When I see people treating children with such disdain, I wonder what these “people” think is going to happen when that particular child grows up?
If we look at our own experiences as children, whatever they might be, can’t we easily see how a child who is treated poorly, will inevitably grow up to be a broken adult? Don’t we understand, logically, that a child who is nurtured, supported and loved – that he/she will most likely grow up to be a decent and productive person?
How are we missing this?
It’s logical, but also innate to our existence. As human beings we tend to want to protect children – so how is it possible that sometimes, a lot of times, we don’t?
In my experience, it tends to be that we don’t value OTHER children as much as our “own” children. In a lot of ways, that makes sense. But it’s also incredibly selfish and misguided. Your child will someday affect my life when he/she grows up. Your child will inevitably affect my child because they will work together, play together – who knows, maybe even marry each other. Doesn’t it make sense then, that my concern for children should be more inclusive than just the ones that share my DNA?
My heart breaks for the children currently at the border. This “other-ism” – this ability to not care about a child in pain – anyone’s child – is more telling of who our society is, who we are as a people than anything else. We don’t care because they’re not “my” child, it’s not even my friend’s child… but it’s more than that, isn’t it?
In America – in these United States – a country I love, the fact remains that a brown child is less valued than a white child. It’s so much easier not to care when the child’s value is not as significant. Imagine for a moment, what the state of play would be if all of those kids at the border had been white, blonde-haired children from Poland or Ireland? I don’t think any of us – not anyone reading this anyways, doubts for one minute that the United States would be up-in-arms and taking to the streets to help those precious kids. The white ones.
It gives me no pleasure at all to admit this. It kills me every day to see how “un-reactive” we are as a society to this horrible situation regarding “OUR” children, children of the world sitting in squalor because they need help. And the United States, this grand country with so much wealth allowing it to happen is beyond comprehension. “Other-ism” is the justification for harming children. I feel helpless most days. I tear every day knowing these kids will grow up one day and will remember how horribly they were treated, and those bruises and scars will not heal well if we continue to dismiss people as legit human beings deserving of love, kindness and support.
Because of my personal circumstances as a child, I was raised by so many different people – Black, White, Latino families. Regular people who didn’t see me as “other” but saw me as one of their own. A community that valued a child in distress. I was so blessed. It’s what my book CANELA is all about. We need to find a way, to take care of all of our children – value them as they should be. Cure our hearts and our stupidity.
We. Are. Better. Than. This.