So. On November 10th, I wrote this post on Facebook:
Let’s talk about it a little further.
I would like to say that I was shocked and appalled by what happened, but the sad truth is that I’m not. And that is because this is not the first time I’ve heard those words, or felt the anger rise up in my chest like bile…. it’s just the first time I’ve had that kind of hate directed at one of my children.I had always hoped that no child of mine would ever have to deal with this kind of stupidity. Not because they could “pass,” but because we should be living in a post-racial society by now. All I wanted for them was to not have to deal with the name calling, and the stereotypes, and the assumptions that I had to deal with… that my parents had to deal with… that my grandparents had to deal with… and so on.
But that is not what happened on Thursday.
On Thursday, my son was a target because the color of his skin and the company that he keeps. On Thursday, children that he has known for the majority of his life said some really hurtful things. And he already knew that they felt that way. He’s had to have multiple talks with them about the “stupid things they were saying about Hispanics and Mexicans.” And to their credit, they stopped doing so… around him. Until Thursday. And you know what? It would have been Wednesday, but the kids were out on Wednesday because they needed a mental health day after the nightmare of Tuesday.
I am grateful to have such good friends that sympathize and are similarly offended. It was never my intention for the post to go viral—all ever wanted to do is show people I know that this is REAL. These kinds of stories that you hear on the news aren’t just kids saying things to get attention. My kiddo HATES attention; I kept his name out of the story on purpose. But I needed to show people—many of whom are still my friends—that the choices that we make can have real consequences for real people. And yes, perhaps it was the work of a few asshole kids at this one school… but that’s not the only school that is experiencing this kind of backlash against minority children. There are children who are being told that they’re going to have to go to another school because soon their school will be “all white again.” There are families that are desperately afraid that someone will be knocking on their door and rounding them up in the night, regardless of the immigration status of the various family members. There are young women afraid to walk anywhere at night, and church members afraid to attend services. And they are just as real as my son.
Ultimately, our family will be okay. We are strong, and we raised strong children. My sons are social justice warriors and will gladly take up the fight. They’ve marched in Pride Parades, worn “I am a Feminist” buttons, and stood up to teachers when they’ve felt the lesson was biased or racist in its premise. But if you are reading this… please. Please take a minute to think of the other children who are waking up in a world where they are suddenly “other.” Think before you speak, before you post, or before you say something thoughtless. Kids aren’t hateful by nature. It’s LEARNED.