A short while ago Charlotte and me, as is our habit, took the bus into town. The bus was late. No surprises there. As we were waiting a black gentleman walked up and sat beside Squid. At the time she was beating her hand on the seat.
"Sound's like you are playing the tambourine," said the man.
Squid had no idea what a tambourine was and looked to me.
"You know," I said gesturing as though I was playing one, "like Grammy used to play in the Salvation Army."
"Oh!" replied Charlotte.
At this point, the man walked off trying to see if the bus was coming. Seeing it was he returned to the stop.
"After you sir," I said smiling.
"After you, Jamaican," grinned Squidy thinking she was being funny which was, in fact, what she was trying to be.
The gentleman ignored the impropriety and clambered on board. I gently spoke to my daughter telling her we didn't know if the man was from Jamaica or Jamaica Road, London. Just because he was black didn't necessarily mean he was Caribean. He may have been born in England or America or deepest Croydon.
"Oh!" she said.
You see, Charlotte isn't racist. She isn't any "ist." She simply is what she is - innocent of such concepts. She doesn't see the horrid divisions humankind has erected. Her friend, who is Down Syndrome is, first and foremost, another person; another person but with Down Syndrome. Much like me really, another person but with diabetes.
After all, we are all people, all persons and I bet not one of us doesn't have some condition, complaint or disease.
This is a film from MENCAP...
Russell Cuts the Corn From The Brewers Whiskers.