Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Out of the mouth of babes.

I heard a very unusual comment yesterday at camp between two 11-year old black girls. Being at an inner-city camp full of vibrant, talkative youth, you get to observe some very "colorful" commentary during the day. I was talking to the kids about whole-grain cereals for breakfast and asked them what they ate that morning. One black girl raised her hand and started off, "Well, in the moar-nin' I eat..." One of her friends sitting right next to her interrupted with: "Girl, you can' say it like that! Its MORN-NING! Morn- ning," she said wagging her head. I asked if the first girl was from the south, and the second one volunteered, "No, she ain't from the south. I'm from Atlanta. She's from Texas." The girl tried it again: "In the moarn-nin' I eat..." She didn't get very far again. Everyone started snickering again. Someone from the back said, "Thas the way that black people talk!" in their o-so-perfect Latin American accent. The second girl said, "Don' be distrespectin' black people. That's the way we talk." They'll make fun of one another brutally, but they don't let anyone else do it. It's the same situation no matter whether its black, Hispanic (I saw two 16-year-olds do the same thing on the playground earlier in the day.) Isn't it amazing to think that at eleven, they already have such a strong cultural identity and loyalty? They certainly know their differences.
Don't we all defend our differences though? In marriage I am learning that there are strong differences, and strong preferences we hold onto strongly. Don't you find it easy to say, "Well, if you had just said it that way..." or "Why can't you just accept this?" I think its all a desire we have to crave independence and to guard our self. I just wish we all knew our similarities as well as we knew the things that were not the same. Its a lesson we all need, to lay aside our differences and embrace one another as who God made us, different, unique, but joined together for His good purposes.

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