Category Archives: Racism

Morningside Dad: Thoughts from a Liberal Father

I am guessing that by now you are fairly familiar with my perspective as a liberal mom. Well, how about a father’s perspective? What is it like to be a liberal father raising children today? Wouldn’t you know it, my husband just happens to be a liberal father. So I sat him down tonight and asked him what his thoughts were on freedom of speech, equality, stereotypes about white men and the future of the Supreme Court. Come see what he has to say, his answers may surprise you.
brad
Now to give you some background about my husband, he is a 6 ft, 4” white college athletics coach. He grew up in a privileged town in Connecticut; he just completed his MBA and might be one of the smartest people I know. We’ll call him B. for the sake of this interview.

Caroline: As a liberal father, what issues are most important to you?

B: I am pretty straightforward about my values. I believe in civil rights, civil liberties, freedom of speech and every citizen having an equal opportunity to succeed.

C: And what about how your values relate to raising our children?

B: Well, our sons are part of a privileged class as two white males. I just hope I can raise them to have the same values I do.

C: So what about being a white male? What are your thoughts on affirmative action and our son’s future’s as white males?

B: It’s a topic I struggle with. I mean, why am I the bad guy? I know my race and gender give me a certain privilege but I wrestle with legislated equality sometimes. I realize sometimes we have to manufacture equal opportunity – and I get it – but I’ll admit that I struggle with this issue.

C: What have been some challenges for you as a liberal father?

B: I think I am most frustrated with the assumptions people make about me. I am a white, male coach – stereotypes are immediately drawn up. I mean, come on, even on the most progressive college campus, the Athletic department is assumed to be the last conservative bastion. As a result, comments are made around me since folks may presume I may have a certain value system which I don’t.

C: So how do you deal with that?

B: If I am at work and someone says something that I disagree with, I usually walk away or say nothing. I’ve got work to do and I am not going to start something then, but my silence usually clues them in. If I am outside of a work environment though, I do usually say something or try to start a constructive conversation about the topic. I make no apologies for my politics, take them or leave them.

C: With the new administration, what is the most important issue for you as a liberal father?

B: Apart from the obvious issues of establishing economic and global security for this country (and in turn, for our family), the appointment of the next Supreme Court justices is an extremely important issue for me. The current liberal appointments are not getting any younger. Whoever Obama chooses will leave a lasting impression on this country – probably longer than his own administration will. Do you know what kind of Supreme Court justices I want in there next?

C (smiling because I already know – and love – this answer): Tell me.

B: I want a purple haired, pierced nosed, extremely bright, straight talking lesbian from Northampton, Massachusetts appointed next. In fact, I want three of them in there!

I paused here to give him a big ol’ kiss. I love this guy.

C: Ok well gay adoption is illegal here in Florida. And you’ve heard all the threats about how legalizing gay marriage would ruin our marriage. What are your thoughts as a liberal father?

B: What in the world does my marriage have to do with two gay individuals who decide to be married? The success or failure of our marriage is strictly our responsibility. I have yet to hear one good cognizant argument against gay marriage. It is an equal rights issue that needs to be granted finally. If my sons grow up and decide that they want to love and marry another man, that is their right and I think it should be recognized, supported and protected.

C: Any final thoughts about being a liberal dad?

B: Florida is an interesting place. As far as I can tell in our area, I would say that being a liberal father is not particularly common. One morning a few days after the election, I was sitting at a red light. I mean, here I am, a white guy, with my kid in his car seat, on the way to kindergarten drop off with an HRC and Obama sticker on my bumper. I just don’t see that too often around here. All of the sudden, a guy in the car next to me (with his own collection of Obama stickers) started waving and honking at me, giving me the thumbs up. I saw that he too had kids in car seats in his backseat. I think it was a unique moment to see another guy like me so fired about this election. It was an interesting moment for me.

Cross posted at Type A Moms.

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Filed under Boys, Equal Rights, Fathers, Florida, Marriage, parental fear, Parenting, Politics, Presidency, Racism, Raising Awareness, sons, Teaching kids

Honoring Dr. King’s Dream

We can never take for granted how far we have come to ensure equality for every citizen in our country. Thousands of people have suffered so that the rights of our people are upheld and preserved. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I have a dream” speech has lived in our minds for decades. It has remained alive in our hearts, reminding us to work for a dream, to accomplish the impossible. And tomorrow, with the election of Barack Obama, we are so close to realizing Dr. King’s dream.

But we can’t assume we have accomplished his dream entirely. We can’t assume equality comes simply with the election of an African American president, because it hasn’t. But we’re getting so close. And as we watch President-Elect Obama be sworn in tomorrow, there can be no doubt in our minds that the impossible can happen. Now, we have every reason to believe that Dr. King’s dream may soon be entirely realized.

I think it is all of our responsibilities to watch this speech, read this speech, and experience this speech before tomorrow’s inauguration. Amoungst everything that it represents, every one of us should understand the significance of this new presidency and the effect it will have on our hopes for equality in our country.

“I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation.

Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of their captivity.

But one hundred years later, the Negro still is not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languishing in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land. So we have come here today to dramatize a shameful condition.

In a sense we have come to our nation’s capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked “insufficient funds.” But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. So we have come to cash this check — a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice. We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quick sands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God’s children.

It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment. This sweltering summer of the Negro’s legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality. Nineteen sixty-three is not an end, but a beginning. Those who hope that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual. There will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship rights. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.

But there is something that I must say to my people who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice. In the process of gaining our rightful place we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred.

We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force. The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to a distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny. They have come to realize that their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom. We cannot walk alone.

As we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead. We cannot turn back. There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, “When will you be satisfied?” We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality. We can never be satisfied, as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities. We cannot be satisfied as long as the Negro’s basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one. We can never be satisfied as long as our children are stripped of their selfhood and robbed of their dignity by signs stating “For Whites Only”. We cannot be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote. No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.

I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow jail cells. Some of you have come from areas where your quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive.

Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to South Carolina, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed. Let us not wallow in the valley of despair.

I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.”

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification; one day right there in Alabama, little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.

This is our hope. This is the faith that I go back to the South with. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.

This will be the day when all of God’s children will be able to sing with a new meaning, “My country, ’tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrim’s pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring.”

And if America is to be a great nation this must become true. So let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York. Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania!

Let freedom ring from the snowcapped Rockies of Colorado!

Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California!

But not only that; let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia!

Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee!

Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi. From every mountainside, let freedom ring.

And when this happens, when we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, “Free at last! free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!”

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Filed under Equal Rights, Giving respect, Inauguration, Inspiring people, Martin Luther King Jr., Obama, Patriotism, Peace, Presidency, Racism, Raising Awareness

Yes, We Did It: My Thoughts the Day After Obama’s Victory

It happened. Obama was elected president last night. How could I possibly express how extraordinarily proud of my country I am right now. It is a new chapter in our history and a moment I will never forget.

But I gotta tell ya. I am completely overwhelmed and utterly exhausted by it all. Its as if my emotional mainframe has been entirely blown out. There is so much to process about what this all means for us. In fact, as soon as I start thinking about all of it, I get choked up and totally distracted. So I stop myself and stay on task. Life must go on here – off to drop of T. at school, off to wal-mart for a new trash can, off to get flu shots…

Still, I can’t resist saying a few things today. Just a few thoughts. And then I will be on my way, to regroup and be back refreshed to post on another day.

First of all, I am struggling to really truly understand the depth of what it means to have finally elected an African American president. As we watched Obama’s speech last night and Congressman Lewisthis morning, my husband said he never thought he would see the day. I thought about it and said I had thought I would see such a day. Then I wondered why I have been so optimistic about that possibility. Well, I think its because I have seen another impossibility happen before.

On February 11, 1990, I happened to be in Johannesburg visting friends (I lived and went to high school in Swaziland at the time). Do you know what happened that day in history? Nelson Mandela was released from prison. I will never forget the sound of that entire city raised up in celebration. During my years living in its neighboring country, the impossible happened for South Africa: Apartheid was abolished, Nelson Mandela was freed and he became president. While I certainly can’t really compare the politics and complexities of the United States and South Africa, I can compare the utter joy of that day. And since then, I have believed anything is possible.

Another fleeting thought in my mind right now is how much repair this country needs. This election tore us all apart. While I listened to the radio this morning, it was as if the DJs thought Obama being elected was a sign of the end of days. There are grumblings about socialism and terrorism and baby killing. While ridiculous, I feel its a sign of fear and misunderstanding about Obama’s potential for leadership. We need to figure out a way to reconnect again and, even if Obama was not your choice, find the strength to bring ourselves back together immediately.

The realist in me won’t let me forget another very important point either. Why is it so damn important that do we bring ourselves together right now? No doubt about it, we have a hell of a lot of work to do to fix our problems. While Obama will be president, it is up to ALL of us to take responsibility and put our country back together again. Lets stop pointing fingers (Bush, Obama, McCain, Karl Rove, Cheney, either Clinton) – enough already, lets get focused and fix ourselves.

And one more thing. Bans on gay marriage passed in California, Florida and Arizona. Discrimination lives on. This is a wake-up call for all of us that nothing can be fixed over night – even a night as amazing as last night. We need to keep working and pushing forward to assure equal rights for every American. It’s only a mandate in our constitution after all…

Finally I will leave you with this video of Obama’s victory speech last night. What a moment in our history. Once again, I am deeply proud to be an American this morning.

(Phew. And I am really so damn tired. More from me – more fun stuff from me, I promise – once I reboot this worn out, run down, over thought system of mine.)

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Filed under Deep thoughts, Election, Equal Rights, Obama, Partisanship, Patriotism, Peace, Politics, Racism, Reality check

My Wake-up Call: Racism Will Affect the Outcome of this Election.

In case you’re new to these parts, here’s a news flash: I’m white. And I have been deeply in denial about a certain issue in this election for far too long. Racism and discrimination. Because I am white, it has been fairly easy to live in a happy little “we all get along in this world” fog of denial, thinking that our country would never discriminate against a political candidate based on the color of his skin. Oh no… never. Or discriminate against a candidate based on – cough, sputter, you’ve got to be kidding me here – the sort of his name he has. Impossible.

Wake up, white girl. We’re in big trouble here.

Besides the warnings from my friends of color here and abroad, here are some recent news stories and videos that have slapped some sense into me about racism in our election.

First of all, this study. It found that 40% of white Americans have at least a “partly negative view towards blacks”. And this would also include one third (ONE THIRD!) of democrats and independents. That happy “la-la land fog” I am living in is clearing up right quick.

Second of all, Pundit Mom has clued us all in once again. If you are living in the same little land of denial I have been, please – I beg you – watch these videos she posted. They are eye opening and outrageous.

And then finally, Rachel Maddow examined the Bradley Effect last night. She explained the effect by which folks might SAY they are not voting based on race – however, in the privacy of their own voting booth, they do in fact vote based on race. While the video of these McCain rallies seen on her show and on PunditMom’s site strike cold fear deep in my heart, the science behind this social tendency was somewhat fascinating to learn about (maybe in a “gotta look at the car crash” kind of way). But I don’t think she or I were talked off our ledges about this very scary possibility.

And can I please put in a sidebar here? I do NOT – I repeat – I do NOT believe that all republicans are racist. No. That would be extremely close-minded of me. But obviously (see above), there are racists that happen to be both republicans and democrats. However, for the McCain folks to try and fan the flames of discrimination in their rallies – not only by what they are saying, but by what they are NOT saying- well, they should be ashamed of themselves. I don’t care how desperate they are to win. If I were a repub, I’d be outraged.

So, the bottomline is, I am scared of how much our country ACTUALLY DOES (insert a huge “duh” for this white girl) discriminate. I am scared by our country’s seething hate for all things different. I am scared that while current polls happen to be in favor of Obama, he could loose based on the very simple fact that he is black and he has a funny name.

Wow. … Some awesome “world power” we are. We suck. And DON’T TELL ME that this is the stuff of human nature, or thats this is just “the way it is”. It’s inexcusable, it’s hateful, it’s outrageous and I need to be very careful not to fade back into my little fog of denial (which is part of the entire problem in its own right).

Phew. I am a worried, disappointed, bugged out, STRESS case right now.

I know I promised I would try to chill out about this election more. I know I promised to turn off the news after 8pm. Nope, I am still not sleeping well. And it is THIS topic that is keeping me awake at night. I am hoping this post is a “worry purge” of sorts. Next topic will be zen-like, I promise. Selfishly, for my sanity – even more than yours.

Peace, my friends.

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Filed under Educating myself, Election, McCain, Obama, Politics, Racism, Raising Awareness, Reality check

This Week: My Thoughts, Some Causes and Other Stuff.

Do you ever call a best friend or favorite aunt or your mom and just chatter endlessly? Filling almost the entire hour conversation with everything you’re doing, what you’re thinking about and what you kids did this week? Never quite taking a moment to breath and allow the other person to get a word in edgewise? 

Please tell me you do this, because I do this ALL the time.

And guess what? I consider you are all close friends of mine, so I am going yammer on here for a little bit. Inspired by my “always the link lover” friend Florinda at the 3 Rs, I want to share some links that have me thinking this week as well as just some stuff I like. I am warning you, it will be haphazard, one sided and excessively chatty. But you all don’t mind right? That’s whats friends do, at least what my wonderfully patient friends do, I guess.

First of all, Ike. Yup, the hurricane. It busted right through Texas last week, remember? I know all I saw were live garbled feeds of newscasters positioning themselves in the wind, doing their damnedest to get knocked over. (Is that like some sort of notch on a weather forecaster’s belt? To get blown over during a hurricane?)  And then I saw some pretty insane damage being reported the following day. But then little by little, I haven’t heard much else thanks to our piss-poor economy and election updates.

Well, here’s the scoop. A fabulous blogger, Julie Pippert, expereinced the hurricane for herself. Please read her plea for help here. Things there are NOT ok. And as you will read in her post, a donation to the red cross, even $5, will make an enormous difference. Please consider giving.

How much disposable stuff do you go through? How many paper towels? How many grocery bags do you stuff in your closet or throw away? How many diapers do you use? How many wipes? The Crunchy Domestic Goddess is running a Ditch the Disposables Challenge for September and October. She is asking all of us to try and cut down on some of your disposable products. My goal is to not use paper towels or paper napkins but use cloth towels and sponges. (Shoot, its partially a selfish thing, paper towels are expensive!) Also I am desperately trying to keep using those cloth grocery bags. I think I am doing pretty well with it actually! They stay on my car front seat so I have them ready to go. Also, I am using my old plastic grocery bags as my trash bags and won’t buy actual trash bags either.

Can I just make one more plea for folks? Join the 29 Day Giving Challenge! It’s really been a lot more do-able than I expected. Plus, I am having fun trying to think up a new thing to give everyday. Often I have 2 or 3 things on my list!

Um, this is kind of an obvious one (but who am I to ignore the obvious). A veeery important election is coming up. Have you registered to vote? Do me a favor and please make sure you are registered.

If you know me, you know I feel very strongly about equal rights. One of these rights is marriage – loving couples of every sexual preference deserve the right to marry. A fantastic writer and person, Lesbian Dad, is living in CA. right now with her family. Please read her blog when you can, and this post has a great video to watch. If you live in CA., vote no on Propostition 8. But you certainly don’t have to live in CA. to donate to the cause, so please consider doing that if you can’t vote. There is a long way to go to change discrimination against same sex couples. Did you know that here in Florida, a same sex couple, or single homosexual person, cannot adopt a child? It’s outrageous.

Speaking of discrimination, do you know what I have been recently stressed out about? Racism in this election. I wonder why this election is so close when Obama seems like such a strong choice. I wonder if he were white, if the spread would be larger. I wonder if this country really wants change… or can change. I know there is a post coming about this in my future but read this post here from Momocrats about individuals out rightly admitting they would never vote for a “black”. (Shudder.)

So why should you really vote for Obama? In case you still need more convincing (and assuming race has nothing to do with your decision… please, tell me it doesn’t), the amazing Queen of Spain did a fab job this week of continuing to back Obama. Read about it here. Don’t know who Queen of Spain is? If you have been watching CNN recently during both the DNC and RNC, you’ve seen her. Shoot, here she is – just a mom blogger in her own right – interviewing Obama himself.

After posting about my son C. getting his doll, I read this article here from Motherhood Uncensored about her son playing with “girl” toys. I thought it was fantastic.

Oh and hey, did you know I am writing for Type A Moms now? I am their “Liberal Moms Editor”. Perfect, huh? Here’s the funny part, I am nervous about having a grown up EDITOR title and, as a result, I am having some major writer’s block for my next (and really first ACTUAL) post. I’ll come up with something – I have ideas of course, but nothing seems good enough quite right. I just need to get into the groove of it and gather some confidence, right? Wish me luck.

Finally, I want to list some fun stuff I just plain old really like.

My 5 year old T. and I have been reading these “From the Black Lagoon” books about different people he might meet at school. They are hysterical and I really recommend them for your children if they are just starting at a new school too!

My 2 yo C. and I have just started Music Together classes. He loves them and the music is fabulous (we truly enjoy the 2 CDs you are given when you sign up, one for the car and one for home). There is great teaching about children’s development for the parents and I honestly get a workout every Friday jumping, spinning, dancing, and marching with my kid. If you’ve got the time, I wholeheartedly recommend signing up for a class with your children in your area.

Need a good gift idea for someone or for Christmas coming up? Hyper-dashis a huge hit in my house. I bought it on a whim and both kids really love it. It really gives them a work out too! Yay for tired children more likely to nap…

We recently were given a subscription to High Five Magazine. What fun for my kids to get a magazine in the mail too! They read it cover to cover, T. loves the Spanish learning section in particular.

And another adorable book that I can’t get enough of? The Peace Book. LOVE IT.

Maybe you haven’t heard of the website Starfall? It is honestly the best letter and phonics learning website out there. And that’s not just my opinion. My teacher friends, my pediatrician and my speech pathologist aunt all heartily agree. T. likes to put it on with C., teaching him the ABC’s while playing fun songs and games. Its really terrific, they are on it right now.

Oh and I saw a pretty funny movie last night that I hadn’t even heard of. The Promotion. Great actors you (and esp. your husband) love to watch: Sean William Scott (aka Stiffler) and John C. Riley. And the story is just about regular guys trying to get ahead and take care of their families. I really enjoyed it!

And…. I’m spent.

And how was your week?

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Filed under Bloggers, Causes, Election, Equal Rights, Getting green, Hurricanes, Inspiring people, Marriage, Money, Movies, Obama, Philanthropy, Racism, Raising Awareness, Reccomendations, Stuff I have, Teaching kids, Toys

One of those Moments: This Weekend.

“Sit down in my thinking chair and think. Think. Thiiink.” – Blues Clues

Do you ever have one of those moments? Those moments that make you stop and think hard, and you keep thinking about that moment long long after it has past? I have had three of those moments this weekend. I thought I would share.

Moment #1

At Target, I ran into a couple moms I know. I know them through my children. We are not particularly close but it’s always good to see these moms, say hello, chat a bit. And so that’s what we were doing. We had not seen each other much over the summer, our kids were in school, starting playgroups, bladdy bladdy blah… there was lots to catch up on.

I am not sure what we were talking about but suddenly, one mother lowered her voice to a whisper and said something like “that’s what a black person would do.” Before I could even think at all, I said “Well, gotta get going, I’ll see you ladies later!” And turned and left. Just like that. It was a gut thing. I just reacted. I didn’t like what I heard, I was offended, and I bolted.

I will admit right here, that has not always been my reaction either. In the past, I have ignored statements like this but carried on the conversation like nothing happened. Or changed the subject. Or tried to find an out for my friend – surely they didn’t mean it the way it sounded – and have allowed them to use the famous disclaimer “not that I am racist or anything”. I have never been proud of myself in retrospect – where I try to smooth over and actually normalize the moment. I may as well have said it myself.

This time I couldn’t ignore it. But I didn’t say anything either. I didn’t say ” I found that remark offensive.” I just bolted. I guess the message may have come across that I didn’t like what she said. Or it could have come across that I just had to go. I dunno. I am not sure how I feel about my reaction and I can’t stop thinking back about it.

Moment #2

We went to Busch Gardens this weekend. We have “fun passes” and go fairly often. Theme parks are to Florida what the Smithsonian is to Washington D.C. We take for granted what people travel for miles with families to see and do.

Anyway, my 5 yo son T. and I were in line for the Flume. You know which ride this is – the log ride – with the big drop at the end where we get all wet. T. is dying to be old enough for roller coasters and this was his first time on a ride with a big drop. So we were really excited – giggling and chatting, we were all wound up about it.

As we were only a few people away from jumping onto our own log, I heard a violent thump from behind me. I turned and saw a woman, slumped back in her husbands arms, eyes rolled up in her head, and an enormous gash – maybe 6 inches across – on her forehead. She had fainted and hit her head on the stairs. Blood was everywhere. We yelled for help, the Busch Gardens attendants were unsure – radioing managers, grabbing paper towels, running, whispering, clueless. I saw the hands of the girl with the paper towels, she was shaking.

Since we were ahead of the woman who fainted, they ushered us onto the flume and off we went. My heart in my stomach: for T. who had never done this before and for this woman, and all the blood, and the moment she was in.

After an exhilarating splashdown, squeals of delight and “let’s do it agains” from T., we pulled back around to get off our ride. I then heard the announcement that the Flume would be closed due to “technical difficulties”. I stepped off and carefully helped T. off too.

And thats when I saw the two boys. They were maybe four and seven. They were huddled together on the stairs, quite a few feet away from the woman lying on the ground. Obviously, they were her sons. They were crying quietly, the older boy had his arms around the younger boy; now and then he would pat his cheek or rock him gently. Like Hansel and Gretel, holding onto to one another, in utter shock, their world had just turned upside down.

I looked to see who was helping them. No one. Their father was too consumed with helping his wife and talking to the paramedics arriving on the scene.

And we were being pushed along and asked to exit on the right.

But those boys. There was a large fence separating where T. and I were and those boys. If only I could have stopped and stayed with those boys. If only I could have offered them some comfort. They were alone, they were too young to know it was going to be ok, they were utterly distraught, they had seen their mommy fall, they saw so much blood. All I can think now is how they will remember that horrible moment for the rest of their lives. Their mother was fine, all would be well, children have seen worse, but my heart broke for those boys in that moment.

Moment #3

I was in Wal-Mart this morning. (OK, ok, I know. I hear your booing. I’ve already said my piece on that place before. With our meager, pathetic, shoe-string budget, it is what it is.) I can’t believe it’s September already, and naturally, my mind is starting to gear up for the holidays. So we were wandering the aisles in the toy section. C. was starting to feel impatient for lunch and I knew my time was running out.

Suddenly C. said “Oooooh, Mama. Baby. Toe TOOT!” (Translation: Oh, mommy, that baby is so cute!) He saw a doll haphazardly left behind on the wrong shelf. C. adores babies. He can hardly keep his hands off any of my friend’s babies. They light up his world, I mean it.

Well, a lightbulb went off in my head. How can it be this child does not have a doll when he loves babies this much?

So off I wheeled in search of a cheap, small baby doll for C. Where could they be?

Oh. Right. The “pink” section.

I have two boys. I don’t get to the pink section often. And I gather all dolls are in the pink section, the girl section. So, into the pink I wheeled. And bingo. There, between the hideous Hannah Montana dress up crap and the Bratz dolls (What the HELL are they about! Ah!), there was a small section of dolls. He played with a few. We picked one out. It has a little hat and a pacifier as accessories. And as excited as he was, he shocked me by being so gentle with that doll. Carefully cradling it, jibber jabbering little comments to the doll, giving it the pacifier, hugging it, patting its head. He played with it all the way to the register, had the doll sitting next to him in his car seat home, on the floor next to him during lunch and, currently, the doll is tucked in T.’s bed across the room from C. as he takes his nap.

So I am glad we found that doll. It’s perfect. 

But I couldn’t help but mutter how crazy it is that the only dolls to be found were in the PINK section.

WHAT. BOYS can’t EVER have a doll?

WHAT. BOYS aren’t ever NURTURING?

WHAT shouldn’t I be encouraging my boy to nurture small babies, to be a good parent some day, for crying out loud!?

Cleary, dolls are for girls. Found only in the PINK section. UGH. GAG.

I should probably mention one thing, however. You know, that the baby we got? He’s dressed in blue. I assume he is a boy doll. And who picked that color out? I did. What was my point? Did I think that having him play with a boy doll, assuming he is a boy because he is in  blue, makes boys playing with dolls THAT much more ok? Like “It’s ok, its a DUDE doll.” The blue doll assures that C.’s masculinity is still intact?

Eh.

So whats that say about me?

Clearly, this Monday, I am lost in my own thoughts. And once again, obviously thinking way too hard about stuff going on around me. But I am guessing these kinds of moments will happen again. And what better home for them but here.

I hope you have a wonderful and less “over thought” start to your week.

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Filed under Boys, Busch Gardens, Feminist tendancies, One of those moments, parental fear, Parenting, Racism, Toys, Uncategorized