I think I get more incensed now, after 20 years. You would think time would mellow it a little, I'd grudgingly become accustomed to it, but oh no. Part of it is my personality that's changed, I've grown up, I've found my voice. And as time goes by and each and every one of my 6 bi-racial children grow and change and become amazing people that the world will be blessed to have, it just becomes more and more personal.
We have not had to go through anything anywhere near as horrid as some other families have, but racism has touched our family, to a smaller degree, but hurtful nonetheless. We're just regular people living regular lives in smalltown, USA, and contact with racism to any degree is a slap in the face. These are my children; to me they have no color, just the color of beauty and love and mine. But to others, it's different.
Last year during a middle school basketball game, a player on the opposite team called my 13 year old son a nigger. I was not at that game, and I totally wish I was, but kinda wonder if maybe it's better that I wasn't. When my son told me about it, I contacted the school he had played at and told them about the incident. Thus began a 3 week process of trying to get some sort of acknowledgement/apology out of them. When I talked to their athletic director, he acted very surprised (read didn't believe me) that that could've happened at his school. I mean, they have minority students that go there, and one that plays basketball for heaven's sake. Surely none of his players would say such a thing. Well, one of 'em did, buddy. Twice in fact. Once on the court and once on the way to the locker room. My son's friend bodily blocked my son from knocking the smart ass's teeth out. And if my son had popped him one? He wouldn't have gotten in trouble with me. I don't condone violence as a way of handling things, but, be it right or wrong, in this situation I would not have blamed him. Heck, I might've punched the little shit in the throat. (see earlier statement about maybe it's better that I wasn't there.)
Last night at basketball we had an incident with a grown man talking racist smack. *Side note: I don't believe there's anything to the fact that these two occurrences both took place at basketball games. I think it's just that 90% of the time that we're in public, it's at a youth sporting event :)
The man was standing on the side, watching the game while waiting for the next one to begin. There are 3 mixed race boys on my son's summer league team and 1 Mexican boy, so this asshole had plenty to talk about. I didn't hear him myself, but he didn't realize that the white lady standing next to him was one of the boys mother, and also my friend, who was most definitely going to tell me what she heard. He said his brilliant bigoted bullshit to a kid with him who was no more than 16 or 17, maybe younger. Way to be a role model, douche. One comment he said was after one of our boys made a great play, and he said something about giving him fried chicken to reward him. Really? Really?
I have been very interested in the George Zimmerman trial. If you don't know the story of Trayvon Martin, you can read about it here. It could've been my sons. My sons are tall, and dark, and probably would've walked to the store in the rain for snacks. All of their sweatshirts have hoods on them, and their hoods would definitely have been up. It could've been my sons, who got shot. Because somebody looked at them and decided that the way they looked met his criteria for bad news. For suspicious. For wrong. It could've been my sons who are dead.
I would never compare the racial trials I mentioned here (or any of the others my family has gone through) to something as tragic and violent and horrific as what happened to Trayvon Martin. But here, in my little town, in my little world, in my little family, these incidents are a big deal. This is where it starts. These are the small things that taint my children's view of humanity, that make them question so many things (sadly, including their own worth), and that make me afraid.
And angry. So very, very angry.
I have no answers, friends. I'm just ranting. And it's so much easier to be mad, then to feel the hurt.
It could've been my son