Don’t Make Me Open Up a Can of Civil Rights on Your Racist 4-Year-Old Butt!

I thought I’d take a few minutes last Monday and teach the kids about Martin Luther King Jr. and civil rights in general.

We had a good talk in the car about who Martin Luther King was and what he stood for. Laylee could not get enough. “Tell me another more story about him,” she begged so I told her all about the civil rights movement. I explained how bad it was for people who were treated differently just because of the way they looked and I told her how much better our world is now because of the sacrifices made by so many people who worked to make things equal for everyone.

Magoo didn’t get much of what we were talking about and when we got out of the car, he began running around jabbing a stick at people and yelling, “I’M THE MOOTH ER KING! PUME! PUME!!!” I suppose we all have the right to celebrate the holiday however we choose. I do have a dream that some day he will get on the clue bus though.

When I ran out of the 4-year-old-appropriate stories I knew about the civil rights movement, I started to make up scenarios to apply racism to Laylee personally, leaving Magoo to his own devices.

“What if you tried to go to preschool and they told you that you couldn’t go to a good school because you were skinny and they thought skinny people were bad so skinny people had to go to a yucky school? How would you feel? What if people threw stuff at you or wouldn’t let you use the restrooms because your skin was that peachy color?”

We talked all about how we should treat everyone with kindness and how even if people are mean to us or others, we should stand up for what’s right without being mean back. I asked her what she would do if she saw someone at preschool being mean to another kid because of the way they looked.

She stopped, thinking so hard you could almost see the thoughts popping out of her ears and then she said, “If I see anybody being mean to somebody at preschool… um… I guess I could do the civil rights on ”˜em to get ”˜em to stop. I wouldn’t hit ”˜em. I’d just sort of do the civil rights.”

“What do you mean by that?

“You know, just, like, do the civil rights to them.”

With her word choice, it sounded to me like code for some sort of brutal playground hand to hand combat move. “Well, Jimmy likes to use an uppercut or just whack the other kid over the head with a Little Tikes folding chair but I personally prefer to mix it up by giving ”˜em a quick civil rights to the solar plexus.”

I suppose she could be planning a sit-in or something. At dinner later that night she told Dan that for civil rights you mostly just sit places and sing songs. This description could apply equally well to a peaceful civil rights protest, Woodstock, or a class at Gymboree.

Maybe we’ll try this again next year.

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21 Responses to Don’t Make Me Open Up a Can of Civil Rights on Your Racist 4-Year-Old Butt!

  1. “You know, just, like, do the civil rights to them.”

    Oh no.

    They’re growing… to become… lawyers.

    Stop them NOW. Before it’s too late!

    (Spoken as a law school student working on a stupid-no-good-icky-i-hate-it-so-much-it-hurts-why-am-i-doing-this-to-myself brief at 2 AM in the morning. With at least another hour to go.)

  2. Rebecca says:

    That’s right, little girl. You civil rights ’em, right upside the head.

  3. Lara says:

    I have SO been there, and I am with those who wonder why a person in such a hurry can honk & glare, but not get out and help. Heck, I’m the one with the kids in the car and I’ve veen known to get out and help myself! Just another sign of civilization’s decay I suppose.

  4. roflmao 😉
    Yeah, I tried to teach them young too, lessons by example work best at that age.
    Good try and next year might prove better.

  5. That’s hilarious — I can’t stop laughing! I just keep imagining her doing a tight little ju-jitsu move on a classmate!

  6. grammyelin says:

    At least we know that there is Laylee out there to save the world. How, we may not really want to know!

  7. Nicki says:

    What a little sweetie. I love to hear their translations of what we’ve told them. I blogged today about something my five year old said. I just can’t get enough of how their minds work!

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  9. I love this post with a great love. Great!

  10. mother of the wild boys says:

    I think I frightened my DH while I was reading your folding chair link (he thought I was laughing like a crazy person)…I had forgotten about that story! You are so funny, I just need to go back and re-read all your blogs sometime. 🙂

  11. Tina says:

    Crack me up! I love the things kids say. It’s just so awesome to get into their heads isn’t it?

  12. jennifer says:

    I’m still laughing! I bet she’ll confuse a few classmates with her civil rights moves.

  13. Eve says:

    Seriously funny stuff! I’m going to add that phrase to my repor.

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  15. HolyMama! says:

    what a great conversation! we tried the same thing last week, didn’t get anywhere with our kids’ understanding and consoled ourselves with the ‘well i guess we tried. maybe later’ train of thought.

  16. Laurie says:

    I was stumbling around the blogging world tonight and tripped on in here, and i am SO glad i did! your kids sound like they’d get along great with mine and cause all sorts of civil rights havoc together. thanks for the laugh!

  17. This cracked me up. Laylee is brilliant. Of course her mom is a comedic master. Black belt. So it figures.

    Very glad I stopped by to read today. Thanks for the wit-and-wisdom smackdown.


  18. Yuka says:

    You made me laugh out loud with this one. It makes me miss Laylee. Say hi to her for me!

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