I honestly thought the Teen would be the pioneer and integrate our family. Upper Darby is a melting pot of cultures and since my child grew up in a mixed neighborhood I thought I would have had a rainbow come through the house by now.
Sleeping Beauty actually blazed the trail.
Ever since she’s been on the dating scene, my sister has had every dating cliche that could exist. Based on her and two single friends escapades, I’ll put up with The Mister’s snoring and love for Mike & Mike at blaring levels in the morning.
Let’s see…between the three of them there’s been a Mr Blue, a man with no windows because of a not so ex girlfriend, Secret Squirrel, the possibly LD guy who is no stranger to the law, Old Corny Dude, and now Ben Affleck.*
Ben Affleck is pretty cool. When we first met him, the Mister called him New England Clam Chowder. SB and BA assumed it was because of his complexion. It was actually because of his size. He’s a healthy fellow. He tried to give himself the name of Cheez-It’s, since that was his favorite cracker.
That didn’t go too well with me and the Mister. This is 2010 North not 1910 South. That wasn’t going down here. Plus, we like to make up our own names: Goggles for the dude with the Thick A** Glasses, Malcolm X for a fiery preacher in church. After deciding that he was the ‘whitest white boy’ I know, he was christened Ben Affleck.
Ben Affleck’s entry into our lives coincides with The Boy being exposed to The Boondocks. This summer I have had to have that heavy conversation about the ‘N’ word. My frustration with the treatment of President Obama (that man is damned if he do, damned if he don’t) Tea Partyers, Glenn Beck, Talk Radio, my involvement in local politics and the comments about ‘animals taking over Upper Darby’ in my local newspaper has brought a subject once whispered about to the forefront of more conversations than I care to have.
I have never allowed the kids to say they can’t (fill in the blank) because they are black. I know that the Teen faces the Glass Ceiling although there are some cracks in it and I worry about the first time the Boy gets caught up in a Living While Black situation. But I’m confident that The Mister and I do a decent job of training them for adulthood.
Now that I’m conscious about what I say, I realize that somewhere along the line I lost that wide eyed optimism and became more bitter and borderline, gasp, militant.
As suggested by some, it’s not the hair. It’s the little things. Like…
having someone tell you how
well spoken your children are because they speak in a grammatically correct sentence. Or seeing someone do the math when I say how long The Mister and I have been married as they look side eye at The Teen. Being followed in a store for no other reason than my color only to be ignored when I want to make a purchase. Hearing a man call me an educated colored as I select a classical CD from the library. Being told by an Indian American that he can’t play with my child because his mother doesn’t allow brown kids in the house. Hearing a neighborhood kid ask what do apples and blacks have in common…
Living with that BS makes me wanna holla!
I agree with Chris Rock’s riff about the war between the blacks and the n***** because I have encountered a few of the soldiers for the OTHER side. Sleeping Beauty and I often shake our heads at ‘coon’ behavior. Coon behavior is when people of color put on an unnecessary show of plain foolishness. SB slipped and said something about kids cooning in front of Ben Affleck and he was taken aback about her choice of words. He even thinks it’s unfair that I call him Ben Affleck feeling he would be called a racist if he did the same. A double standard, most definitely.
This got me to thinking. Here I am believing I was naturally politically correct. After all I’ve had the oppressive foot of racism on my neck for thirty something years! Now I see that adding BA to our lives I could stand to be more tolerant.
We all went out for the Mister’s Birthday and scored front row tickets to a comedy show. Needless to say, BA caught major Hell. He became a part of the show, with comments like why do ‘white people mess with animals?’ and ‘do all white people know each other?’. I was a little uncomfortable at first, but Ben Affleck was a good sport about it, laughing harder than me at some times.
This past weekend, BA came to my girlfriend’s house for a Kicked Out Cook Out**. After eating, dancing, and being toasted from everything to being SB’s boyfriend to surviving the cookout, he has now been given a new name:
* From Role Models
** A raucous, over the top barbecue.
Created on the fly by Mrsrkfj