Summer is in full swing here in NC. With temperatures in the high 90’s the past few days, we have been trying to beat the heat. On a particularly hot day I took Buggy to the local splash pad with some friends and we had a total blast! She ran around through different sprinklers and arches that sprayed water every which way. We held hands and ran through the water, squirted our friends with a water gun type of sprayer, and took several snack and water breaks.
While Buggy was playing with her friend, a little 8 year old boy came up to us and started playing with her. He was nice, and kept trying to make Buggy laugh by tickling her. They played together for about 10 minutes before another little girl came over to play too. She had Buggy’s skin tone and curly hair, and I guess you could say they looked similar at first glance. I had been letting Buggy play around mostly by herself while I chatted with my friend a few feet away, but I was within earshot when the boy asked if Buggy was this girls sister. The girl just said “no” and walked away. Later, the boy asked if I was Buggy’s mom, and all I said was “yes”. I didn’t feel like explaining anything to him, and all he really wanted to do was run around with her anyway, which was fine by me! As long as Buggy was happy, I was happy!
It did make me wonder how much Buggy and her brother will look alike, though. Will people at the splash pad be able to tell they are siblings next summer, or will that be something we get questions about too? I think I look like my siblings, and we have many of the same mannerisms too. I can’t wait to find out what Buggy’s brother will look like, and what his personality will be! 9 more weeks (give or take) and I will get to find out!!
I recently had a special lunch date with some boys at my school who had good behaviors for a week. While we were eating they decided everyone should get a nickname. We all agreed that adding a -y to someone’s name sounded cool, and someone else is a junior, so he got his initials. A third boy wanted to go by his middle name. Then they asked what my nickname should be. We all sat thinking for a while, and then one boy shouted “I know! Justin Bieber!” We all looked at him with strange and twisted questioning faces and he went on to explain that “You’re the only white person in the room, and you kinda look like Justin Bieber, too”
The conversation continued with each boy telling what race he was. Two said they were African-American, and one said “I’m Indian”. One of the African-American boys told him he couldn’t be Indian because Indians don’t wear clothes and they all have feathers in their hair. I attempted to explain to them that a long long time ago nobody wore clothing, including white and black people, and that now everyone, even Indians, does wear clothing. The little boy insisted that because he saw it in a book once it was true and his friend was not Indian. Lunch hour ended before we could really have a conversation about race and history and stereotypes, but ever since that day I’ve been thinking about how history portrays different races, and how learning history through old text books influences our thoughts on race.
Kids often generalize things, so if they are only ever exposed to photos of naked Indians wearing feathers in their hair they will generalize that to mean that ALL Indians wear no clothing and have a feather. We need to teach them that not everyone from the same race is the same, and that over time people and even whole cultures can change.
Do I look like Justin Bieber, or what??
In August of 2014 a man named Michael Brown was shot and killed by police in Ferguson, MO. For the weeks that followed, Ferguson was the center of a hot debate over racial profiling by police and police tactics when dealing with unarmed individuals. Nightly news reports showed looting, vandalism, and both peaceful and violent protests. Fast forward to April of 2015 when Freddie Gray died while in police custody and Baltimore, MD becomes a city of unrest, with protests turning violent. Images of the burning of a CVS and looting of businesses was shown over and over on all major news stations for weeks.
I purposely choose not to write about either situation because I believe that our media is glorifying these situations, which is causing more problems then otherwise might exist. I strongly believe that the answer to a wrongful death (no matter what the circumstances) is not violent protests, looting, or setting fire to neighborhoods. How does doing any of those things (which happened after both of the above mentioned situations) help solve the problem of police brutality and racial profiling? It actually hurts the city and law abiding citizens who have worked hard to build themselves up. And to top it off, the media now has images of Black people looting, setting fire, and violently attacking police – the exact image those same people are trying to avoid.
I totally understand people being upset when a minority race citizen is brutalized by the police. I get that it is upsetting that Black (and Hispanic) men in particular are over represented in prisons and (often wrongly) profiled as criminals based on their looks. What I don’t get is how is being violent when you are upset is going to stop these things from happening? How is hurting your neighbors going to help reduce racial profiling by police? How is it going to improve the image of a race of people struggling to prove themselves as trustworthy to police? The answer is simple – it’s not. None of the things done after either of these deaths is going to improve anything. In fact, things may have gotten worse because the media repeatedly shows the image of a CVS burning and people running amuck setting cars on fire, which is not going to improve relations between police and Blacks. It only reinforces the stereotype that Black people are violent.
I don’t have any solution for these types of situations, and I don’t know that peaceful protests get a whole lot done either. But I do know that glorifying tragedies usually leads to more tragedies. I truly hope that by the time Buggy is an adult we don’t have these types of situations and that she feels safe and protected in the presence of law enforcement. I don’t want her to grow up in fear of the police because a bunch of idiots couldn’t stop rioting in response to a tragedy and perpetuated the stereotype that Blacks are violent.
I have been subjected to many random and sometimes rude or awkward comments about my body throughout both of my pregnancies. Below is a compilation of the things people have said to me recently.
Old Man: You got two in the hanger?
8 year old: Is you belly going to hatch like the baby chicks in our class?
5 year old: I’m just gonna see is it’s a boy or a girl (opens his eye really wide with his fingers and puts his eye ball on my belly) It’s a …. BOY!!
10 year old: Is there a basketball under your shirt?
Acquaintance: You look like you’ve only got a few weeks left (I was 21 weeks at the time)
Adult female: Wow, you look huge!
Co-worker: Are you expecting? (I respond yes… ) Because I couldn’t tell if you were or you were just getting fatter.
Two kids: You’re having a baby?! What does he eat in there?
Man at the store: Eating for two? (Keep in mind Buggy and her daddy were with me)
Co-worker: You’re getting bigger every day. I can say that because we’re friends.
When I was pregnant with Buggy I was more sensitive to people’s comments about my body, but now I usually laugh it off. Most of the above comments I’ve found quite amusing. One of my friends suggested the next time someone asks me if I am having twins that I say “Yes, and they would like money for their college fund please”. I’m not sure I will say that but it did make me smile and feel better about my growing tummy. Speaking of which, a kid recently asked why my tummy was growing and I told her it was because I ate a huge lunch!
What’s the wackiest thing someone said to you while you were pregnant?