And so are their kids.
In case you can’t discern from the flaming title of this post, there may be some unsavory vocabulary present in this piece.
Please excuse me.
And, if this is something that your mind prefers to not interact with, by all means, consider this your warning.
To go read something else right now. Because, I’m about to get buck up in here.
And, as my friend Roo noted, some things just require a few intensifiers.
To get the point across.
And sadly, this is one of those things.
So, head out now, if intensifiers scare you.
Matter of fact, if you’re bored, why don’t you just go check out my Pinterest page?! It’s filled with fun, tame, intensifier-free type things made of smiles and rainbows and Ryan Gosling.
Ain’t gonna be like that.
My son came home the other day and reported that, during lunch, in front of a large group of his friends, one of his more ignorant classmates lost his ever loving mind took it upon himself to call him a nigger.
He said it.
To my ten year old son.
In front of his fourth grade classmates.
I guess I should be happy that this is only the very first time he’s had one of the most vile racial slurs to ever enter the English language used to hurt him.
I guess I should thank my lucky stars that this was the first time he’s been shamed and humiliated in this way.
I guess I should be happy he didn’t do more; because after recent, horrific racially motivated events, we a know that worse can happen.
And, I guess I should probably not drive over to the school tomorrow and drop kick someone in the chest.
A couple of things came to mind when this news was hurriedly shared with me by my 6 year old tattle teller: 1) I hate people, 2) I hate ignorant people especially, 3) I want to punch that little brat’s mom clean in the face, 4) thank God my son had no idea how horrible this phrase is, 5) Oh my God, how have I not taught my son how horrible this phrase is!
As a black chick, I have been referred to negatively in this way before.
Not a lot of times, thankfully, but a few.
And every single time it hurt.
But, like everything else in my mom life, none of those hurt as badly as this.
Or made me want to ruin someone so badly with a punch in the face.
I’m not really much of a face puncher.
But on occasion, I’ve been know to light that beast on fire.
And learning that my sweet, innocent, probably-gonna-enter-the-priesthood-one-day son was referred to as a nigger, is one of those occasions.
I know, I know.
Violence begets violence. And two rights don’t make a wrong. And assholes can only hurt you if you let them. Sticks and stones.
Give me a stick. A couple of stones? How about a belt?
My son wouldn’t know what to do with a stick if you armed him with it and showed him a video tutorial on how to kick someone’s ass when they begged you to do it.
He’s just too sweet to get down like that.
And also, his fire doesn’t ignite for anything.
Unless it’s bound and sporting an intriguing title. Preferably something on wizarding, or adventure.
He is a passive and calm person unless you’re talking about books or science or video games.
That’s what gets him going. A little.
And he’s not really of the standing-up-for-things-that-matter kind of Dude.
Matter of fact, I’ve only ever seen him stand up for someone a couple of times, and it wasn’t even for himself.
I’ve never actually witnessed him standing up for himself.
And that makes me sad.
Maybe even sadder than this incident.
When I asked him if he punched the kid in the face how he felt when this happened and how he responded to the child, he said he didn’t think he was talking about him, because that’s not what he is.
Of course. Because he’s totally right. And I’m proud of him for not letting someone with such an ignorant world view affect him.
But, sorta bad too. And I really wanted to print this out, blow it up to an obnoxious size, and super glue it to his bedroom ceiling…
Because haters piss me off.
And I don’t understand why they don’t piss everyone off.
I know my son didn’t appreciate the gravity of the situation. And that’s directly because I’ve failed to educate him about how that word has come to be so powerful.
And he has no idea what it means to be hated on for no reason at all.
We constantly hear people saying not to call people gay and not to use the word retard.
And we shouldn’t.
Because that shit is mean. And foul. And ugly.
Kinda like calling a kid a nigger.
Only I don’t really hear people talk about why you shouldn’t say this word anymore.
There’s no blog campaigns. No PSAs. No nothing.
Why is that?
Because we think everyone already knows not to say it? Or because we think no one says it anymore?
Clearly, both of those statements are false.
Some people still don’t seem to realize that it’s not okay to say it, in anger or in jest.
And, people still do say it, to hurt and shame.
I need to explain this to my children. And, you need to explain it to yours.
My children are biracial.
They identify themselves as, um, Dudes? They don’t think about the fact they’re black and they don’t think about how much of them is Mexican. Mostly they just think they’re Dudes. Fun, happy, athletic type Dudes with “tan” skin.
I’ve always been pretty much okay with that.
I want them to be appreciated and liked for the things they do, for their behavior, and their accomplishments; not for things they can’t necessarily control or change.
This of course proves I’m always right makes me revisit that whole raising genderless children argument I had with you myself previously.
No matter how much I’d like to not have my children be profiled, judged, feared, or victimized because of their race, I can’t even pretend it doesn’t affect who they are, and who they are going to be in the world.
I can’t hide it by putting a dress on it.
And I can’t grow out their hair to confuse people.
Not even an ambiguous first name is gonna save them from this one.
Lay eyes on my Dudes and you’re gonna know that they are black. No questions asked.
And, when evil like this creeps into their lives I don’t wish I could hide their color or change it; I want to work harder to make them proud of it. I want to teach them that lots of brave people fought lots of hard battles to make sure that they don’t have to let that word hurt them. I want them to know that even to this day, people are fighting against those things.
And I want them to feel like they just can’t ignore it either.
I want them to feel the desire, the need, to stand up to people who say it, and prove to them that they can kick some serious ass they aren’t the ignorant, classless person, with little self worth; the idiot casting around big words they have no hope of understanding is.
I struggled for days weeks about whether I wanted to share this with you all.
I thought, I don’t blog as a black mom, or a black woman. And, I don’t tell a black story.
I blog as a mom, and a woman. With a story to tell.
That all moms can relate to.
But, the more I thought about it (and after recent events in Florida), I decided that this is a story all moms can relate to.
Feeling powerless in a situation that caused your child pain; all moms have been there no matter what color their skin is.
Plus, I wanted you to know that, while a black man leads this nation, and proves that we’ve come a long way, a boy in Florida was gunned downed and my ten year old son was called a nigger in a middle class, suburban elementary school lunchroom, which proves that we’ve still got a ways to go.
Let’s stop the ugly.