Here's where this post comes from. Chris and I took Ephraim to the park a few weeks back. We were minding our own business, having a good time, when a couple of teenage boys (one white, one black, I'm not sure who yelled it) yelled across the park to their friend (who was black) a certain derogatory racist phrase that involved the "n" word. It was said in a "friend" sort of way.
I was taken aback. I looked down at Ephraim and thought I'm sure the words didn't process in his brain. He probably wasn't even paying attention.
But was it okay for us to stay at the park at that point? I felt uncomfortable. I felt offended. I felt protective.
So I looked at Chris and said, "Let's go." And we left.
I thought about it the whole way home and here's what really got to me, folks. I guess my prior thought process was something like this: We don't hang out with racists. We aren't friends with racists. We'll monitor our child's tv intake like any good parent. So therefore he'll be in like junior high by the time I have to explain those sorts of phrases to him and help him understand in some way I have no idea.
But that theory is gone now. Because my son is smart. And it's not going to be very long before he hears words yelled across a park and repeats them and wants to know what they mean. And how do you explain that to a 2-year-old or a 5-year-old or a 7-year-old?
I don't know, but I guess I'll have to figure it out sooner than I'd hoped. And I wish we lived in a world where I never had to.