Transracial Parenting: that time my boss used a racial slur
Did I ever tell you about that time I quit my job because my boss used a racial slur?
No? Probably because I was, in a way, trying to protect him. You see, I know ^he didn’t really mean it^. He was ^just joking^. He honestly thought he was being funny. Really. He was in a room full of white women, who knew that he was kidding, so no harm, right? Except….
Three years ago I wouldn’t have quit my job over it. It would have made me uncomfortable, but I would have ignored his behavior, as my co-workers did, because he was kidding. ^Obviously.^ And he was my boss. Three years ago, I probably wouldn’t have mentioned it to my husband that evening at home. Except….
Except the ^joke^ was that I should call my son this racial slur.
You know, to get him used to hearing it….
I couldn’t stop thinking about being at a company/family event and any of my boys hearing him say something like that. A co-worker assured me that he would never say anything like that in front of Squirm. As though that made it okay.
My white privilege (aided by my professional qualifications, tbh) allowed me to find a new job pretty quickly. And my white privilege allows me to tell people this story without being accused of Playing the Race Card.
Three years ago, I was one of those people who was offended by the concept of white privilege – how dare anyone suggest that I hadn’t worked hard and earned everything in my life?
And then I became a mother to a black son and I had to educate myself. Eventually I realized that acknowledging the existence of white privilege doesn’t mean that I haven’t worked hard for the things I have or that I didn’t earn my advanced degree and professional qualifications. To paraphase an amazing white privilege analogy, acknowledging white privilege means acknowledging that life is skewed in ways I’ve never realized or had to think about, precisely because they are skewed in my favor.
Three years ago, I was one of those people arguing that Confederate Flag is about ^Heritage, not Hate^, and the War Between the States was fought over states rights.
And then I became a mother to a black son and I had to educate myself. I learned that all the things I had been taught – and adamantly regurgitated – were untrue. The Civil War really was about Slavery. Yes, even my beloved home state of Texas seceded because the northern states refused to return slave owners’ property – human beings – to a state where one person could legally own another. I also learned that the “Southern Cross” wasn’t terribly popular after the Civil War – it certainly wasn’t seen as symbol of a proud heritage…. In fact, the Confederate Battle Flag didn’t gain popularity until it was used by several racist politicians as a symbol of protest and defiance against desegregation.
Three years ago, I wouldn’t have unfriended people for defending a certain cop in McKinney, Texas. In fact, I’m ashamed to say, I may very well have been among those blaming the child who was assaulted, thrown to the ground, and sat on by a grown-ass man. And I will be honest enough to admit that my stance on the issue would most likely have had more to do with the color of her skin, than the badge on his chest. ^Not that I was racist – NO! I was colorblind!!^ It’s just that, well, you know, some people have no respect for the laws….
And then I became a mother to a black son and I had to educate myself….
I thank God everyday that I have become a mother to two black sons. And that I’m no longer the person I was three years ago.
Two days ago, Misty Copeland became the first African-American woman to be named a principal in the 75-year history of American Ballet Theater. Three years ago I may have noticed, but I would have had no appreciation for the accomplishment that truly is…
Hint: It has recently come to my attention that not all of my readers can easily tell when I’m being sarcastic. That is truly unfortunate, so finding a solution was imperative. ^Obviously, the easiest answer is to assume that if something can be read with sarcasm, it should be;^; but that’s not really workable, I guess. After reviewing several options for a “sarcasm font”, I’ve come up up with my own system. Whenever you see italics inside carrots (^snark^), that is my “sarcasm font”.
#AdoptionTalk Link Up
This week’s topic: Anything Goes