Thursday, April 14, 2016

Where Do We Go From Here?

There is something that has been bothering me for quite some time that I don't quite know how to convey my feelings. There are so many layers to what is going on and so many opinions that sometimes I wonder if how I feel even matters.

Almost like politics and religion, the conversation on racism can go from calm to heated in a matter of seconds.  When you have differing opinions and strong convictions in what you are trying to convey, things can escalate very quickly.  I understand that, but I wish the conversations could remain calm and the lines of communication open.

It is no secret that my children are a blend of races.  They are black, they are white, they are Asian. They are children, they are human and they have feelings. Words do hurt. They may not tell you that and they may not show it but they do.  They might not hurt in a you hurt my feelings kind of way but they hurt in a why would you even say that to me kind of way.

My kids are in a predominantly white school.  There is diversity but not like you would see in other areas.  I don't have the statistics on our demographics so I can't post any specifics. However, I can say that my kids are a minority in the school.

Both of my older two kids have been experiencing comments from their peers since kindergarten.  Let that sink in, my kids are in 9th and 10th grade now.  So, for all of their school years, they have been dealing with racist comments, hearing the word n****r being thrown around and to their faces for all these years. I am not sure how hurtful it is for them but I know that it bothers them, how could it not?!

I have addressed this with school staff in the past.  Last year, after my son was being called a n****r every single day, to his face, I called the school.  That same day, the student was suspended and had to leave school immediately.  I was impressed by the principal's swift actions and their apologies to my son for his having to go through that.

This year, it is more of the same.  My son is a kind person, he has lots of friends and is well rounded.  I am not sure why he gets so many comments and kids that are supposed to be his friends feel it is okay to throw these hateful words around like it is normal.  My kids take this every.single.day.  They don't retaliate, they don't say anything to teachers or staff, they don't engage in arguments about it. They take it.  They let it roll off their backs.  But how much can one person take?

I am in tears at the thought of my babies being treated like this.  I want to do something but what can I do?  How do I handle this without provoking backlash against my kids and it getting worse?  Is that the right mindset?  I am not sure but it is something that I seriously have to contemplate. I hate this part of parenting.  It shouldn't even be something that we have to think about or deal with.  My parents taught me that everyone is equal, we love everyone.  We have taught our children the same.

I wonder if the parents of these kids know how their kids are talking to others.  I wonder if the parents talk like that in their homes. I wonder if they would punish their kids if they knew that their kids are treating others horribly.

I would personally be horrified.

I am going to be perfectly honest here, if my son were to retaliate due to being called a "black a$$ n****r" or a "stupid a$$ n****r" to his face, as he has within the last two weeks, I would stand beside him through any punishment that the school would give. He has remained standing tall, he has remained being the bigger person but there comes a breaking point. He would never want to hurt someone but how much is a 15 year old supposed to be able to handle?  What hurts is that not one single one of his friends stood up for him,  they did not say one word to the kid.  When he was mad and they asked why, he told them that it was because they didn't even say anything to the offender. Their response..."why would we?"  There is a whole other problem.

I am not sure what my exact point is here but I do know that I want more parents to have straight forward talks with their kids about standing up against others that are hurting people.  To be more loving, more compassionate, to be kind. Please, just be kind. 

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