Tuesday, January 20, 2009

mutts and murals

It was fascinating to me to see these 7, 8, and 9 year old caucasian upper-middle class children watch the inauguration of our 44th (and first mixed-race) President of the United States of America, Barack Obama. I felt so lucky to have been working in a school that has televisions in every classroom, where students were able to watch history in the making. A few of the students watched in revered silence, while others continued to goof around and ignore what was going on over 2000 miles away in Washington. 
It was nice to be able to quietly guide students in painting their murals and creating their collages while listening to Aretha Franklin, the beautiful prayer given by a man I have never heard of but who used such lovely words to dedicate the event, and of course the swearing in of and passing of the power mantle to the most recognizable face and position in American government (please note I did not say the most powerful face in government, I do know better than that). We are truly a blessed people.
This experience reminded me a little bit of watching my eight year old brother's baptism. You see the same thing they are watching, but you know that it is so much bigger than they will be able to understand at this moment of their lives. These children are the sons and daughters of doctors, artists, engineers, architects who (for the most part) are the sons and daughters of pioneers who have lived in the West since the West was won. They are wealthy and white and will probably never fully appreciate the importance of having an African-American president as would, say, a class of children in New York or Kentucky. Or nearly any place other than Utah. And this is a total soapbox but I really do miss the multiculturality of back home, and that is a large reason why I do not plan on raising my children in Utah (no offense to my many friends who love and adore this state, and I do too, but just for the purposes of getting an inexpensive & high quality university education).
I was listening to NPR on the way home, a poet was reading one of her poems about growing up as a mixed-race child. She compared that experience to hearing Obama mention possibly getting his daughters a "mutt" because that was essentially what he was. I paused, thinking, wow. I'm a mutt, too! I have never thought of it that way, but there are so many in America that are a mixture of races, and that is part of what makes our county so great. Wow. God Bless America.

1 comment:

Mandy said...

God Bless America.
And Utah.

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