According to psychologytoday.com, a mid-life crisis can hit around age 40, plus or minus 20 years, and can include “questioning decisions made years earlier and the meaning of life.” However, in the words of English novelist George Eliot (aka Mary Anne Evans), “It is never too late to be what you might have been.” As an anti-racist/intercultural parent, you can be what you might have been, every day.
My Career as an Ambassador
Coming back from a student exchange trip to Mexico at 15, I knew I wanted to be an Ambassador to a Spanish speaking country. According to eDiplomat, responsibilities include “(Promoting) friendly relations between the host country and the home country,” and “(Developing) commercial, economic, cultural, and scientific relations between the host country and the home country.” As an ambassador, I can build a diverse circle of friends for our family, or discuss with my child different practices in different cultures. News articles, movies, cartoons, and school assignments can all inspire compare and contrast conversations between different cultures and practices.
My Career in the Movies
As an actor, I can perfect the art of ‘playing the role’ of someone else, to step into someone else’s shoes and imagine and empathize with what life might be like for a child in Iraq, a new immigrant to the US, a CEO, or a family living in another neighborhood in our own City. Ah, and the luxury of being a director. Don’t like how I said something the first time…can you say “TAKE 2!” How about Take 98? “Sweetie, remember when we talked about X the other day, I’ve thought about it a little more, and what I really think is…
My Career as a Teacher
This one was not an aspiration back in the day, but a mid-life crisis looks to the future as well. Education consultant Billie Mayo of Educational Equity in St. Louis leads professional workshops across the country, designed to promote “Understanding racism (and other isms) as forms of institutionalized oppression; developing racial consciousness; learning to listen with a willingness to be influenced by those that are different from us.” Hey, that sounds like what I want to do!*
What do you want to be when you grow up?
*Thanks, Ms. Mayo, for sharing these resources that help provide language for conversations about race: You Can’t Teach What You Don’t Know, Gary Howard; Why Do All the Black Kids Sit Together in the Cafeteria and Can We Talk about Race?, Beverly Daniel Tatum; Talking Race in the Classroom, Jane Bolgatz; Every Day Anti Racism: Getting real about Race in the Classroom, a collection of essays by Mica Pollock who also wrote Color Mute; The Dreamkeepers, Gloria Ladson Billings.