Another day and another reason I am disappointed with America.
I live in an apartment complex in Michigan, and as with any large apartment complex (20,000 ish residents), you will run into issues where people of varying circumstances, religions, and cultures mix. I’ve seen and heard a lot over the last three years some good some bad…the other day was bad. I pay attention to almost everything that goes on around our building, especially since our car got broken into late last spring.
I was standing in my garage and I saw this lady walking slowly down the sidewalk with one little kid who looked roughly the same age as my son who is 2 and another who is learning to walk. I’ve seen this woman quite often usually taking her kids for walks and pushing a stroller. They were all smiles and the kids were laughing as they walked and talking to their mom. You see, the school bus drop-off is right next to our building so at about 4-clock during the week there are many cars parked in the parking lot with parents in them waiting for their kids to get dropped off. This woman was doing same but walked there and was waiting for her oldest who I think who might have just started school for the first time.
This woman wears a headscarf but I could see her face. She could be Muslim, yes, but she could be Indian, Jewish or several other religions where women wear head scarves for varying reason. I’m not going to ask her questions and invade her privacy and in fact, I’m not going to assume anything about her…why should? I would not want her coming up to me and asking why I’m fat or wearing jeans. As far as I’m concerned she is just another mom, in the neighborhood who is picking her kid up from the bus stop with two toddlers in tow.
Apparently, someone else who was driving by thought otherwise.
After the kids, all got off the bus and it pulled away she and the other parents met their kids. It’s cute, especially with the little ones who are excited about seeing their parents after missing them all day at school. This early in the school year everything is still exciting for many of them. As I was standing in my garage I heard someone shout from a passing SUV, “Go back to your own country terrorist.” I knew who the driver was talking about right away since there was only one person who could fall into that very generalized view.
This poor lady. She, of course, seemed panicked and looked embarrassed even though she did nothing wrong. After all, she was just picking her kid up from the bus stop. Is that such a heinous crime now regardless of what she was wearing on her head? I was appalled, embarrassed and pissed and few other people felt the same way since they yelled back at the passing SUV; a few did nothing at all. This mom got her kids all together, didn’t talk to other parents like normal and walked home much faster than I usually see her walk…and a lot less happy compared to what she was earlier. I called the cops and gave them the license plate number and description of the SUV that drove by
I wanted to tell this lady I was sorry.
I wanted to tell her kids I was sorry…and I didn’t even do anything wrong.
I hate the fact that this poor mother regardless of whatever her religion is can’t pick up her little kid from the damn bus without getting harassed and threatened by some dumbass; even once is too much. I hate the fact that her little kids whether they understood or not had to hear it and witness it. I hate the fact that some Americans are so blinded by hate and generally irrational fear that they think this kind of thing is okay and really makes a difference. I hate the fact that one of those other kids getting off the bus heard it and might repeat the ignorance they heard without really knowing any better. I wonder how many of those other parents who heard it explained to their kids that it was wrong. Racial slurs are not something little kids understand until they get older and it’s not something they should ever hear in 2016, but sadly they still do. They don’t fully understand the harm it could cause…but their parents do.
It made me think about my son who in few years will be getting on and off the bus stop and who will be met by either Stacey or I. How would Stacey feel if someone screamed obscenities at her when she was picking up Jax? How would our son feel? How would you feel? Yes, Stacey is white and I am white so it’s not really the same thing and I get that. My son will know that those things are not acceptable behavior; to say or tolerate regardless of the situation. How though do you make a child understand the fear his mother could be feeling in a situation like that? How do you teach them to understand words can hurt people when they are still learning what words mean and know little about the hate that is in the world they are surrounded by.
I hope the day comes and sooner rather than later where people who are not white and Christian will be able to do simple things like this without fear or worry in America. Where there isn’t a white part of town, a black park of town, a Muslim part of town etc, etc. I hope one day, kids can just get off the damn bus and walk home happily without some idiot screaming at them or their parents and ruining what probably was a good day. I hope one day a woman will not be judged because of what she wears or why she wears it. Can you imagine if this was yelled at a small child just walking home from the bus stop alone without the protection of mom or dad? Can you imagine how scared they would be and what if it was your kid? I bet it happens somewhere.
I’m sure some people, though, will say that “she should just leave America,” and they are no better than the person in the SUV and a part of the bigger problem. In fact, there are hashtags for it so all the racist rhetoric and can be grouped together. #LeaveAmerica and #WhitePeopleForTrump to name a few.
So how do you talk to your kids about racial diversity and racism? How do you teach your kids how to deal with these types of people and situations? If we as country and culture allow this type of thing to perpetuate than we are no better than the generations before us who got it wrong or let it go and turned a blind eye. I think the only way to stop this type of behavior and treatment is to deal with it before it starts and before it becomes a problem.