Two little girls from two different worlds.
One little girl spends her summers on the French Riviera playing on the white sandy beaches of the Mediterranean. On those beaches recently immigrated African men peddle their wares up and down the coast, water, juice, ice cream, and her favorite, praline coated peanuts.
“Pralines, pralines!” They call and cajole as they meander their ways around the lounging vacation goers.
The little girl looks up excitedly “The English are here! The English are here!” She calls to her mother. To her nothing is more exotic than an Englishman, and these peddlers are nothing if not exotic.
Almost 30 years later that same little girl, not so little any more, stands in the kitchen talking to her own little girl.
“What color is his face momma?” The little girl asks of a impending visitor.
“Uh, pinkish, like yours, and mommy’s, and daddy’s. We call that white.”
“Oh. Regular? Uh, I mean, English?”
“Uh, no, English speakers can come in every color, brown, black, tan, and pinkish, like us. There’s really no such thing as regular.”
Two little girls, for one English meant foreign and exotic, to the other English means familiar and safe. One has already grown up and discovered how people are different and wonderful no matter what color their skin or what language they speak. Now it’s her turn to teach the lesson to her own little one; to open her eyes to the beauty of the world’s diversity. To be honest though, she didn’t think she’d have to start teaching so soon.