Thursday, February 26, 2009

Still?

On Sunday after church, LOML and I had lunch and then went to the park so I could get my 4 miles in and she could play on the playground.

When we arrived at the park (which is located next to the high school parking lot and a residential zone), we could see some kids on the playground.

LOML was excited. Sometimes when we get there, there's no one around and she gets sad and bored.

However, this time there were some kids there.

I parked in the parking lot that was behind the play area. We got out of the car and I got my gear together. iPod=check. Bottle of water=check. Kleenex=check.

LOML got out of the car and got her jacket on.

I went ahead and started walking while LOML got her stuff together. As I got closer to the play area, I could hear the kids loudly yelling. Since I had my earbuds in, it was mostly noise, but the closer I got to the playground, the more distinctive the words got.

And boy, were they some ugly words.

Little kids (younger than LOML who is almost 9) saying "fuck you" and "ass" and "shit".

I was shocked but, hey, they weren't my kids. Mine knows better.

I did worry a little though that she might not have as much fun as she was thinking if the kids were this "rough".

I make my way around the walking path and notice that by this time, LOML had made it to the playground.

I kept an eye on her as I walked. I saw her on the slide and the climbing structure.

As I got about halfway around the path, I hear "Mom" real loud. I turned off my iPod and turned around.

She's running up to me with tears falling down her face and gulping air.

When she reached me, she said "They told me to get out of there".

Confused, I asked her "What do you mean?"

She said, "A girl told me to get out of there.".

I asked, "Do you mean the playground"?

She said yes.

Oooohhhh boy. The mama bear in me woke the hell up.

I started to storm over there all the while LOML is yelling at me not to go over there.

She decides to go back to the car while I'm storming over in a huff.

I can see that the kids at this point have noticed me coming over but to their credit, they didn't run.

I marched right into the playground and demanded in a LOUD voice, "Who said it"?

They immediately started pointing at each other.

I asked it a couple of more times, all in the same LOUD (not yelling) voice.

I finally said, "Someone told my daughter to get out of here".

Some little girl spoke up and said, "We didn't tell her that"!

I asked if she was lying then.

They didn't say anything.

I then told them that she has as much right to be there as they do and that it wasn't right for them to tell her to leave.

I then went on to tell them that they ought to be ashamed of themselves for cussing since they're only kids and that if I heard one more cuss word out of them, I was going to track down each of their mamas and inform them of what they had been doing.

They all just stared at me and didn't speak another word.

I walked back to where I had left off in my walk and continued on. When I got back around to where the playground was, I noticed that they had all left.

I assumed that they were going to go home and tell their parents what happened.

Since I hate confrontation, I decided to leave after just a half mile of walking.

I went and got in the car and started driving around.

The more I drove, the more angry I got.

I was NOT going to be that person that gave up something like a nice safe walking path just because I didn't want to face a potentially angry parent.

So, I sucked it up and went back. I parked the car. LOML stayed inside while I started on my second lap. Halfway around, I saw this white car pull up and this HUGE woman get out.

I wanted to pee/vomit/shit so bad. I just KNEW this was going to go bad.

But, I held my ground. I took my earbuds out as she approached me.

She asked me what had gone on because her kids came home crying about some lady at the park yelling at them and calling them "black bitches".

I was STUNNED! SHOCKED! HORRIFIED! that these kids had gone home and told their mom this.

She started off by saying how she had some white folks in her family and she hates that some white people around here treat the black kids this way and that she doesn't hate white people and on and on and on.

I literally couldn't speak I was so shocked.

When she finally stopped talking for a minute, I managed to tell her exactly what happened and that I did NOT, under any circumstances, call any of the kids "black bitches".

She said that she knew that some of the other kids that were there were trouble and were known liars but that her kids generally weren't.

At that point, I asked her kids, with her standing right there, if I had actually said those words.

Their mama looked at them and told them to tell the truth.

The looked from me to her and back again. They finally said that no, I didn't say that and that it was the other kids that told my daughter to get out of the playground and that they were also the ones that lied about me calling them names.

The mama looked appeased at that point and the crises was diverted. They all got in the car and left.

My knees were shaking. I was so terrified that some sort of big issue was going to be made and that there was going to be a beat down with me as the recipient.

After I got over the now non-existent reason for fear, I started thinking about how that mama IMMEDIATELY assumed it was a racial issue because my daughter was white and the other kids were black.

And it broke my heart.

That because of how things are around here, it's STILL an issue today...in two thousand FREAKIN' nine!

Come on people. Get with the program. Get over this hatred you have of people that are different than you. Get over yourselves. Trust and believe that you are NO BETTER than anyone else on this earth. Get your head out of your ass and have some compassion.

And I'm not talking about that mama either. She just went on the offensive and I understand that.

I'm talking about all the people that live here that make it to where she has to go on the offensive and immediately assume that the problem was a racial one.

I sometimes literally get sick to my stomach at the hatred that still exists today.

I try my best to raise my daughter not to listen to the racial slurs that are spoken in mixed company around here. I tell her that it's wrong and that it's a banned word in our house.

I did learn something valuable about myself out of this, though. It was not all for naught.

I learned to take a pro-active stand for something that I wanted and to not let fear beat me down.

No matter how big she was.

Later,

Mama Dawg

25 really cool people who give a rat's patootie:

Cocotte

Whoa.....I'm glad you said something to those kids though. It might have been the first time an adult had reprimanded them. It's too bad that LOML had to witness all of that.

Irish Gumbo

DON'T MESS WITH THE MAMA DAWG! Awesome, great piece. You hit it on the head: why do people automatically assume it's a racial thing? Sometimes, bad things happen to people because they are being assholes, not because of the color of their skin.

At least the other lady seemed to get what was going on, even if it was tense!

Good on ya, mate! I see my awardification sense was on target :)

Rhea

I'm glad you went back. And faced down another mama bear. Good for you.

And it does make me sad it had to be racial. :o(

Great blog title.

Middle Aged Woman

Sounds like Detroit.

Jaden Paige

Good for you, taking a stand!! And I'm so glad it didn't result in a beat down... Because THAT would have been an even SADDER end to the story.

Bobby G

WOW that was WAY more drama than i expected on a Thurs Mornimng, I think however, you handled that FANTASTICALLY! YOu didnt back down, and you didnt run or flee despite your fear, VERY admirable!

Lo

sigh. this reminds me of my childhood. i lived in cleveland and PA for some time when i was LOYL's age, and it was SO. HARD. i was discriminated against bc i was the whitest kid around. the black kids wanted nothing to do with me and made it known. i got beat up, tossed around, yelled at, stuff was thrown at me, .. it was not good. same thing happened to me when i moved to california. and thru all of this, i have remained the most open person i can be, not racist or discriminating at all. not based on color or financial standing. i am judgmental when it comes to ignorance, tolerance, etc.... but not based on how you look. but who you are. my heart is breaking that LOYL had to deal with this. i pray that it never happens again. she is just too good a person to have to stomach this sort of abuse.

as for that mother, i understand where she's coming from, but those kids obviously learned that behavior somewhere. i just can't stomach the thought that a mother would be appeased that easily. 'tell the truth'??? kids lie. especially kids that cause problems. i just wish she would have paid a little more attention. maybe that would stop those kids from tumbling downhill further.

Jennifer

Wow--good for you for standing up to the kids and the mom. I'm sorry it got racial, but I'm glad you got it resolved in the end!

Kelly

I am giving you a big high five!! Way to stand your ground...you totally taught your daughter a very important life lesson today!
PS-I would've SHAT in my pants!

Pseudonymous High School Teacher

Holy crap mama, I cannot tell you on how many levels I connected with this post of yours.

Briefly...

I'm teaching To Kill a Mockingbird and the local kids are appaled by the racism in the novel. I have been telling them it is because it is set in the 1930's.

Yesterday I had a confrontation with a parent on the phone that was very unsettling....

Is there something up with the universe this week?

Mom Taxi Julie

It's sad that the kids had to make up that story. I hate bully kids on the playground!

Teri

I grew up in the '60's with all the racial unrest. I came out of that knowing that people just aren't treated that way...no matter what. My kids know that same lesson. Good for your for standing up and making sure the other mama got the scoop. This stuff is just so old, I can't believe people are still going there.

Soldier without a War

wow!! That is crazy. It is actually a good thing that you did go back and handle it because weeks could have gone by and it may have escalated to an ever higher thing. i would have been shaking...that is just so maddening!! why do kids lie about that kind of stuff?? it is sad...

Swirl Girl

Wow!

First of all good for you for standing up and confronting. My knees were shaking right along with yours.

And I feel a bit ashamed because I pre-judged the other mom ...thinking that she would lash out at you and not try to get her kids to own up to the truth.

Swirl Girl

Wow!

First of all good for you for standing up and confronting. My knees were shaking right along with yours.

And I feel a bit ashamed because I pre-judged the other mom ...thinking that she would lash out at you and not try to get her kids to own up to the truth.

mo.stoneskin

Crumbs, what a story.

Most bloggers would kill for a story to post like that.

Well done for being bold though.

Reminds me (very, very loosely) of a story my wife recently told.

She was looking after a 2-yr-old for some friends. Took him down the local park. There were other kids there playing and shouting. My wife noticed they were swearing a lot, but hey, it was a in a roughish part of town anyway.

On the way home the little chap turns to my wife, and with a big grin goes "Buckinhell, buckinhell, buckinhell".

She had to ignore him, laughing or encouraging could produce the wrong effect!

All afternoon he continued, "buckinhell,buckinhell,buckinhell".

My wife apologiesed to the kid's mother, "it was the kids in the park", she said.

"Yeah right," said the mum, rolling her eyes...

Twenty Four At Heart

I thought you were going to get your ass kicked! I still have that mama bear instinct and my kids are teens. It never goes away.

Angela

Good for you for standing up for yourself.

I really think the only way we're going to make a difference is if we DO stand up to anyone who thinks it's ok to make bigoted statements.

As for me, I've decided I'm not putting up with it anymore from anyone. Even those old friends and family members, you know the ones, the ones who always just say something and then people either ignore it or pretend it's just a "joke" and they don't really mean it. Not anymore, and not around my son either.

Of course I actually haven't been tested yet. But some I have company coming tonight that has a history of doing that so we'll see! Wish me luck!

Kat

I just have to say notice the little kids knew exactly what to say what to get their mom riled up. That is what is sad. Good for standing up for yourself and LOML.

Momo Fali

Good job! I am so proud of you! I think I would stand my ground, but then would probably decide that someone was going to come back with a gun and shoot me dead. I'm paranoid like that.

Petra a.k.a The Wise (*Young*) Mommy

Kudos to you for standing up for yourself and your kid! I probably would have cowered and ran away with my tail between my legs!

It is sad, really, that the first thing those kids thought to say was that you pointed out their race. They knew that would get their mom riled up and that she would go ape shit on your ass.

Maybe someday, our kids won't see color.

Dan River Mama

The quick assumptions made by others are sad. But I have to admit, when I read, "I wanted to pee/vomit/shit so bad.", just picturing the scene in my mind made me laugh so loud, everyone came running in to see what the deal was... This is my first visit to your blog. Thanks a bunch for the laugh, I needed it.

LiteralDan

Kudos to you for going back and waiting to deal with whatever crazy came your way.

And it's a good thing you did, because I think something important happened. The kids learned something, and the mom will be ready with healthy skepticism if it should ever happen again.

Robin Costello

I so agree with you. All of this crap, race, gay marriage, whatever else- should be a NON-ISSUE but now.

Don't we have bigger problems to deal with?

And good for you for standing up for your daughter. I'd have been crapping Twinkies too when the other mother got there, so I'm glad things went well.

My kids are grown now. It's so sad that the kids today are having to deal with such things.

Rock on and walk on. Good for you!

Mommy Mo

I'm so glad you put those kids in their places. I'm so glad you went back. I'm so glad the BIG woman didn't beat you up.

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