The kids in my son’s 1st grade class are good kids. The parents are nice. The whole group seems to genuinely like each other. But our life has become uncomfortably lacking in dark skinned African Americans. To the extent that most of the people don’t even recognize this as a problem.
On Friday, a classmate told my son that he wanted to scare somebody’s sister. The white child suggested my black son hide in a dark closet b/c “it would be scarier.”
Over the years, we have managed to find out about a few incidents like this. But never from our son. The only reason we found out about it this time was because the kid’s mom was standing there when it happened, and she came to us right away.
Later, we asked him about it. After what felt like decades of convincing him to open up to us, he said it made him feel “bad.” He said he scowled and walked away. Pretended to look for something in his backpack. Initially, I thought that was a good way to handle it …Because I’m an idiot!!
My son’s teacher and teacher assistant are both African American. The teacher was out today. So I was only able to talk to the assistant instead of both of them. But I think that was a good thing. The teacher is a woman, the assistant is a man. He said he knows very well how my son felt. He also suggested that he could have said, “Hey dude, that’s not cool,” and stood up for himself.
Duh! Light goes on for pea-brained white mommy. I wish I would have told him that instead of praising walking away. He doesn’t have to let people treat him like that! He should totally stand up for himself!!!
Sometimes I wonder how this incredible child is going to mentally survive having a white mom who can never, no matter how much I want to, fully understand life as a black man in a white man’s world.