The Lesson to Learn

January 30, 2010

I probably get a racial slur thrown at me about once a year. Twice if I hang out in really ignorant parts of town. My first ‘racist’ experience in Arizona was right outside of Freestone gym. I just finished ‘working out’ (sitting on an exercise bike, watching tv.) I was walking out to my car when two high school aged boys started ‘Ching Chong-ing’ it up. I was livid and speechless. I really just wanted to get into my car and run them over. Seriously. Not Christianly, but that’s how I felt. Fortunately I was dumbfounded for so long that the boys were able to peddle away on their bicycles. Racist slurs really get me fired up. So fired up I usually say nothing, occassionally cry, then think for HOURS what I could have and should have said and done.

Today I was up in Scottsdale, playing with the kids in the playground, while Chris and James played flag football. A beautiful day to be out! There were tons of people all over the place. I was having a fine time with my babes, when all of a sudden two girls, about 13 years old I would say, started singing a song: “ching ching chong chong…” Really?!?!? This is the same ‘song’ I have heard sung all my life! It was my theme song when I would go play in the playground at school. Over 20 years ago! C’mon people! We can’t come up with something better than that???

Anyhoo, my blood started to boil, but I calmly looked at these two girls and said: “Hey, you guys wouldn’t happen to be singing that song cause you think I’m Chinese, would you?” I don’t have a problem with CHinese people. So this is not a statement against them. If I were Chinese, I would be proud to be Chinese. And I would probably be a part of voting Yao Ming into the All Star game’s starting line up every year. (except for this year!… is it cause he’s injured? I’ve not been up on my NBA news this year.) Anyhoo, the girls looked at me in surprise and said: “Uh no. It’s a song on YouTube.” Clever, and yet still so ignorant…

I don’t want my kids to be the victims of racism. No one should be. Race is not something you can choose. Just like you can’t choose the parents who genetically created you. Or how you can’t choose skipping dessert even though you are full. It’s impossible! If someone sings terribly, but thinks they’re amazing- sure, laugh at them. That’s what American Idol is for, right? If my kids have a stupid looking hair cut that I gave them- sure! Yuk it up! It’ll give them thicker skin. But don’t make fun of someone because of the color of their skin. There’s just no point. They can’t change that!

Chris tells me I should not let this kind of thing bother me. Easier said than done my love. I have to say this incident has bothered me less than other times- but I think it’s cause I said something. I know you can’t cure stupid. My comment may not have enlightened these young girls at all. My running those two high school boys over with my Jeep 4 years ago probably wouldn’t have taught them the lesson they needed to learn. But what is the lesson that needs to be learned?
-If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all?
-Don’t judge people by the color of their skin?
-Don’t assume every Asian person is Chinese, even though there are about 1.3 billion of them in the world, and about 3.5 million of them living in North America?

What do you think the lesson should be? What would you, or do you say to people if you have ever been racially slurred at? I am very interested in knowing what you think the ‘proper’ response would be. I am working on proper responses every day, so this would help me out a ton. Thanks.

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