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Children have a unique perspective of the world as they run around with their imaginations as they explore and learn new things. In the fictional piece, The Flowers by Alice Walker takes place at a Farmland where a little farm girl went out adventuring into the nearby field, on her way she picks up flowers and skips merely back home until one single step exposed her to how cruel mankind can be after discovering a carcass next to a noose indicating death by hanging relating to racism between the 1800s and 1930s. ‘The Flowers’ is about racism and how it can impact a child’s life, decisions, and behavior.
The fictional story The Flowers, takes place in a rural area, based from the story it can be inferred that the story takes place after slavery was abolished between the 1800s and the 1900s where both “sharecropper cabins” (and racial discrimination are more common during these time periods. Typically, dark-colored people will be living in sharecropper cabins and working on farmland, this helps with trying to understand the family’s background by ethnicity. In the fourth paragraph, the narrator mentioned that Myop “had explored the woods behind the house many times” (and that this time she “made her own path”. This shows the adventurous and creative side of Myop which is common in children. One mile away from her house is an area which she found to be gloomy, after she set back to return to “the peacefulness of the morning,” this shows that she was having a great morning before she came across a man who had been hanged by a noose on a tree for a long period of time. The encounter which she has had caused a change in her behavior, after understanding what had happened she lays down the bunch of flowers she had along with the wild pink rose. This indicates that this is the significant point of the story where Myop has witnessed a racist act and her life from then will not be the same “the summer was over”.
Children learn from household teaching, then followed by what is taught in schools and lastly from the actions of other adults outside learning environments. This means children learn or pick up from what they witness and will influence how they respond to events such as racial discrimination to another person. “By age 7, children develop racial permanency and around age 9 they start to identify and become more aware of what place their cultural group holds in society,” according to Dr. Spinks-Franklin, a developmental-behavioral pediatrician. Children who face discrimination against their race are also put under more stress, which can lead to deterioration of their mental and physical health according to Dr. Maria Trent, a professor of pediatrics at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. Studies conducted by the Journal of Health Disparities Research and Practice showed that mothers who have reported experiencing discrimination are more likely to have infants with low birth weights. Therefore, the aim is to teach children the proper way of handling diversity and warning them about discrimination to one another in an attempt to create a future where children as adults can be more respectful to anyone, no matter their race.
As children mature, they become more conscious of racial and ethnic differences, and many sources of prejudice and discrimination they experience can influence them in negative ways. Individual discrimination has a higher level of negative impact on physical and emotional health, where repeated discrimination can lead to a chronic stressor and increase vulnerability to illnesses as to other forms of discrimination that may lead to wear and tear on the body. This is not only a problem with people from the past, but people of the future will be impacted by how racial discrimination and its effect on different communities. Children should be able to be adventurous, creative and maintain their innocent as long as they can, because once they are exposed to harsh conditions of the world their unique energy will fade away and will be constantly living in fear, which would strip them of their unique energy.
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