Josi is heading off to Mexico with her classmates shortly.
Excited? Is she ever!
Am I? Yes and no.
By traveling without me or her dad, she is fostering more independence. Granted, she will be under the watchful eye of her capable and trustworthy teachers. Being a very seasoned traveler, she is ready and poised to travel.
While in Mexico for ten days, Josi will be immersed in the culture of Mexico. This is not new to her. As a family we seek immersion when we travel. We believe it enriches the travel experience, opens our kids up, and teaches them about the world outside the U.S. In past years she has traveled with us to areas in Mexico that are not inundated with tourists.
Josi has had a taste of the rich beauty of Mexico. She has also experienced racism. I know because I was there to witness it – the gawking stares, the stunned expressions upon seeing her, the pulling of the corners of the eyes to point out the shape of her eyes. And the talk. What they didn’t realize was that she understood every single word they said. She handled it by choosing to ignore it. But I, well my feathers were more than a bit ruffled. Without language skills, I was not able to be proactive or reactive.
Protective mama needs to take a deep breath and remain confident that Josi’s teachers will handle it well, if it occurs. They are all native speakers, two are Mexican and one is Spanish. They are wonderful compassionate human beings.
So, I again need to gently open up the race dialogue with my daughter, one she doesn’t have much interest in. It isn’t a comfortable conversation, but it is necessary. Racism exists everywhere on the planet and only by talking about it will she have the ability to navigate it.