.
The U.S. Department of Education projected that minorities would outnumber white kids at public schools beginning in 2014 and continue to increase their numbers, largely because of the rapid growth in the number of Hispanic and Asian school-age children being born in the United States, according to Pew.
In 1997, 63.4 percent of students at public elementary and secondary schools were white, 36.6 percent were black, Hispanic, Asian/Pacific Islander or other. By 2012, those numbers looked like this: White kids made up 51 percent of public schools, while 49 percent of kids were a minority.
By 2022, the Department of Education projects, 54.7 percent of students will be minorities, with Hispanic kids accounting for the largest chunk of nonwhite enrollment.
I see this as promising news, not just for children, who benefit immensely from being surrounded by peers who may look and speak and eat differently from the people in their homes but who want and need the same things when it comes to academics, friendships, security, support.
It's also promising news for our country, which can't possibly sustain itself — let alone prosper — if we don't get a better handle on the way we relate to one another. Digesting events as predictable as the MTV Video Music Awards and as gut-wrenching as gun violence, I'm demoralized daily by our national stagnation on race relations.
I have high hopes for the kids we're raising to inherit this country. This new report boosts them even higher.
I just hope we don't trash the place beyond recognition before they're old enough to take over.