Just like, oh, the rest of the world, Iʼm horrified by what happened in Boston this week during the marathon. Bombing anyone, at any time, for any reason, is absurd. During war, we say itʼs necessary, but we still know itʼs absurd. It becomes even more bizarre when civilians are the target and the purpose is merely to terrorize.
Iʼm also struggling with something more personal, and possibly related, though itʼs connection may be difficult to see at first.
When I picked up my son from his after-school program on Monday, after ripping myself away from the bombing information on Twitter and the news sites, a little boy in the same room as my son started singing, “his mom is white and his dad is black,” in reference to my child. He sang it with that schoolyard cadence used for jump-rope or picking dibs on the next swing.
And his little tune kicked me in the metaphorical gut.
Itʼs true: my sonʼs mom, that would be me, is white. And my sonʼs father, my husband, is black. What got me is that the first person, in all of my sonʼs 5 1/2 years, to feel the need to point out his racial background, was a 7-year-old.
I’ve spent years bracing myself for a nasty exchange with a close-minded octogenarian. I’ve worked out a plan, though it requires that the other person receive the same script, for the time when one of my peers comes at me with a snide comment.
It never occurred to me that my first exchange would be with a child and that there wouldn’t really be an effective, or appropriate, way to “handle” it.
As I’ve tried to process Captain Obviousʼ sing-song racial inventory, Iʼm realizing it will be virtually impossible to protect my son from people who want him to be responsible for his parentsʼ choice to marry and procreate.
The same is true of those poor people in Boston. I doubt anyone could have protected them from someone intent on making them the victims. I promise you that the story surrounding the bombing will involve forcing innocent people to take arbitrary responsibility for foreign policy, religious beliefs, political ideologies or something equally as unfair.
Please donʼt think for a second that I am equating a childʼs taunt with a deadly terror attack. That would be as absurd as the bombing itself. I think Iʼm merely trying to process that there is no true way to prevent people from bringing the innocent along on their warped world tour of misunderstanding, hatred and violence.
We canʼt stop going places, we canʼt stop interacting with others and we canʼt stop making an effort to learn more, do more and be as heroic in our responses as those we saw in Boston.