i've been taking the kids to this new little playground by our house on our free afternoons. it's great, because before i had to drive all the way across the city to get to a decent playground, but this one - while not perfect - is so close, closed in and 5 minutes away.
this afternoon we went - there wasn't any electricity at our place, and it was like 100 degrees with no air flow. the kids ran straight for the swings. in the sun. at 3 pm.
and in all my american-ness, i didn't think a thing of it.
i spread out my students' most recent essays on a bench, and started to grade. i got a little lost in my highlighting and commenting, i guess, and my kids... wait for it.
were in the sun!
"lady! are those your kids? they're in the sun. they might get sweaty."
please forgive me this... but i pretended to not speak spanish. for real.
and then, about 15 minutes later, a woman walked in with her pre-schooler and an elderly woman, whom i assume was her mother. she looks around hesitantly and reads the signs conveniently located on all of the toys telling the appropriate ages.
"son, the swings for you are over there. but they're in the sun. have a seat on the bench."
she sat that kid down and made him watch the rest of the kids play, because the swings were in the sun.
why did you even come to the park at 3pm on a saturday?
the elderly woman then looked at my kids. oh my, look how rubio, white, and blonde! look how delicate! dona, you should be ashamed of yourself, having those children in the sun like that -
they might turn brown.
and i have so much to say about that. but i don't even know how to put it into words. it's a common commentary for us - we are lucky that we have white babies, that amely is blonde. and we should always prevent them from playing too long in the sun - at the park, on the beach, in the campo - because the worst thing in the world is not being dominican, it's being brown skinned.
and i'm done.