Yes, I have skipped a few blog posts.
Back on the wagon now.
So…what did I learn yesterday?
Yesterday. I was in the kitchen preparing dinner. My 11 year-old came home from playing with a couple of friends of his. He started complaining about a couple of kids who showed up while they were hanging out. Kids he doesn’t really like, kids who bug him. He mentioned that one kid started telling racist jokes. And that some of the jokes were about Jews.
And then he told me the jokes. Both of which were of the concentration-camp variety.
I did my best to contain my anger, but I know some of it probably leaked out. Maybe that was actually a good thing. My kids need to see that racism and anti-Semitism are real, and terrible.
I almost called that mom right away, but I’m glad I’ve held off. For starters, it turns out my boy had joined in on some of the jokes to a lesser degree. I also don’t know that mom. At all. I wasn’t quite sure how to approach the whole thing.
I’ve been going over what happened yesterday in my mind like a stone I hold in my palm. I keep turning it over, looking at it from different sides. Watching as one point of view gets polished, and then another.
Was that kid a racist, or an Jew hater? Could be. Could also be he’s heard that joke from some other kid. Or from some dumb online source. Could be – praying not – that he heard it at home. I keep turning the possibilities over in my palm and can’t really come up with an answer to that one. I have a feeling I won’t get one, and I think I’m okay with that.
Do I need to call the kid’s mom? Still polishing up this one. I am not always going to be there to run in when someone hurts my child. My boy has learned what he needs to learn from this lesson. I lean towards it, then away. Towards it, then away. Most likely, I will call when I have found the words. Words which say we had some tough conversations in our house. That I would want to know if it were my kid.
I need to let it go, and pray that there will be some tough conversations in their house, too.
As for me and my boy?
- We learned that it really IS hurtful when people tell jokes about you or your culture.
- We learned that even if you live in a place where there are lots of Jews, there’s no guarantee you’re free from hatred of Jews.
- We learned that a good response to rude or racist jokes is, “Dude. That’s not funny.”
- We learned that if people are telling jokes about you, and you laugh, or tell one of your own, you’re telling people those jokes are both funny and okay to tell.
Chalk it up to a lesson learned the hard way.