Thursday, June 1, 2006

Tonight I must purge...

...all of the anger that I have built up over the last few days. I am an angry momma. I can feel the growl deep down inside of me.

I'll begin with my boys. That has to be where a story about an angry momma should begin. My boys are the product of a 50/50 Chilean and Polish mother and an African-American father. Needless to say, they are multi-racial/ethnic and despite whatever issues other people have had over this (including my MIL), WE as a FAMILY have no issues over this and our boys are well-balanced, happy, smart and full of potential!!!

Ok, maybe I'm wrong. Maybe I do have issues over this. But not the type other people have. In the city I live in, they pretend that race is not an issue. I live in a "melting pot" of people, color, religion, class. But they're wrong. I know they are wrong. Most people know that this city is lying. And it's the worse kind of lie. The you know it's true that "It'd be better if you just called me a n*%#@^ to my face instead of behind my back" kind of lie.

So, my older son B-boy has had, I should say just completed, his first year of school...PreSchool. He went to a school in the city we live in. Ok, let's call this city...oh...EVANSTON. Again, the city where about 45% of the population is white, 45% African-American/Black, 7% Latino, and a 3% or so OTHER...But, the PreSchool he attends doesn't in ANY way, shape or form resemble the demographics of the city. You can count the people of color in the building on ONE HAND. It really. bugs. me. A. lot.
So, knowing that I wanted B-boy to get a school experience before Kindergarten, I enrolled him...despite every fiber in my body being uncomfortable with the demographics. It's not that I have any issues in general with white people. My mom is white. My grandparents were white. My adopted dad is white. My two youngest sisters are white. I'm white...1/2 at least. But, again, I implore you to remember that this city lies to itself about the racial harmony. It's more like racial strife. According to national tests, the high school is failing over 60% of the students of color. And I know all about standardized tests and how much you can or cannot believe the statistics. But 90% of their discipline issues involve students of color and those students make up only 45% of the student population.
But, I guess I digress. This is a story about B-boy.
B-boy has come home with odd things to say to me. One was, "Mom, did you know I am a dark color?" Huh??? Or maybe "I wish our house was bigger." What??? Things that seemed odd. There's more...but I REALLY wanna get to the point of this blog.
Yesterday, I picked up B-boy from school. Another mom...I'll call her Blondie, and her son, Q, walked up to me and B-boy. The teacher then walked up at the same time. Very seriously, Blondie begins to tell me that Q and B-boy were playing, things got out of hand, and B-boy socked Q in the stomach. The whole time, teacher is standing theere very seriously nodding her head in agreement and then chimes in with, "Yes, yes, that's why I came over here, B-boy did knock Q in the stomach..." And blondie comes back with "Yes, knocked the wind out of him..." Were you there? And teacher comes back with "Oh, yes, Q was crying..." And Blondie comes back with, "I mean, I know they were playing, but I thought you should know..." And of course teacher adds, "Yes, we thought you could talk to him..."
Ok, yes, of course I will talk to him. I mean, I'm not an animal. And neither is he. But...wait, I see. You want me to do it NOW. In front of YOU. Am I a child? Do you need to embarass/humiliate me as well as my son? Is this the "let's see how the colored girl parents her child" cage at the zoo?
Did they both need to bombard me? Did this really warrant a two person intervention...and why preface with they were just playing and make it so serious, as if they WEREN'T "just playing?" Okay. I am not saying it wasn't appropriate for me to hear that this happened. I was more concerned with the after effects.
I had heard the plans. Q and Blondie were going to the park. And B-boy was so excited that I said we could go also. He was bragging about it to everyone (I don't usually get to pick him up because I work full time, and as a result B-boy doesn't get to hook up with the majority of his class at the park...they have many stay at home parents).
And all of the sudden, Q could no longer go.
Hmmmm....not a big deal all on it's own....until you add today...
I again had the pleasure of being at school with my son. It was the last day of school, so there was a party. I feel like I must know how that room full of children might treat my son by how their parents treat my husband and me. We are invisible. NO ONE talks to us. Barely anyone even says hi. And they work the room like hookers. It's ridiculous. Must say hi. Who knows who...social climbing...politicking. Whatever. But not us. They look at my husband like he must be the janitor and has fleas. I feel like I must have a booger on my face or something, the way I get looked at/avoided.
And Blondie...avoided our family like the plague. At least if someone ACCIDENTLY makes eye contact with one of us, we get the "nod." Not Blondie. Dirty looks. Again, as in we are dirty. No, this color does not wash off...
And then...it was over, and I told B-boy that I would bring him to the park. He turned to Q, he really likes this boy...you can tell...he could NOT have hurt him on purpose, and says, "Hey Q, we're going to the park, are you going to the park? Isn't this cool? Now we can play again!" And Blondie calls Q to her side, because he was actually walking near B-boy, and I can hear her talking about, "You know I need you to stay by Christian at the park, and so...."
What bitch? (sorry, but considering the word I really wanted to use, this one is much nicer...)
Stay away from the little brown boy?
Sorry. But I cannot take someone looking at my precious, precious, precious baby boy, someone that has a heart of gold, someone that will play with anyone, feels very deeply other people's pain and sorrow, and see a demon, a foul person, an animal!!!!
These people treated us poorly ALL YEAR. Sixteen kids in the class , birthday parties and play dates abound, and B-boy got invited to THREE ALL YEAR. I saw them planning. I saw them meeting up. I heard about it. B-boy was black-listed...literally, as in keep the black kid off my list...
She eyeballed my kid. She looked at him as if he were a criminal. She kept her kid away from him for reasons I am sure the little boys didn't understand. But soon, Q will realize her undertones and then pick up on her cues and carry on her legacy of bigotry and hatred and racism and what not. Yay for the KKK, judging people by the color of their skin instead of the content of their character is alive and well!! And it got worse...
A group of boys had a play date after the park, to celebrate the last day of school. Basically, all the boys, except for B-boy. And the parent saw very clearly that B-boy was the only boy being left out. And as they were leaving, B-boy didn't understand what was happening. But I did. Why leave without him? Why leave him out? Why wasn't he good enough to go? I was standing there. They could have asked to bring him too.
But they didn't.
And B-boy waved goodbye...and they walked away...and he turned to me..
.
With a face that would break any human being's heart.
Tears welled in my eyes, but I kept it together because I had to, for him. Because, I mean, if he had seen how sad it made me, he would have really known how bad the situation was (in my opinion).
And I gave him a dollar and let him buy ice cream.

But that wasn't enough. He came to me later that night, before he went to bed, and he told me, "Mom, when those boys left, when I turned to you, I know I lookeded sad, because I was sad. That broke my heart."
Dammit!!!
What do you say to that? I told him how awesome he is. I told him that I know his friends on the block love him. I told him I love him...is that enough??? Will the world crush this beautiful little boy's spirit?
SO he went off to sleep. And I started this blog. And maybe you think I am perceiving the situation incorrectly. But, I just found this story in his PreSchool Portfolio. He dictated it to the teacher during one of his story telling times. And I'll let you be the judge.
"Once there was a little man named Darkness and he never, never, never did anything but he can't swing without webs. But he had a little bit webs and he has a little bit of power. And his grandpa had a really cool car. He was crying when his friend was really mean to him. He wished that he had more power. He tried to make friends but he couldn't and his friend wouldn't listen to him. Then they went home to try to figure out how to make friends. In the summertime they did make friends and they had a party. They had popcorn. And everyone loved his popcorn so much! And he had a Storm cake. And they really, really liked his ice cream and his house!"
***Please know that I do not expect everyone to agree with me. You may perceive the situation differently than I do. But know that I thank you for letting me get this off my chest. I just sometimes worry I'm crazy and the only way to get that outta my head is to PURGE***
~A wild purging momma

3 comments:

  1. ((((hugs)))) This sounds so difficult, but it IS the reality we live in. I'm so sorry for your little boy, and your family. it hurts to see children hurt.
    I'm gonna give you some unsolicited advice (sorry but I have to): make sure as he's growing up he goes to schools where he is not the "oddball" or "darkie". It is so, so important for black students(even though he's mixed with polish, chilean and black, societ will see a BLACK MAN) to go somewhere with others that they can relate to. not to say that they can't be friends with white people. But for their own esteem, they need to feel like they are not inferior, especially by being the only African american in class. Trust me, it REALLY makes a difference. Good luck to you, I know I'm going to deal with the same kind of stuff when my 4 year old goes to prek in the fall.

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  2. This really gets under my skin. I cannot believe that in this day and age this kinda bullshit still goes on. You are a tough cookie to keep your cool like that. Would you consider changing schools, taking him to a more blended environment?

    He is learning some hard lessons now, ones that will stay with him forever. And we can't protect them forever, but oh if only we could save them the hurt. I think if he stays you are going to have to get involved and talk to the school. They need to teach some tolerance classes or something. Ugh! It makes me so mad. Sure you don't want to move to Toronto?

    PS: Thanks for the awesome comment on my blog. Kindred spirits rule!

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  3. A-
    Even though you told me this story at work, my heart just broke in two reading it. I don't know if it's the hustle and bustle at work that blocked me from feeling more emotion about this (although I'm sure I showed you plenty of my anger over this). I am so disgusted that grown a** folks would be so petty and ridiculous about children. My opinion is that they don't deserve to interact with your precious, beautiful baby boy. They are bigots and they are passing their hatred on to yet another generation. I think the writing is on the wall in terms of what you need to do for B-boys schooling next year. Of course, it's less about him coming to our school and more about him going to a school where his beautiful brown skin will be honored and cherished. You have some tough decisions ahead of you and just know that no matter where you decide to send your baby, I fully support your decision!!!! ((((hugs)))) and I am so sorry you and your baby had to experience this!

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