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Sunday, September 1, 2013

Race Matters More for a Middle Schooler

The bell at my son’s middle school will ring this coming week. He’s tentative, and I’m bracing myself. Last fall, one of our mother-son breakfasts began like this.

“Mom, someone at school told me no one would date me because I’m mixed race.”

My heart sank, but I hid my hurt.

I said, “Did you tell him, ‘That’s okay, because I won’t date racist people’?”

“No!  I never thought of that,” he replied excitedly. “That’s good.”

I explained I had many years of experience thinking of comebacks. Yet, this wasn’t the first time my son had experienced prejudice. At eight, he had his first bout with it as I described in this post. At the time, he didn’t seemed phased, but he admitted then that he had held onto that memory as well.

As we talked further, he felt better. He realized that he was not alone, that his mother had grown up with the same, and that as author Eric Hoffer once said, “Rudeness is the weak man’s imitation of strength.”