April 15, 2009

To where do folks in Hell tell other people to go ?

Things That Anjali Has Said Today*:

"Be careful, Arun. Okay? Be careful! Okay? Okay?"

"I peed in my diaper. I have poopy bottom!" (then she commences with maniacal laughter)

"Are you mad at me, Mama?" (No, sweetie. Not any longer)

"Wanna see Celeste again." (This said, just mere seconds after having totally dissed Average Jane to her face.)

*Keep in mind she cannot pronounce her Ls (sub with a W at your leisure) and she says Arun as "ah-woon". Which yes, still kills me every time with the Sweetness.


So. Earlier this week, the eloquent Meno had a great post on a subject that has clunking around in the attic that serves as my brain these days:
Em gave me The Year of Living Bibically: One Man's Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible by A.J. Jacobs for Christmas.

I liked it pretty well, as in, i actually finished it. It's a pretty affectionate look at some of the silly laws in the Bible.

Here is a quote from the book;

It's why i don't know what to do with Jasper. If i give him some religion, then he might become obsessed and go Guru Gil on me. Then again, if i give him no religion, he could descend into moral anarchy. They're both so risky. I feel like i can't win.
and, Meno goes on to write;
The really annoying part of the quote is that it's pretty casually tossed out, like everyone KNOWS that those of us without religion are amoral, serial-killing, dog-raping, baby-hating, 401k-embezzling, wife-swapping, 7/11-robbing, public-spitting scofflaws.
During NaBloPoMoFo 2006, I wrote about religion every Sunday. All in all, I wrote 4 posts in total and came to the general conclusion that Church Is Boring. So, I made a dedicated effort towards not attending church. It has worked out pretty well for me and I love having my Sunday mornings free, save for the occasional Easter Egg Hunt, of course. I have also determined that while church is not an inherently bad thing, I do not believe it is absolutely necessary for achieving morality or even ethics. Oh, dear Lord, no. I am sure all of us know faithful church goers who lie, cheat and steal.

For a time, I felt guilty not attending church. Now? Not so much.

And Meno's post reminded me why.

Since I am getting all Deep Thoughts Or Not on you today, I will end with this.

The other night, as they lay in bed going to sleep, I overheard X and Arun discussing color. Arun observed that X is brown, I am white and that he and Anjali are also white. While the exchange itself was adorable, a part of me was sad. There will come a time when Arun realizes that some folks do not respect his father completely based on his color. The same father he adores. Furthermore, many folks will not consider Arun a white person because of that tainted drop of brown blood. Someday, Arun will overhear someone making fun of folks who are not from this country, folks who should change their funny-sounding names. Specifically, Arun will probably hear some joke about how all Indians own convenience stores (hopefully, we will teach Arun well and he will be able to retort "Only if you are a Patel!" Heh.)

As I always say, kids do see color, they just do not assign a value to it. I just hope my children will feel confident enough to ask me about all the Future Crap they are going to inevitably hear someday. As such, I am going to teach Arun and Anjali to call themselves Mudbloods.

And they better be proud of it, dammit.


Melanie said...

We all want to protect our kids from the nastiness out there, but we can't. What I hope for is arming my children with the tools they need to cope with the inevitable ugliness they encounter, and along the way I hope their compassion grows (even compassion towards the ignorant--because I believe ignorance is the root of all prejudice and hatred).

My daughter developed a hemangioma (strawberry birthmark) on her forehead at 9 days old (well she started developing one then, these things take Months to grow and years and years to receed/fade)... my son didnt even question it...he still sees the beautiful baby girl that we see.... but when we are out in public, i see the stares, I see the people look at her and then look at me with accusation in their eyes (I know ppl think I have caused her harm) and I worry about what she will face when she is older and realizes that she is different, but in other ways I am so grateful to have had this experience, I feel like I can see real beauty more vividly than I ever could before, and I feel like my family and myself may well be better people for now that we have watched others reactions to our baby, we now are more conscious of our own actions and reactions.

Cagey said...

Oh, Melanie,

You make some great points and thank you for sharing that!

And I should point out that it is adults I worry about more. Kids? Are funny in that they do view the world more openly. I have never heard a kid question Arun's name, or even struggle with the incredibly difficult pronunciation (sarcasm, indeed). It is the adults who always look at him squinky-like with the name thing.

Of course, kids have to learn it from somewhere, I suppose.

Monkey McWearingChaps said...

Heh. Patel jokes. They're like lawyer jokes.

Cagey said...

Hey, good call on my Hypocrisy.

Average Jane said...

Aw, I knew Anju and I were still BFFs. She just didn't want to look like she was playing favorites.

meno said...

I knew i liked you for a reason!

I've never wanted to actually hit someone more than when they insulted/ignored/were mean to my child.

Monkey McWearingChaps said...

I meant in the sense that Patel jokes are awesome and Patels laugh at them and often tell them. Well, the non-overly sensitive Patels, anyway. I love a good lawyer joke myself.

Mojavi said...

yes we have already had this little speck of racism here in this little town in regards to the Asian in our family... *sigh* lets just say it was dealt with.

bethiclaus said...

For us, the religion question was not a big deal. Church is just part of what we do. And sometimes it's not. And that's okay with us. I took a seminar this semester on religious pluralism and all of the students were super left-leaning (like myself). I found it interesting that many of the students were perfectly capable of believing that Muslims or Hindus were saved through their own religions, but most of them were incapable of seeing secular humanism as in some way salvific. I really struggle with that, since I'm totally unconcerned with the notions of Heaven and Hell and, as you've pointed out, the religious among us certainly don't have the corner on morality. It would seem to me that secular humanism is salvific, if an enriched morality is the salvation toward which one is striving. Ah well.