So last night I'm watching the evening news in the living room. I've been trying to make a semi-habit of it to help expose the kids to something that doesn't have a Disney logo on it. I caught the news bug fairly early from watching - and ruthlessly picking apart - newscasts, so I figured a little repetition of history wouldn't be a bad thing.
Great in theory, but not so easy to manage when the subject matter isn't packaged in sugary sweetness.
To wit, the reporter covering the shooting
at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum shared, in excruciating detail the views of James Von Brunn
, the gunman (oops, alleged
gunman because of the whole, you know, innocent-until-proven-guilty silliness that idiots like this hide behind. But I digress...) Suddenly, narrated graphics took over the screen, and my 8-year-old was reading, wide-eyed, the contents of the note this moron had left in his car:
- The Holocaust is a lie.
- Obama was created by Jews.
- Obama does what his Jew owners tell him to do.
- Jews captured America's money.
- Jews control the mass media.
My son asked me, simply, "Why does this man hate us so much?"
I felt like a deer in the headlights, afraid to move lest I make a bad situation worse. I took a deep breath and considered my words carefully. Noah has learned extensively about the Holocaust both in school and at home, so he's keenly aware that the world isn't always fair, and that bad things happen to good people sometimes - often because of their religion, race, gender or orientation and not because of anything they might have done.
He knows none of this is logical. He accepts that there are people out there who would single him out because of who he is. Even before this happened, my son's perception of the world was already nicely and necessarily tarnished.
I used it as an opportunity to explain why we need to be proud of who we are, why we need to speak out against people who hate, why we can never forget where we come from, what happened to us along the way, and why we must empathize with - and advocate for - anyone who's victimized in this way.
He's a sweet, sweet boy, who unfailingly puts others ahead of himself, so his response was no surprise: "He held the door open to help that man. He did a good deed for him. It's sad that the old man didn't appreciate that someone was being nice to him."
I gave him a hug and said no more.