The other day we learned about things that are similar and things that are opposite.
It started when we went to the dentist, travelling south. Lil’T asked if we were going to my work which is northwest. I informed her we were going in the opposite direction. She didn’t understand.
I listed as many opposites as I could think of (hot/cold, light/dark, etc) until she got it.
We talked about being similar which meant that some things are different but a lot of things are the same.
Then she asked for a story.
I told her about Rosa Parks.
Then we talked about how some of the light skinned people used to think the darker skinned people were opposites instead of similar. Since the light skinned people loved their children, they would assume someone opposite would hate their children. If someone was nice, an opposite person would be mean. Because many thought of people with different hair or skin as opposite instead of similar, they were afraid of them and made rules to keep them apart.
Rosa and many others thought this was silly so they made a stand. They were tired of being treated as the opposite of fully human. Lil’T loves that part. Since we had watched a Disney movie about Ruby Bridges, a 5 year old black girl who went to a white school, she knew all about racial segregation.
(We started watching the movie before I realized what it was about. Lil’T loved it because in the end the mean kids became Ruby’s friends. I almost turned it off when the movie showed angry people holding black dolls in coffins as little Ruby walked into the school.
Lil’T, however, thought they were just giving Ruby presents in boxes.)
“And now we know better! Black people can go to school with everyone or sit or eat wherever they want! We’re not opposites!” Lil’T was so excited, and I immediately felt embarrassed and conspicuously white.
I reminded her the rules had changed a long time ago, but attitudes change more slowly. Maybe I was reminding myself.
Then we talked about opposites again. I said some words and Lil’T had to tell me if they were opposite or similar. She was pretty quick until we got to dog and cat.
She paused. “Four legs, furry, good pets, like to be scratched behind the ears…. similar!” She pronounced.
“What about boys and girls?” I asked.
“Similar!” she said with no hesitation.
I’m glad that she can find more in common than to separate.
I have to remind myself of this when dealing with certain people. Our worldviews may be opposite in many ways, but we still have much in common.
We may have different definitions of love, but we all want it.
We aren’t completely the same, but we aren’t opposites.