Z has always laughed every time she hears or reads the word “persons.”
I finally sat her down and explained to her that “persons” is a word that has a deep and complicated history. That personhood was for many millennia and in many places reserved for only a certain type of people, such as men, or landowners, or white people, or people of a certain caste or religious faith or neurology...
I explained that even though it might seem silly or old-fashioned when you read or hear that word, it’s a strong word that carries a lot of goodness and respect. That she, as a female of Chinese descent, might -- in many settings over the course of history -- not have been considered a Full Person. That even now she will not necessarily earn as much as a man, or be accorded equal respect.
We are reading Malala Yousafzai’s autobiography, I AM MALALA, together, and she is learning how hard life can be for girls and women in many parts of the world. She has already experienced instances of racism at school. Knowing she’s a Full Person gives her grounding and power to stick up for herself.
This conversation inspired me to begin starting my posts with “Dear Persons,” because my readers are dear to me, and because they are all Full Persons.
Full Spectrum Mama