Some nights I read a book about Gandhi to Sempi for bedtime. There is an incident in Gandhi’s life when he’s thrown out of a first-class coach in South Africa because he is not white. I told Sempi that it was an injustice and it doesn’t happen anymore. He listened intently and nodded approvingly. The next night I’m reading a comic about superheros and he asks me, “How come everyone in Justice League is white?”.
I stuttered to come up with an answer at that moment, cursing myself for introducing him to the concept of race.
Since then he’s asked me to read the Gandhi book many times and we talk about the struggles, non-violence and civil disobedience.
Recently, his elementary school teacher did a fantastic job of introducing the struggles of Martin Luther King Jr. He was excited to learn about MLK and how he learned some of the techniques from Gandhi and Thoreau. So naturally, we bought a new bedtime book about MLK.
One night we had this exchange.
Sempi: Appa, how did the first person came into existence.
Me: (I was gearing up to talk about evolution, Adam and Genesis).
Sempi: Appa, if there was a single person in the beginning, then we all came from that person.
Me: (excitedly) That’s true. Everyone in the world is related. You’re probably related to Ms. Cochran (his elementary shcool teacher).
Sempi: (giggles) Hehe. It also means that Martin Luther King could be my relative. Hehe.
Me: Absolutely!! You know MLK and Gandhi were probably your great great grandfathers.
That’s my son. :D