Friday, January 25, 2008

Diversity and tolerance

Second grade again today. I like this age; still young enough to like their teachers and be silly, but old enough to be responsible and largely self-sufficient.

I was reading a book about Jackie Robinson for social-emotional time. One one page was both the words 'colored' and Negro.'

Me, after finishing the page: "Those are words that white people used to use for black people, but not anymore because they're not considered nice."
Girl: "And watermelon."
Me: "Uh, what?"
Girl: "Watermelon is a name for black people too."
Me: "Oh dear."

Later on, after one of my usual enthusiastic "Awesome" shout-outs, another girl said, "You're always so happy, Mr. Chance."
Me: "Well, that's the first time anyone's ever said that, ever."
Girl: "What?"
Me: "I'm screaming angrily on the inside. All. The. Time."
Girl, giggling: "You're so silly!"

In her naiveté, she mistook my fondness for children and my natural inclination to build up kids' self-esteem in jovial ways for self-contentment on my part. Ha ha! I'm actually full of angst.


Also, here is a new proposal for a flag of Oregon, as per Michael5000's contest. Michael is fast becoming my favorite blogger, which is no mean feat considering the strong competition out there with the likes of Chris Sims, Churlita, the Waiter, and Scipio.

Anyway. Michael is right to call for a redesign; flags with words and dates on them sort of miss the point of flags in the first place. It's a banner, not a mission statement. My design is primarily forest green, to represent Oregon's wondrous forests of pine. The top and bottom and bordered with gray, which represents the eight months of rainfall that keeps the place green. In the middle is a beaver icon (the state animal and nickname, as well as representing the spirit of pride and labor that I love in so many independent-minded Oregonians who are not hobos). Finally, the beaver is in a circle of blue, which represents the all-too-brief spring, during which the weather is perfect.


Michael5000 said...

Oooh, that's gonna be a strong entry, fo sho...

Janet said...

As a resident of Oregon, I have to say: well done!