February 11, 2010

Impressions on our Children

Last night I attended a play in Atlanta titled "Brownie Points" written by Janece Shaffer at the Theatrical Outfit downtown. The play tackled motherhood, friendship, race, history, dealing with our pasts, anti-Semitism, class lines and being nice all in one and a half hours. Yes, Janece did an amazing job of making it work. But what was her message? In my mind, the play was heavy. After a long day of children and working, I wasn't really in the mindset for thinking. I believe that plays and stories in general are more effective when the message is less obvious. There seemed to be message packed into every line. Yet, she and the actresses (They were amazing!) did their job of making me think.

After the show, the audience, facilitated by Gail Evans, Georgia Tech professor, discussed racism in our society today. So, I will write about my own African American world. My son is very curious about black people and busy learning about rap music. He studied rap's history and has filled me in on the battles of the east coast and west coast. But the impression I have (through his information and his radio stations) is that two major figures in black history today think they are above the law. In that both T.I. and Lil Wayne, major players in the rap world, have/are going to serve time for possession of weapons. These aren't people I want my children knowing or associating with (white or black), yet they love the music. I'll admit Dead and Gone (T.I.) is catchy and enjoyable. But, T. I. is singing this song because he is going to jail. It's interesting to note here that also Tiger Woods and Michael Vic have not set the best examples for our children of late. (I acknowledge there are plenty of negative actions by white major players (Bill Clinton and  Bernard Madoff) as well, but since we are white, I am speaking about the black impressions my son is experiencing right now.)

What would I do if I had the ear of so many children? But better yet, why aren't our children interested in other things? Like going on a brownie, girl scout, cub/boy scout or 4-H camping trip?

My youngest had George Washington and George Washington Carver mixed up and thought our first president was black just recently. Think about this. What a great idea that our 1st, not the 44th, president was African American. What a different world we would live in! Perhaps Janece's point and question is what to do about all these negative impressions on our children. Maybe this is why the camping brownies were missing from the production. Hopefully Barack Obama (and Michelle) will set the solid example for our white and black children and white and black adults.

"Brownie Points" is running through Feb. 28, 2010. Take a look. http://www.theatricaloutfit.org/.

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