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  • Writer's pictureKaren L


Ah, the music and dance school recital, a twice yearly event in most American cities. Countless, piano, voice, and dance teachers present their students to showcase what they have learned. Little children in taffeta, velvet, and bow ties primly march up to the stage and show their skills, usually flawlessly. Often, parents have to give a little push to a reluctant child in a slightly outgrown suit, party dress, or costume. Sometimes, there are older students--high schoolers who have spent their childhood and adolescence with the same school or teacher. They perform more difficult works and sometimes falter but persist. These kids have guts; they pursue and improve. Some continue to practice and perform their art as college students and adults. They will become the parents who encourage their children. Today, I was the outlier, the grandmotherly figure, to perform with the children and teenagers. I am studying the piano. What was most interesting was that most of the performers were multi-racial. This is the population in suburban Maryland, outside of Washington D.C. We are a microcosom of the world. These children were Chinese, Thai, Korean, and South Asian. Their proud parents and grandparents captured their success on their I phones and Androids. This is the emerging face of our country now. In contrast to years ago, when there may have been one brave little girl or boy from a minority racial group; now the blonde girl is the token white child. The parents of the children who performed dream the same dreams, have the same hopes as white parents. They want their children to succeed and to be proud of them. There is no difference between these parents and the caucasian moms and dads of fifty years ago. Playing an instrument, singing a solo, or dancing are part of the fabric and story of growing up (if a child is lucky enough to live in a relatively affluent area.) Why do the haters continue to create differences where none exist? Parents everywhere want their offspring to have a better life than they had. Mothers and fathers--the world over--feed, protect, nurture, and encourage their sons and daughters. Brown, tan, black, white--it just does not matter. We saw the Ukrainian mothers and their children bravely walk and ride trains to another country to be safe. Whenever, there are refugees escaping, mothers and fathers are clinging to babies and holding the hands of older kids. All they want is to be out of danger. Families--and children by themselves--travel thousands of miles northward to enter the United States for the freedom to live far from harm. The color of people's skin, the language they speak makes not a shred of difference. All want safety and peace. Most Americans do not have to reach far back on their family trees to find their refugee or immigrant ancestors. Mothers and fathers the world over wish to see their children well-fed, educated, and proudly playing in a recital.

© Karen Levi 2022

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