prejudice and all that begins at home. I remember one time I went to
Missouri -- that was the only time I left California -- I represented
the Board of Education, as a grandparent or parent, you know. All I
heard in the conference was about the black child, the black child, the
black child. I told 'em I came clear to Missouri to hear about a child,
not just one particular race. They had a microphone where you could
talk after the people talked, so I got up there and I told 'em. The
ladies I had gone with said, "Oh no, Dolores, you're not going up there
to talk." When I've got to say something, I say it.
So I went up there and I said, "I want you, all of you" -- and there
was about five thousand men and women in the conference, you know, and
I said, "I want you to all to close your eyes for a minute and come
with me to a kindergarten in East L.A.," I said, "You have a black
child, you have a white child, you have Filipino, Chinese, Mexican, all
races in the kindergarten." I said, "You have to have your eyes closed
now, because we're in East L.A." I said, "One child will fall down and
scrape its knee and they all run to it, all the nations, the kids. They
look at what happened and then they go and call the teacher so she can
come and fix it.
"But what happens when they get to sixth grade? 'I don't wanna sit by
you, you're Mexican. I don't wanna sit by you, you're white. I don't
wanna sit by you, you're black.' What happened from kindergarten to the
sixth grade?" I said, "You know what happened? It's you and you and you
and me. In our own houses we talk about the Mexican child, we talk
about the black child. Maybe in conversation with the husband and wife,
but they've got ears and they hear. So that's where they learn the
prejudice, at home."
I said, "And I come all the way from East L.A. to listen about one race
of child? I don't think so." I said, "I came to learn about a child so
that I could go back and tell them what I heard. That's what I want to
learn," I said. I said, "I don't want to learn just about one child,
Everybody stood up and they started clapping. After that we still had
two more days of conference and the atmosphere changed completely.