I can see the bare trees in the background as I sit talking with T-man, trying to walk the line between the white hot fire burning in my belly and having a meaningful conversation about how to navigate in this world.
Because who better to talk to my dark skinned son about handling racist comments than his white mama? Yeah, that’s what I thought, too, but he’s stuck with me so we wade into those waters.
I think of the KKK who dared to show its ugly face in my state, throwing a parade in celebration of the election, and the look on my kids’ faces when BrightSide said there’d been reports of a cross burning in the original parade location.
I see the bare branches swaying and I think of switches and beatings and ugliness that simmers just below the surface, only sometimes in our area of the south it doesn’t burrow too far down. It throws just enough paint on to pass itself off as harmless jokes or southern pride; it’s muttered in an undertone that can be written off as something you misheard.
I tell T-man that we’re fighting to provide him with a safe learning environment, but responsible parenting demands that we tell him he’ll meet assholes like this his entire life. We wish it weren’t so but it is, and he’ll need to find ways to handle it. I remind him that there’s a great deal of mama bear raising up in me right now, that the claws are out…and I ask if he’s ever considered turning to this particular kid with the smart mouth and telling him to go to hell.
But my pacifist son is horrified. He doesn’t want to tell him that. I don’t tell T-man this is all I want to tell that kid, preferably while giving his arm a nice hard twist, ’cause grownups aren’t supposed to act like that. Apparently.
I always thought the winter trees were starkly beautiful, standing bare against the smooth gray sky, but today they look dangerous. Menacing. And I dream of the day when my twelve-year-old son won’t be made to feel like an outsider because his skin is brown.
Linda’s weekly Stream of Consciousness prompt is open to one and all. Click the link to check out its rules and participating blogs. This week’s prompt is “bear/bare.”