Monday, September 24, 2007

cure for blogging hiatus? a random ignorant nanny.

every once in a while i notice that i feel slightly overwhelmed/intimidated by posting, reading and commenting on blogs while simultaneously being a wife and mom and daughter and sister and friend and yada yada yada.... i realize that i have to ease up on my inner accelerator and just let my life get hurt and wounded. then, heal itself and scar up around me...

i observe a little more and overanalyze a little less... i also noticed that the blogosphere itself was feeling a little darker than usual so i thought i should take a little break. at first i thought it would just be a day or two and then three days passed... ergo blogging hiatus... i apologize if you were worried at all... especially with the tone of my last post and my dramatic leanings... i know i worry about my fellow bloggers when they inexplicably drop out of sight for a while...

anyhoo, i'm slowly playing catch up on my blog posting, reading and commenting... today, i went about my daily routine hoping to find something i might blog about next.

(incidentally, i'm still taking pics and videos of the kids that i'd love to share with you, but as i mentioned before, i'm uncomfortable doing so. but, if you'd like to see some pics/vids and you're already a member of flickr or youtube just contact me and i'll add you as a friend or subscriber.)

today, i woke up. i dressed in something clean and cool. i got the paloma ready for school. i changed the porkchop out of diapers/pjs. we had breakfast - a bagel and juice for the paloma, cheerios and milk for the porkchop, and a tea for the paloma's doll, mary. i decided to pick up a coffee and coffee cake at a local cafe. (btw - i still haven't gotten a minute to eat the coffee cake or lunch - it's 4:50 pm now)

we took one last look in the mirror - i brush my hair quickly, fix her pink hair clip, slip on her sock and shoes. in the backyard, i schpritzed 7% deet (yes, they're still biting here) on all of us and we were off.

we walked to school. on the way, we picked up some leaves. and rocks. and a neon pink feather - must be a flamingo says paloma. we said hi to and ruffled to the fur of a yellow lab and a sheepdog. after a kiss and a hug and a few words of encouragement, she walked into the school.

after a quick coffee and vanilla milk run, the porkchop and i headed to the park. the park was already busy with a group of local preschool kids and some grandparents with other toddlers. i didn't see anyone i knew... but there was a young woman - college student maybe - with a young boy, he looked about preschool age. she was very attentive and playful with him - which was refreshing since many of the moms/nannies usually let their kids run amok while talking to each other or on their cellphones. i don't necessarily helicopter/hover, but i also don't allow the paloma or porkchop to do or sometimes say anything willy nilly. i think i really do have bionic ears and eyes in the back of my head.

so, while the porkchop and i played "unnydog!" (again! again! again!) in a babyswing, the young woman came over to push the young boy on the neighboring big kid swing. she started some small talk with the pork chop, "hi there! how old are you?"

she was met with the deafening porkchop silence.

me (smiling): "he's twenty months old or so."

young woman (smiling): "he's looking at me like i'm an intruder"

me (jokingly): "he does that with everybody. he owns the park and wants to know who invited all these people he doesn't know."

young woman: "this is such a great park. we usually go to ridge (another nearby park). but, i don't like the wood chips or the sandbox."

me: "yeah, i don't like the sandbox or the wood chips either. my daughter somehow attracts splinters and she's dug up some really disgusting "treasure" in the sandbox - usually cat poop, the occasional empty 40 oz and once (whispering) a used condom."

young woman: "yikes. really? wow. the kids are always trying to run around without shoes on and i worry that they're going to get something like glass stuck in their feet. they say, 'amy, mommy lets us run around without shoes all the time.' i tell them 'then you can do that with your mom. but you can't run around shoeless with me.'"

me: "my kids are the same. they hate shoes. they get that from me. as a kid, i hated shoes and socks."

young woman/nanny: "the other reason i don't like that park is because usually i'm the only white woman there with white kids. and those black kids just play too rough. you know what i mean... (eyes rolling)"

me (furrowed brow): (silence)(look of utter disbelief and total confusion on my face) "um. uh."

young woman/ignorant nanny (smiling): "well, we gotta go. it was nice to meet you. we'll see you here again!

me (furrowed brow): "yeah. bye!"

i know. i dropped the anti-model minority stereotype ball. trust me, i'm angry at myself enough. i was off my game today. i cannot always let this happen to me. i swear i do not have "racists welcome here" tattooed to my forehead. i wanted to calmly tell this young ignorant white woman that it was not ok to say this to a complete stranger who happened to be asian. i wanted to tell her how offended i was. i wanted to ask her to examine why she thought it was "ok" to have said this to anyone. but, i dropped it. i lazily let racism happen in front of my son and another mother's son.

i desperately want to write a scathing email to the local moms group in hopes of alerting the mom of her ignorant insulting nanny and maybe even write a post to isawyournanny. but i won't because i know neither of those things will have a positive effect. but, i need to do something.

sometimes i think i'll just have to resort to being the weird lady who carries around copies of "white privilege: unpacking the invisible backpack" around with her and randomly hands them out to white people who upset her. no, really. then, i think about that book guerilla art kit and it also gives me some ideas. but, then i imagine the backlash on the kids and the thin man.

lately, i've been thinking starting some kind of group, maybe a real life anti-racist parent group in the neighborhood to raise awareness and to support other parents who encounter stuff like this in our very diverse, but not remotely integrated neighborhood. it overwhelms me and i stop thinking about it so much - hoping that i'll have an epiphany about it.

i just don't know where to start. how do i find all these parents? where would we meet? how often would we meet? how would i moderate such a meeting? what would we talk about? how could we collectively affect positive change instead of encouraging the rift that already exists? how do i keep parents constantly interested and involved?

so, i'm open to any and all the helpless, fearful, angry, anti-racist mama out - comment on, comment on...


Anonymous said...

OMG. The shock of hearing anyone say that to me, a minority myself, would render me speechless as well, I must admit.


I wish I had answers. I'm curious to hear what others say. I'm still trying to navigate these waters myself.

Rachel said...

I can't believe she said that!!! That's awful. Sometimes when someone says something like that to me, I am so stunned/ shocked that I can't think of what to say in the moment.

I think having a real-world ARP group would be awesome. I've had the same thought myself.

samokdaddy said...

ya know...Even though I'm a white male and straight. I think I would have suddenly become a gay male parent to see what she would have done or said. I would have told her that i resented the comment and that "my partner" is of color-which is true...but I would have played it up with some panache. I wonder how she would have taken it? I also think J would have gotten a kick out of it too. She likes being the "fly on the wall" in situations like that. It's always fun to deliver a little shock for the fun of it. it's a little mean to play it up like that, but every parent needs a little excitement now and then. Besides... maybe it would give the little nanny something to think about.

Anonymous said...

we adopted our daughter from guatemala and live in a smallish town in WI (stong latino community) and I've been waiting for one of these comments. Thankfully, I have yet to hear such a blatent one. But I do get the occasional "She'll never have to get a sun tan" or "what beautiful skin" and I think to myself, do you say that to other hispanic/latino/asian kids with parents who are not white?

It is nice to hear that others struggle with responding quickly and diligently - as a gringomama I will always fear that I will lack the skills to respond appropriately.

looking forward to reading more...

by the way...i love all the movies you listed, wish we lived in chitown and could meet for that coffee cake that never gets eaten.

take care
amy in wisconsin


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