Anonymous Mom: Refusing To Talk To Your Kids About Racial Slurs Is Bad Parenting
How did I not prepare for this? There were so many things that ranÂ through my head. My first instinct was to just shut it down and tell himÂ not to worry about it. It’s not a word any of us will ever use so let’sÂ just pretend it doesn’t exist.
That’s a terrible idea.
My next thought was: if I tell him what this word is, there may come aÂ time when he is so angry at one of his friends that he’s going to blurt itÂ out, really hurting someone -oh, and probably getting his ass kicked. IÂ needed more time so, I asked for it. “Kiddo, I need to think on this for aÂ bit and then I’ll get back to you. K?” He’s easy. “No worries, Mommy’O.”
This isn’t a swear word or even just a “bad wordâ€. This is a word thatÂ is so much more than “sticks-n-stones” was ever intended to cover. ThisÂ word has the ability to inspire undue shame and self-consciousness. ItÂ stirs rage, indignation and profound sadness. It’s aÂ word that I have never uttered, even in my earliest days when my GranÂ spit that and other epithets out like tobacco in a spittoon. IÂ always knew it was low. I always knew it was wrong and hurtful.
As a home educating family, we spend a lot of time talking with ourÂ children about everything. We have had deep discussions about racism andÂ it’s origins and we have made it clear that the fight against racism in allÂ of it’s hideous forms is our fight as human beings.
Again, how did I not prepare? Seriously. Our kids have friends fromÂ every walk of life, why didn’t I think about this? After muchÂ self-flaggelating, a fair amount of time, and a bit of planning — I came upÂ with an idea and prayed it would be the right decision.
We went to Gettysburg and to The Gettysburg Museum. When you first walkÂ into the alcove where they show a film about slavery and its role in theÂ Civil War, you are immediately met with a giant, floor-to-ceilingÂ photograph of an emaciated African man — a man used as a slave. It’sÂ shocking and heartbreaking. My little girl hid her face in my sweater. WeÂ sat down and watched the film. As we listened to the history, images passedÂ on the screen that were horrifying and some that make you just want diveÂ through time and bitch slap the smug, smarmy, superior shit bags who
believed that people born in black bodies were less than human.
It was here and at this moment when I told them what the “N” word is andÂ what it stands for. It was the first time that word has ever passed myÂ lips, and the last. The deep sadness on their faces was enough for me toÂ know that they won’t use this word. Not without thinking about this momentÂ that made my daughter cry and my son visibly fume. As it should be.
We try to cover all the bases, as parents. I don’t know if not beingÂ prepared for this was a sign of my own “subtle” racism or fear, or if itÂ was just a refusal to acknowledge the ugliness in the world – a subconsciousÂ protest against it, if you will. But I should have been ready. I shouldÂ have known that ugliness is going to creep in and denying myÂ children wisdom will leave them unarmed in this fight.