I was not paying too much attention, since they both swim well and instead was concentrating on Olivia's new boo-boo on her chin that had happened about 15 minutes prior. Yes, Olivia's chin seems to get bumped and bruised each and every week, but that is another story.
The next thing I know I see Ava's friend hopping out of the pool yelling at me. "Those 2 boys (she pointed them out) were mean to Ava," while retrieving their raft. Apparently, the mystery was solved, now we knew who the raft actually belonged to. They called her a Chinese (insert racial slur) while pulling it back from the girls. Ava pulled herself out of the pool and started crying, "Those 2 mean boys took our raft and called me a Chinese (insert racial slur)." I was stunned, although probably not justifiably so. Maybe it is because Ava is now 8 1/2 and more independent, attends school by herself, and goes to play dates by herself but I just don't hear too many racially slanderous comments tossed our way. I calmed Ava down explaining that what they said was very mean and completely wrong. Ava's normally tenderhearted and docile friend was hoppin' mad and wanted to kick their little butts. Her mother 86'd that idea quickly...espousing retaliation probably wouldn't end well. I told the girls they were to avoid those boys.
Which they did.
And now it is several days later and I think I might have made a mistake. Yes, I validated her feelings and did not make too big of a public spectacle since it was not OUR pool, we didn't know the boys or the parents. Although, it certainly would not have been too hard for me to physically track down those boys and confront them about their use of racially offensive language. I suppose I could have even asked where their parent(s) was sitting and perhaps notified them.
Here Is My Question To You
and chance to play armchair quarterback.....
When you don't confront children who use racial profanity are you in essence condoning it?
If you do what I did and console your child but choose not to risk a public drama are you showing your child how to "turn the other cheek" modeling composure? (Which admittedly at the time, I thought I was doing.)
Are you teaching your own children of a different race not to make waves, shake it off, words don't hurt...when perhaps we all know that they can and do hurt.
Would it have been out of line as a guest at a pool club to track down the offending children and ask for an apology as a teachable moment on the ills of racial slurs?
If you are parenting a child of a different race, what do you do in these situations?
Perhaps I should have asked Ava if she would have liked me to track the boys down for a talk. Maybe that would have given her more power. At the very least I suppose I owe her an explanation that this is bothering me and ask now that she has calmed down, if I handled it the way she would have preferred.
Ugh, parenting with the full metal jacket...it isn't for weaklings. But then again, being raised by racial majority folks in their own sandbox, without lots of good experience, well that isn't for weaklings either now is it?