Two weeks ago, we welcomed your first au pair to the United States to come help take care of you while Mommy and Daddy work. She is well educated, kind and warm hearted.
Unfortunately, she spent only 24 hours here in the “Land of the Free” before someone used this freedom to call her a “chink.” The conversation that followed was heartbreaking. She didn’t know what the word meant, but knew that it was bad. I had to call your father over to help me with the conversation, because I was overwhelmed emotionally… and very unprepared. It hurt my heart to have to explain to this sweet young girl what that word meant and try to explain why someone would want to use such a hurtful word to a complete stranger.
As the conversation went on, however, my heart sank even more…because I realized…I would have to have this conversation again…with you.
I don’t know how old you will be. I don’t know who will say this to you. I don’t know where or how it will happen. But, despite my prayers to the contrary, I know it will happen. And, here is what I will say to your likely tear-stained face and broken heart.
Mommies, daddies, and families come in all shapes and sizes. No two families are the same, and that is what is so cool about meeting people and making new friends. But, you know how you get scared by the lightening and thunder outside? Well, some people get scared by people that look or speak differently than themselves. And sometimes when people get scared, they use hurtful words and do mean things instead of just saying, “I’m scared.” The word that was used today is a hateful, hurtful and disrespectful word. It was used by a person who unfortunately doesn’t understand that the differences in people should be enjoyed and celebrated, not feared and disrespected.
We are never able to control other people, but we are always in control of what we say, what we do, and how we react to bad things that happen. Regardless of what is said to you, or done to you, stay confident in who you are. You are a clever, funny, and joyful child who happens to be the son of a Caucasian mother and African-American father who love each other immensely.
Don’t ever lower yourself to use hateful or disrespectful words in response. Yes, there is freedom of speech in America, but there are intelligent ways to use this freedom that is denied to so many people, and there are unintelligent ways. Don’t be unintelligent. Don’t feed the fire, and move on. Only YOU can decide how you let people make you feel, and don’t give unintelligent people the power to make you feel anything but smart by comparison.
I’m so sorry that this happened to you, son. I wish I could say that this will never happen again, but I can’t promise you that. What I can promise you is that even though you are feared by a few, you are loved by many.
With all my heart,