Souls have no color

Paula Henriquez

Niños cubanos. Foto: Caridad

HAVANA TIMES — We all know that children come into this world without any prejudice. Their way of thinking and expressing themselves is so sincere that they can even be cruel to each other, but they are so naive at the same time that they forget any brawl they’ve had a few moments later.

On the contrary, parents of these children take these small “fights” very seriously and as a result, they make them into adult problems.

If children really are the reflection of their parents’ behavior, isn’t it then also true that it’s up to us adults to teach them how to act, bear with and deal with problems so that this growing child doesn’t inherit bad habits that can harm their behavior later in life and so they know which situations are worth resolving and which aren’t and therefore, look for a solution.

Children shouldn’t leave a friendship behind because of their parents because such a sincere and true friendship like this one only comes about a few times in your life.

I know a little girl who one day told another “you’re black and I’m white”, a comment with racist connotations if it weren’t coming from a 4-year-old girl who was playing with her friend and decided to make an obvious comment which later led to their friendship breaking.

I also know that there was no harmful or offensive intention in her comment. It was a simple observation between themselves which a lot of people wouldn’t have picked up on if the mother of the other little girl hadn’t been there, who decided to stop this girl from playing with her friend. Since then, these two girls have become sad and both of them went their separate ways.

It’s been like this up until today, when these two girls don’t see each other and want to talk to each other and tell each other lots of things. You can see the joy in their faces when they run into each other, they look for each other when they aren’t being listened to and it breaks your heart to see them like this. And I ask myself everyday: Is this the way to raise children today, when we talk so much about equality, about unity in schools, at work and everywhere else?

Why do you have to take into account a person’s skin color? Why do friendships depend on such trivial things as this? Why do two children, who don’t understand the problems we adults have sometimes, have to break a beautiful and sincere friendship?

Yes, racism is an evil that has existed for many centuries, but we can’t let it continue to affect us in the 21st century. We can’t cut short the future of those who are growing now, because what will be teaching them? To live with limits? To not succeed in what they set themselves out to do?

Somebody suggested I apologize to the other mother and I admit I really did try, but this woman doesn’t want to change her mind. I suffer along with my 4-year-old daughter who doesn’t understand anything and I don’t know how to explain the meaning her comment had for the other family.

She… still doesn’t understand which is logical. If my daughter wants to play with her daughter, I will be happy to forget this misunderstanding. I don’t know how this mother would react, I can’t nor do I want to change who she is. My daughter will always be friends with whomever she wants to, whenever the SOUL of that person doesn’t have any color.


Paula Henriquez

Paula Henriquez: Since childhood I have been told I should be careful what I say in public. "Think before you speak, especially in front of others," my mother would say, and it was more of a plea than a scolding. Even today I hear her and I obey her, just that I do not speak, I write. Letters and words are my escape, my exit and daily catharsis, which printed on paper, revive me. And this picture is my refuge.