It’s happened! At only four years old! To my Little Prince! I was naive. I thought it would be years from now. I imagined a sore “knuckled” teenager and a villainous kid with a black eye. Today my Little Prince was called a “crazy ni$$er”. Today while at the park. A place where primary colors mixed with my primal instincts. All while he trying to play soccer with some kids. The kid (the bully) was around 7 and had no parents in site. He might as well been speaking Chinese because my Son has never heard that word before. My house is monitored for profanity. We monitor TV’s, Tablets and his playmates. I am a hypersensitive hyper alert Momma Bear! Perhaps this is why my heart aches with fury. I heard the Bully say it loud and clear. Like all other sounds were muted. I raised from the picnic table in what was a gut reaction. I literally was frozen in shock.
I looked at my son, who had a look of pure confusion on his face, not knowing what the word meant. I not wanting to scream because it would only bring attention to the word. I wanted to shield him from the impact of catching on to how bad it was. I wanted to shield him from understanding the hatred involved in what was being said. You see I am a Caucasian Mother of a beautiful Black Son. Yes, he is bi-racial. However, the world will see him as Black. For the most part he looks Black. He is beautifully Black. I looked for parents fully expecting them to defend their child, cover ears and make 100 excuses. Instead what I saw was a bunch of people pretending they did not hear it.
This is the tragedy. The adults did not correct the young man, or console me but uncomfortably pretended it did not happen. The adults, the ones there to protect their own but not stand for what is right. Of course the Bully had no parent to be found. To be honest I never thought it would be this early. I must be stupid. I didn’t prepare for this. The raging feelings, the loss of innocence. I must take these rose colored glasses off!!! The world out there is not our home. The world is not protected with parental controls. The world is and can be dangerous.
This word, the N word is not used in our home, not listened to in our music or TV choices. So all this being said; as I sit here eyes still welling up with tears, I remember a debate I once had with a friend about white privilege and its existence. Case in point-the above situation is not one you will need to console your caucasian son about. Not one you will need to brief him on as far as how to respond, not one that he will need to know the historical significance of. (although he should). Your son will not be judged at 4yrs old on the color of his skin or the curliness of his hair. Your son will not ask you what Ni$$er means. His eyes seeking your Motherly knowledge and attention, Your son will have an unannounced unspoken quiet privilege. Your son will not be yelled this from a car window by a stranger for no reason. I was not debating whether racism exists with this friend. (That debate is clearly won). I was debating that black men/women and black sons and daughters do face some obstacles that your Caucasian son will never have to. (That is a privilege). While some may feel I don’t have privy to discuss this topic I disagree. I will have to prep my Son on these things. I will need to teach him the appropriate way to interact with police, or with anyone in a form of authority. I also have an interesting perspective on that as I am a Manager and Correctional Police Officer at a Secure Custody Maximum Security Youth Jail. I will never know what it is like to walk a day in a Black Man’s or Black Women’s shoes, however, I will know how to prep my son. The bottom line is privilege really is when you think something is not a big deal or a problem because it’s not a problem to you personally. Is that not a privilege? It was only through prayer that I could calm myself on that play park picnic table, long after my Son had moved on. Easiest explanation I could come up with was, some kids use bad words, words they don’t even know what they mean, you my Son are smart and brave and a good boy. The other little boy will surely go home and get a big time out, but you will go home and get hugs and maybe ice cream for being so polite and strong. I really do think the kid was afraid of my son’s superior soccer skills lol.
Well my Son had long moved on and here I am venting, how as parents we want to shield them from the hardships of the world all while teaching them strength in spirit values, morals, and judgment. Maybe one day we can put an end to this! The reality drives me nuts. I guess I don’t have the privilege of ignoring it. Take time with your kids, redirect, educate and teach tolerance because no matter where we live we still need this! We need those old school values and lessons of respect. Our busy working schedules and hours of TV have stolen away the fabric of what makes our sons turn from babies to strong positive men.
I am a Canadian Girl who married into a Jamaican Family in 2008. The common joke among my In-Laws has always been “White Gyals Can’t Cook”!!! I have since been on a mission to prove them wrong! I am blessed with a Husband that is a incredible cook of Jamaican food. I began watching his methods of slow cooking, extra washing, slow seasoning and picked up on some of his techniques. Years later I feel I have really transfused my Canadian Recipes with Jamaican Cooking skills, spices and visa versa. My in-laws now accidentally mistake my cooking for his at times. I feel that a great marriage is made up of compromises and a even fusion between Wife and Husband. I feel my cooking and recipes is also a representation of this. Follow me on INSTAGRAM: @WhiteGyalCanCook