Those who say racism is dead are full of crap. Racism is very much alive. I have had my share of old ladies that I have dealt with, but tonight was the first time my kids have ever dealt with a racist. Even worse- a racist child.
As the kids came out of a church group tonight they were both visibly upset and wanted tell me about something that happened.
Wyatt said a boy told him "you look black" - Anna said "he told me when it happened and he was very upset". I told them that is not a bad thing, that is something to be proud of and something to be thankful for. Wyatt said "he said it mean- like it is bad". My heart sank. I wanted to tell him this boy is an ass. I wanted to tell him this kid is being raised by bigots. But, I didn't.
Anna came in the house and ran to tell TJ that someone offended Wyatt. I was impressed that she even knew how to use the word. She made him a bowl of ice cream and we all talked about what was said. About how people may say things about his skin being different and that our differences are good. (We have had conversations like this many times.)
We talked about how he doesn't understand why someone would be called black, because he is really brown. We talked about how he got his gorgeous skin from his belly mommy. We talked about how as he gets older kids and adults may say things- mean things- and we always want he and Anna to tell us just as they did tonight.
I talked to the leader of the church class and she was unaware of this happening. I knew the kids hadn't told the adults there and we discussed telling an adult when something happens too. She told me Wyatt and this boy had said a curse word (crap-ironically I used that word earlier in this post) and they had to sit out on a couch. So no one was around them when he said it. She said when he came back he seemed different, but she assumed it was because he had been punished. She said she would talk to the child who said it and that she wasn't surprised.
My kids don't want to go back. I don't blame them.
Of all of the feelings I have had tonight the one I will let stand out the most is the feeling of pride. Wyatt told Anna when he was upset about what happened. She then took care of him, kept him feeling safe and told me right away. When I asked her if she was upset by what was said or by how it made Wyatt feel she said how it made him feel. She said not much upsets him (so true) and he was really upset.
My kids stuck together. They protect each other. They look out for each other.
Anna will never know the feeling Wyatt felt tonight when he was treated that way, but she will forever empathize with him because she saw his pain.
After Wyatt fell asleep I talked to to Anna. I said the adults in this boys life are not good people- he hears these things from them. Kids don't just come up with ideas of hate on their own. They are taught these things. It was the first conversation I have had with her about racism. She knows about slavery and Martin Luther King- but kids today are not taught about hate in the present. She understands now.
Wyatt is still a little too young to get that concept. He just knew it hurt.
Tonight I am going to pray for my kids who had an awful life experience.
I am going to pray that the teacher at the church class has a real and honest discussion with this child and his parents.
I am going to pray for this kid. Because if this is how he treats other children he needs a prayer.
Most of all I am going to pray for Wy. I am going to pray that he feels pride in who he is and who he will become. I am going to pray that we are able to help him through these situations that we have never had to live through. And I am going to pray that he and Anna are always as close as they are today.