Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Many months ago, Miss I had decided to "say hello" to every "brown person" we encountered. Even longer than that, she was firmly set on"Hi-ing" them. Both of these things were humorously (usually, anyway) time consuming, because we walk ds to school, which is fifty percent aa (students, faculty and administration), our church is multiracial with a black pastor, our grocery store is in a diverse neighborhood . . .

Now, she has decided to hug every brown person we see.

In general we haven't have problems with indiscriminate affection, but Miss I does not have a good sense of personal space. This is coupled with the fact that she generally believes that people are basically good and that everyone wants a hug and specifically, from her. Over time, I had gotten used to explaining to strangers that we were working on attachment in order to deflect their attention or explain her behavior. I haven't had to do so much lately, and it is disconcerting to be doing it once again, particularly in relationship specifically to race. When she's so clear that she wants to hug someone specifically and only because he is brown, I feel unspoken judgment passed on me and pity for her from the would-be hug-ee.

3 comments:

mia said...

Obviously it's something to attend to because of personal space and all but I don't know if I'd read too much into it Abebech. Maybe she's just trying to do a little connecting with a part of her identity that she relates to. Figuratively speaking of course. You know what I mean? It's easy to over analyze our kids. I do it all the time and it usually ends up being something far more simplistic. Kids are brilliantly simplistic.

abebech said...

Thanks, Mia. You always make me feel like we're probably doing okay :)
I'm hopng that that is the case. Since she's four, it makes total sense at this age that she prefers my aa friends to my non-aa friends, our aa neighbors to our non-aa neighbors, and the same at church. So she's just doing the same with strangers . . . it just feels much stranger.

Anonymous said...

you are doing a wonderful job.
Have you asked her why she wants to hug aa strangers? I always question about how people identify with others simply on the outside appearance-- and how it can lead sometimes to poor choices of friends down the road... Especially in Girls.

lola