Nigger..yep, I had to say it. And explain it

7 Feb

A few years ago a child drew my oldest, M, a picture and gave it to him.  The picture depicted three people.  Two were police officers, and one was the illustrator of the picture.  The illustrator had killed one police officer, and was being chased by the other, with the caption “die, nigger, die”.

Ever heard of the rapper “Lil’ Boosie”?  Because this first grader listened to his music, and this was a depiction of some of his lyrics.  Let’s not get into his parents’ decision making skills.

Luckily for me, M didn’t know how to read yet.  PHEW!!!  He pronounced the word as “Nye-Jer”  and I explained to him that Niger is a river in Africa and that kid’s picture, although ugly, didn’t make sense.  You obviously cannot kill a river.

 

i have escaped that word until today, when a fellow student of his was referring to one of our loved ones by this name.  Although M didn’t know the meaning, he realized the kid was being ugly, and got into an altercation with him.  (Yep, on the bus…..and Yep, unmoderated by the bus driver)

I had no clue about this until we were on our way home from the grocery store and he asked me point blank.  “Mom, what’s a N.E.G.A.”

I assumed what he was talking about, but told him he wasn’t spelling an actual word, and asked if he could use it in a sentence….one time pass to say the curse word if that’s what it is.

So I pulled over and explained to him what Nigger means.  I explained the details of slavery, which he had no clue about.  (which is strange b/c you think growing up in LA, you’d have heard about it in school by 2nd grade).  I explained a little about the progression of the word and how it’s used in hateful ways.  And we went into a few more details about it.

M was horrified, and almost cried.  He told me that the kid is ignorant, because the person he’s making fun of isn’t even black, so “show’s how much he knows, no wonder he didn’t make it to second grade”.  I’m pretty sure that’s a parenting win on my part.

I suppose you can’t shelter your kids from hate forever.  BUT….I feel we crossed this bridge too soon, and am very thankful for the maturity level of my son.  He handled it….

Now for me to handle the mom.

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