You see, on a bus there used to be people like me and people like Mr. C…
Mr. C. is one of Av’s favorite teachers — he’s one of the ones in charge of his after-school program. He’s also one of the few teachers of color in his Jewish school. He’s used to a strong Black community at his pre-school, but they really didn’t delve into Martin Luther King Day so much at that point…
… and now we can all sit together on the bus, but before now it used to be that Mr. C. and others who look like him and I would have to sit in different parts.
Honestly? Av really doesn’t have much bus experience. He’s been on a school field trip on a school bus. Once. And airport shuttle buses with his parents. Aside from that? Just cars and subways.
… and Martin Luther King thought it was bad that people had to be in different places just because they looked different. So he made the rules change.
I’m not sure how much Av gets the notion of prejudice based on appearance. He knows that there are people in his world view who look different, speak different languages, wear different types of traditional clothing, and more. He’s aware of diversity. But does he know a world with prejudice? Does he see a woman wearing a hijab and automatically think certain things about her? Does he see race? Does he get that the ethic makeup of his school now is quite different than it was when he was in preschool?
Can he even fathom what life was like before “the rules changed?”
I’d like to think that what he’s heard about Dr. King paints a picture of an equalizer of some sort. I’d like him not to know baseless hatred and prejudice when he gets older, but I’m pretty sure the real world will make that a subject of discussion.
But now we can all sit together on the bus! Oh — and when people get off of the bus we can move to the front if there are seats still left there…
I’m not sure if Martin Luther King resonates in his head after all. I just think he likes buses.