Boy And His Best Friend Show What Happens When You Don't Teach Kids How To Hate

by Meredith Bland
Originally Published: 

Post about race and a haircut goes viral

Are you ready for the sweetest story you’re going to hear at least all day if not all week? We’ll answer that for you: no, you’re not. There is no way you can be prepared for the sweetness of this story, but we are going to tell it to you anyway. So, hang on.

A few days ago, Lydia Stith Rosebush posted on Facebook about an argument she and her five-year-old son Jax had about an upcoming haircut. You see, Jax wanted his hair cut a certain way and Lydia disagreed. There’s absolutely nothing unusual about that until you learn what kind of haircut Jax wanted and why.

Jax has a friend named Reddy who he’s been going to school with for the past two years. Jax wanted to shave his hair really short so that he and Reddy would look alike.

Here are Jax and Reddy.

According to Rosebush’s post, “He said he couldn’t wait to go to school on Monday with his hair like Reddy’s so that his teacher wouldn’t be able to tell them apart. He thought it would be so hilarious to confuse his teacher with the same haircut.”

I mean, can you even? No, you can’t so quit lying.

This is one of those adorable things that kids say that make you go, “Huh?” and then “Awwwwwwwwwww.” The fact that Jax truly believes that if he and Reddy had the same haircut people would have trouble telling them apart speaks volumes about how children — if we don’t teach them otherwise — can define people by who they are and not their skin color. At the end of her post, Rosebush wrote: “If this isn’t proof that hate and prejudice is something that is taught I don’t know what is. The only difference Jax sees in the two of them is their hair.”

Now, before we start saying things like, “all children should be raised this way,” it’s important to point out the role that white privilege plays, here. It’s possible that Reddy would feel the same way Jax does, but black children often have to pay attention to race because it can be a matter of life and death for them. They don’t often have the luxury to see past race. Let’s remember that we’re not at a place yet as a country where that’s a reasonable option for most parents of color. Raising their kids to ignore racial differences isn’t necessarily the best choice for those parents, and while this post is about adorable kids saying adorable things, I think it’s important that we not lose sight of that.

**Updated to add: After reading the comments I realized that I left an extremely important point out of this post. So let’s be clear — “color blindness” is not the goal, here. Not only is it impossible because…well…eyes, but what we should be aiming for is to recognize and celebrate our differences instead of being afraid of them or pretending they aren’t there, which is a bunch of nonsense. Update over.**

That said, it’s clear that Rosebush is doing a wonderful job raising a wonderful boy who loves his friend. Scary Mommy reached out to Rosebush to see what ended up happening with the head-shearing in question. She told us the following: “I took Jax to get his haircut over the weekend. I didn’t let him shave like requested. Typical mean Mom! He’s very upset! Since this story has become a viral sensation I will likely give in and let him cut it all like he wants.”

Woo hoo! Jax, you win!

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