I knew the moment this white girl married an Asian man and we decided to procreate that at some point some ignoramus would break both my heart and my child’s. I just didn’t know it would happen this early in his life or how totally furious and protective I would feel. Nor did I think Mother’s Day would be the day it would happen.
For Mother’s Day Big took me to one of our favorite Chinese restaurants. While waiting for a table Big and Shorty were checking out the fish tank. There was a little boy about six or seven sitting on the bench also looking at the fish. Shorty was talking to the fish when out of nowhere this other child looks at Shorty with contempt and says, “Hey kid, I’m not Chinese,” then he scooched farther away from my little boy.
I was stunned to say the least. Moments later his father came out of the dining area to check on him. I could have slapped the kid and his father. Shorty is two so he really had no idea what the heck was going on. He just wanted to look at the fish. But me, my heart was ready to burst out of my chest. How dare someone insinuate that my child is somehow inferior or odd because he is half Asian. And where exactly did this other child learn such things?
Big hasn’t been as affected by this little incident as I have. In his eyes it was ridiculously minor compared to some of the crap he’s endured. I, however, am a white woman who has experienced very little prejudice in my life. Probably if someone reacted to me like that I could handle it, but this is my beautiful child we’re talking about. No one, and I mean NO ONE, had better mess with him.
I’m now really dreading the day when some other person does something or says something to Shorty that will hurt his feelings. There will come a day when I won’t be able to be with him every second. I won’t be able to protect him from the ignorance and hate that some people will inflict upon him. There will come a day when he will be old enough to understand when someone is being hurtful. I’m not sure I’m ready for that day. I’m not sure how I can make Shorty be ready for that day.
Rejection because you’re not wearing the latest designer brand or because your mom packs your lunch when all the other kids buy theirs is one thing. Being made fun of or being rejected happens to us all at some point. But how do you prepare for the day when rejection comes simply because you look different than someone else? What scars will it leave on me and Shorty when he comes home crying because someone doesn’t like him or made fun of him simply because of who he is?
I don’t have the luxury of seeing the world through the rose colored glasses of a white person anymore. I can’t. The moment I gave birth to my son I began my education in what it feels like for other races. I’m hear to tell you it isn’t a pretty place to be. There are landmines when you least expect them and the enemy lurks in every corner … even in the disguise of a seven year old boy on what was supposed to be an innocent night out.