My girls and their cousins are snuggled up on the couch, sharing two throws between them. The lighting is muted. I am on a reclining single sofa by myself, my neck craned at an angle to watch the movie with them. Every few minutes when a significant scene occurs on screen, I am watching the children instead, reading their faces, body language and seeing how they are dealing with things that we don’t talk about at home.
The movie we are watching is the Hidden Figures.
The next morning as the girls (my twins and my niece) sit eating donuts and drinking hot chocolate, I ask them what they thought of the movie.
“It was good!”
“It was unfair”
“Do things like that happen even now?”
“The women were so cool!”
The opinions span the spectrum from innocent to thought-provoking. I act as a moderator, asking questions and directing the flow of thought. Eventually, the kids run out of steam and goof off.
Any conversations about race in our home have to do with our reality. We talk about race in the context of DNA and nature. We talk about genetics. We talk about traits. We rarely talk about racism.
As a parent, it was heartening for me to see my children pick up on unacceptable behavior on screen and call out on it. While I wanted that conversation to continue and talk about the systemic perpetuation of what we saw on screen, we ended up talking about women in STEM, women helping each other and women beating the odds.
Both kinds of conversations are much needed, one easier to talk about than the other.
I cannot talk about the racism that surrounds us without delving into the history of our surname. In order to be able to do that, there are questions I need to ask myself, things I need to educate myself on.
I feel woefully unprepared.