Day #133 – I’ve Never Seen a White Person

Odd title, I know – but trust me there will be great stuff in this post.  I figured there is not a better topic for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. day.

Tucker will be a crusader for human rights. I have no doubt.  From an early age he didn’t see differences in people.  Yes, some of this is due to the home he was raised in – but, most of it is his failure to see the ‘spectrum’ of people.  People are just that, people.  He doesn’t recognize clothes – so he doesn’t get rich or poor.  He doesn’t recognize who is smart.  He doesn’t recognize color.

So much so that in 2nd grade during Black History Month he exclaimed to me, “Mom, I don’t understand all of this black and white talk.”

I raised my children reading all types of children’s literature including stories like…

The True Story of Ruby Bridges and

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Rosa and

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Who is Jackie Robinson?

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So I didn’t really understand his statement.  As usual, with Tucker I try to get more information before I attempt to make meaning of what he said.  So, I replied, “Tell me more.”

“Well, I’ve never seen a black person.”

Okay, we do live in small-town, rural Iowa – but I KNEW this was not true…but again, I just went with it so I replied, “Oh, yeah?”

“Yeah, and I’ve never seen a white person.”

Now I’m having a real moment – did he look in the mirror this morning?  What in the world?!?!?

I replied, “Tucker – I don’t understand.  I know you have seen all kinds of people and talked to all kinds of people.  Help me.”

He proceeds to grab a piece of typing paper out of the desk drawer.  He holds it up and points to it, “Mom, I have never seen someone this color.  The color white.”

He points to our black refrigerator, “Mom, I have never seen someone that color.  The color black.”

I’m a bit amazed…and he continues on.  “Like you, you’re not white – you’re actually kind of peach.  Dad’s skin is more reddish.  Grandpa is like tan or really light brown – especially in the summer.  I don’t understand all of this talk because I don’t think black people or white people exist.”

That’s MY son…a genius.

The more I’m around children like Tucker – and children who have more special needs than Tucker the more I recognize the irony.  They don’t recognize the differences in others.  I don’t know if it’s because their brain is so busy just trying to keep their own life going that they don’t have time to think about it or…well, honestly I don’t know.  The thing I know is that our most special children don’t judge.

The irony is heartbreaking though.  He doesn’t recognize this when it comes to others – but others certainly recognize this when it comes to him.  Last year we hosted a back to school party for his 6th grade class.  Two students showed up.    He was heartbroken and said, “See Mom, I told you no one likes me – they think I’m weird.”

These are the true tears of motherhood.  I held it together until those two children left – I thanked their parents profusely.  See – I had a bit of a manipulative motivation when it came to that party.  I wanted this new class of students to meet Tucker, to see him in his own environment.  I wanted them to see the Tucker I see every day.

When Tucker went to bed that night I cried.  I cried a lot.  I cried because he doesn’t judge.  I cried because others do.  Mostly though?  Mostly I cried because he would stick up for and take care of every student in that class – regardless of what they said or thought about him.  He also doesn’t understand retribution.

Because people are people, and we forgive – because we are forgiven.

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2 thoughts on “Day #133 – I’ve Never Seen a White Person

  1. Pingback: Day #255 – Old Soul | 366 Days of Autism

  2. Pingback: Day #327 – Indexing | 366 Days of Autism

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