Most 6 year old girls are into fairytales, barbies and tea parties. When I was 6 years old, I was really into the Civil Right’s Movement. In first grade for Martin Luther King Day our teacher vaguely (hello we’re 6 fucking years old) gave insight into the purpose of the Holiday. She read Martin’s (nickname status) speech and told us about all the progress we have made since that time. I remember being transfixed by the whole story. In hindsight I blame my 1st grade teacher. She led me to many sleepless nights. Let’s try and explain racial discrimination to a 6 year old? What progressive teaching methods.
I came home and told my mom that I had a new boyfriend. “Oh really? Is it that cute Jewish boy Michael?” Negative. “His name is Martin.” Someone had come down with an early case of Jungle Fever. I began having a very serious emotional connection to Marty and the entire black community. I tried to distance myself from my white friends, I didn’t want to be guilty by association. I thought about arranging sit-ins in the lunch area but logistically it just wasn’t possible (I went to a primarily white and Jewish elementary school – they had their own problems)
After my endless questions “Mom, why didn’t we let black people sit where they wanted on the bus?” my parents started to realize something was up. “Honey, is Martin a boy at school?” Double negative. I explained who he was, how we met and told her that I loved him. Pretty fucking romantic if you ask me. She inappropriately told me he was dead (thanks for leaving that small detail out of the story Ms.Berger…bitch) I cried and mourned our beautiful union. As days went by, I began to feel like myself again. I even started hanging out with my Caucasian friends. Soon I was out of my funk (pun intended)
For Hanukkah that year, I asked my parents if I could get my skin died brown but keep my blonde hair. Very Beyonce of me.
Haute Mess Lesson: You can have meaningful relationships with people you don’t know. I’m talkin to you Gosling.