Currently, we’re reading the “Little House” books from when I was a little girl, with our almost-9 year old daughter. Actually, I don’t remember much about the stories, so I’m enjoying them like it’s the first time reading them.
Another mom who used to cut my hair has a daughter who at that time was full-on obsessed with the series.
“Just a warning if you guys start reading these,” she said. “Laura’s writing in a time that has really different ideas and some viewpoints aren’t so ‘PC’. Your daughter will probably be shocked at some of it, so be prepared to discuss why folks then might have done things we consider rude, or racist, or whatever.”
I appreciated the heads up, and then forgot about it, as my daughter resisted reading these for years.
So, back to the other night – I read a passage in which a young Laura says she longs to see a pappoose and hopes that Pa will show her one someday. She says she figures that since Pa seems to know everything about wild animals, he must also know all about Indians, who she believes to be wild men.
“What?!” my daughter sputtered, and unhappy at the comparison Laura drew. Which I was pleased to hear. We discussed how some previous generations had this faulty idea of civilized vs. wild cultures, and so forth.
“She should NOT say that. All people, we are all Homo Sapiens, or ‘Homos’,” she said emphatically.
My guess is that she either came up with her own interesting abbreviation for the phrase “Homo sapiens”, or overheard someone use the slur and figured they were abbreviating “Homo sapiens”. This caused 2 challenges for me – not giggling, and trying to figure out if/how I should address that interesting abbreviation . . .