I recently moved to Jackson, Tennessee for my job with Union University. Prior to living here, my son attended public school in a suburb of Houston. His school was perfectly diverse. A rainbow of colors and ethnicities. Now, he and my daughter both attend a public school in Jackson. He is in third grade. She is in kindergarten. It is also very diverse.
In the evenings at dinner, we always ask the children to tell us about their day. Two days ago, something struck me about the way they talk about the kids at school. They NEVER mention race. Grace has talked about a couple of little girls “who we have to help learn English,” but neither she nor her brother ever talk about “black” kids or “hispanics” or anything of the sort. If pressed for a description of a child, they will sometimes say something like, “She has dark skin and black hair,” or “He has light skin and blonde hair,” but they never convey any sense of “us” or “them” in their description.
It makes me wonder if we were to stop talking about it all the time in politics and in the academy, would we finally enter the post-racial period we’ve been hoping for?