Maybe I am naive. Maybe my head is up my butt. Maybe I live my life with blinders on. But the conversation I had with Arissa on Sunday not only knocked the wind out of me but it brought tears to my eyes and left me shaking for hours.
Back story: Arissa has a friend (I'll call her Kristy to make things anonymous and simple). Kristy was in super like with a boy (another friend of hers and I'll call him Tom). Tom asked Kristy to be his girlfriend and she accepted. They were adorable together and Arissa was giddy about how cute they were; how much they really liked each other; how she was so happy for 2 great friends of hers. Now, I should point out that we are talking about middle school here. As parents we tend to discount middle school relationships but they are a big deal to the kids. So I listened to Arissa gush about this couple, giggled at the couple name she came up with for them...etc, etc.
Sunday Arissa and I were at Walgreens and she mentioned that Kristy had broken up with Tom. I asked "what?! why?! I thought they were all in love and happy?" She said they were. But that Kristy's parents made her break up with him. I asked if she wasn't allowed to have a boyfriend? Arissa said that no, that wasn't why. I asked "why then?". I was in no way prepared for her reply. The words she said stunned me into silence and instant tears sprang into my eyes. What was her answer? "because Tom is black."
I have had many many dealings with Kristy's mom through the years. Our sons are the same age and have hung out several times; our daughters have cheered together a few times in the past and on the same squad the past 2 years. The mom has always been super sweet; the type that never had a bad thing to say about people or situations; had her daughter miss cheer events for church activities; always in a cheery mood. Basically, "good people" that never showed a hint of racism.
The boy, Tom, was Arissa's long time boyfriend. He and Arissa remain terrific friends...he makes excellent grades, is a terrific athlete, has been chosen several years to speak at the Boys & Girls Club board meeting. A good kid...respectful and kind. Steven and I are very picky about who Arissa is allowed to be friends with and "date" and this boy passed all of our requirements with flying colors.
All that to say....this reaction coming from these people is a good part of my shock. That and the fact that to my face she's always been so kind. But her reaction to Tom shows how she really feels about us. My family. My husband. My son. My daughter. She told Kristy that "those" people have a different "culture" and "customs". "Those" people? Are me. I am outraged. Outraged that they are teaching their child to be racist; outraged that they broke their own daughters heart by their ignorance; outraged for Tom; outraged for Arissa.
I have not publicly revealed the true identities of these people. But if you are at a RMS game and see me nose to nose with a lady? You can bet money that it's me losing my religion on her. I will not seek her out. I won't have to. See, us "cheer moms" usually sit together. Will I allow this evil woman to sit next to me and pretend everything is okay? Will I allow this woman to speak to Arissa? Will I allow this insanity to go unspoken? Hell no. I am well aware I will most likely not change her views (you can't fix stupid) but she will be aware just what I think of her. Because I am one of "those" people...the kind that stands up for what is right.