Me talking to Husband while driving with Kaki and Egan in the back seat: “And you know Dad will pick the wine at the restaurant. Not just anything is good enough for his *phony snob voice* discriminating palate”
Kaki piping up from back seat: “He does NOT!”
Me- baffled:” What honey?”
Kaki- indignant: “Gapa does not have whatever you said
Me:” I said he had a discriminating palate. That means Gapa’s mouth can tell the difference between tiny changes in tastes.”
Kaki:” Oh. I thought discrimination was a bad thing.”
Me (finally catching on): “Oooh, well, it is sometimes, but not here. Usually, it’s used to mean not liking people because they’re different.”
Kaki:”Yeah, like it’s not OK not to like a person with brown skin”
Me:” No, it’s OK not to like a person with brown skin, but you need to have a better reason for not liking them than their skin. If they’re a mean person and have brown skin, it’s OK not to want to be their friend, like you don’t want to be friends with people who have white skin if they’re mean. Gapa is discriminating because he can tell the little differences between wines. You can be discriminating by telling the little differences between people. The important thing is to know what differences matter and which ones don’t. Like Gapa can’t be fooled into thinking a wine is good just because it’s in an interesting bottle or has a pretty label. He tastes it and smells it and spends time getting to know it. Like you decide who is and who is not a good friend, not by how they look, but by how they act and how they treat other people.”
Kaki: “So it’s good to be discriminating?”
Me: “Umm”
Kaki:”Cause they tell us at school that it’s wrong.”
And I’m stuck, cause all the words I know- picky, choosey, discriminating all sound negative, judgmental, so I backtrack: “You make choices all the time, right? You choose to spend your time playing with one friend instead of another at school. It’s important to make sure that your choices make sense. Are you choosing your friends for good reasons- they’re loyal, they’re fun, they’re trustworthy, or for reasons that don’t really make sense when you think about them? If you don’t play with someone at school because they look different or because the other kids don’t play with them, then you’re discriminating in the bad way. It’s important to make choices yourself.”
Kaki: “So there’s good discrimination and bad discrimination?”
Me “Yup”
Kaki: “How do you tell which is which?”
Me: “Well, sweetie, you um…. You have to learn to discriminate between them.”
Kaki: “Mom!” and mercifully, she starts to laugh cause I don’t think I could have done it anymore.


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