Transracial Parenting »

The Klan Ghosts of our Past

I think that when you get to a certain age and you are parenting, you look back on some of your childhood with blinders on. I was spanked, so therefore it can’t be all bad. I had sugar so why can’t he? On and on, we try to gage what we are bringing into parenting versus what we received from our parents.

One of the best parts about my son having started with a Waldorf education has been to fight the video disease – the one that spreads through your child’s mind like a plague. Television, telephone, and every other device you might think of is vying for his attention and not to teach him. No none of these videos exist to take your place as a parent, or to engender his imagination, they are simply there to entertain and sometimes confuse.

We have compromised in this house on Friday night movie night and that at least has helped with the arguments and whining. He knows that Friday night he gets to watch a movie and there it is. So last Friday night, we were watching Kiki’s Delivery Service but before it started I was showing him an episode of Casper the Friendly Ghost. This is a cartoon I grew up with and in my mind the most benign cartoon a child could watch.

Until we watched it.

Oh my. I watched the jury of elder ghosts that looked like the Klu Klux Klan exiling Casper for being friendly switch to the next frame, which were boys tying tin cans to the leg of a dog, to the next frame of the Dog Catcher coming with his rifle and shooting at the poor dog for blocks and blocks and then I was able to get to the remote and turn the whole damn thing off!

Whew.

All of those frames went by in a nano second. Whoosh. And I was shaken and stirred. It really hit home how much racism and violence I ingested like Cheerios without even noticing. I watched a study of how mass murders are happening at a much faster clip – no wonder – think of all the parents of these kids who had the same diet as me.

My goodness.

It’s hard for people to understand how we got to where we are today, but I witnessed one huge thread connecting the violent, racist society we live in today with our innocently imagined past  – Casper the Friendly Ghost. Now multiply Casper by the thousands and millions of rapid images we have received throughout our lives and try to imagine undoing them, one strand at a time. The violence, the racism, the sexism, the heterosexism, the homophobia – good grief. We have nothing but unraveling to do.

With these images weighing heavy on my parent brain, it is no wonder I was disturbed to see these pop up in front of a house on the bayou. They reminded me of Klan ghosts of our past.

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By Rachel Dangermond

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