One Mad Momma

This has been quite the challenging spring. The Bald Genius has been away for military obligations, and Superkid-O really had a rough time adjusting to his absence. I am a protective parent by nature, but my protectiveness is augmented by any level of discomfort in my kid. He is only 5, and I naively believed that I could shield him from one of the harshest realities of living in this country…for at least a few more years.

We had a beautiful day at church yesterday. We ran into old and new friends, and hugged several people as we exited the building. While in front of our church, a person noticed Superkid-O’s shirt. It had a wild and crazy surfboard theme, with jungle animals on it. The person turned to my son and asked,”is that a monkey on that surfboard, or is that you?” Time stood still, and yet I only had a split second to decide what my reaction should be. Do I punch this moron in the throat for insulting my kid? Do I call him out on his ignorance in using such a ridiculous, and clearly racially insensitive comparison? Do I calmly educate him, and hope that my kid isn’t upset?  I noticed that Superkid-O didn’t react, and was blissfully playing next to me. It was not the time to break out my kung fu grip. I calmly as possible let the person know that the question was inappropriate.

I elected to be dignified in the face of indignity, and modeled grace in return for disgrace. Why? Reacting violently would only perpetuate the common thought “see, I told you they were all violent.” Here’s the challenge: the person didn’t consider the comment to be racist or offensive. The person has been alive for many more years than I have, and witnessed the ridiculous exchanges between white and brown people in the southern region of the USA. This person should know better. The fact is, the person, like so many in this country, will never be forced to know better or care. Why? Because it is acceptable in this country to believe the negative, project the inhumane, mock or insult, and call it freedom of speech. It is acceptable to tell a joke, just as long as the punchline isn’t about ourselves. Many of us are guilty of this. It is funny, or okay to say and do, until it hits home.

My Superkid-O is beautiful, brilliant, courageous, compassionate, and humorous. He loves people, is proud of his family, loves his beautiful brown skin, and thinks that he wants to be President of the USA, an astronaut, and a racecar driver… I am sure that those career goals will change many times before he grows up. What I doubt will ever change is the notion that many people have in this region – – there is no need to think before speaking, care before acting, or research the truth before believing. I would love to dream that he will be respected for his mind, and loved for his heart, but I was sadly reminded that he will first, foremost, and most often only be seen by his skin color. And that makes me one mad momma.

4 thoughts on “One Mad Momma

  1. So sorry you had to deal with that so soon. At least he was oblivious to it. At least you were able to have an intelligent conversation that could change the heart and maybe actions of one individual. That’s the way I look at opportunities like this. If it wasn’t malicious and blatantly intentional, there is an opportunity for education, showing relevance and breaking down stereotypes. It’s hard not to let anger get the best of us in those situations but ignorance abounds and you’re far better off being the “soft response that curbs wrath” than the angry black woman. “Welcome to my world, Yoast” (Remember the Titans) 😀 love you.

  2. Wowowowow..I commend you for addressing such ugliness and ignorance in such a graceful way. Its a shame that its 2013..and there are still rampant racism. I pray for your son’s generation..that it will finally be the world that MLK dreamed about.

  3. That was a wonderful expression of dissent. And I gotta tell you, you were much more graceful than I might have been. I applaud you! I think it is ridiculous the way that overt racism has become socially acceptable since the Election of Pres Obama. I like to believe these are the final gasps of a dying paradigm. But I guess only time will tell.

  4. Wow…you handled that WAY better than I would have my friend…reminds me of that time a certain worship leader said that when we sing together that we sound “to gospel”… when placed in that type of situation I tend to get very confrontational…God is helping me in that area of my life because when I have kids I know that I will have to set a Godly example. You did a great job!

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