how do you teach a thing like THIS?
Los Angeles, CA
2 children - 1 boy (12), 1 girl (6)
“Mom,” my son says in the kind of tone that lets me know what he is about to say is troubling, “Oren always says nigga.”
And then I unload.
“Why would he feel like he can say that around you?!!”
“There is no way he is saying that if you are not!!”
“Do you think I know any Jewish people who would think it was okay to say that word around me???!!”
“Do you know that he is hurling offense at you, your family and every other black person you know when he says that??!!”
I went on this way until I could not untangle all the things my head and fighting heart wanted me to say.
You see, Oren is my son’s energetic if academically oblivious Jewish friend. I have my issues with him for this and other reasons but since they have a similar hobby in skateboarding and my son’s grades don’t reflect Oren’s work habits, I let it slide. But no more.
How do you teach a young black boy that you do not compromise on an issue like this? That as an emerging black man in America, there is no room to acquiesce to the ignorant tide of individuals, media and even other black folk who think that word has simply become part of the American lexicon like “homey”, “dude” and “man”. And that never is he to conform to such ignorance in order to save a friendship. Never.
I assured him that there was is no way Oren would continue to be his friend if he tossed derogatory names for Jews up and down their jr. high school hallways.
He tells me Oren says these things because he watches David Chapelle. I tell him I could give a damn why he says it.
But I will not tolerate it or teach my son that it is acceptable for him to tolerate it.