Old times there are not forgotten
Posted on September 18th, 2012
I’ve been volunteering for park day at Pea’s school. This means walking with the kids to the park, hanging out for about an hour, and walking back.
Today I witnessed four boys picking on another boy.
It started with the four boys holding a see-saw down so the other boy couldn’t get down. He said he was scared. I told them to knock it off. (They did.)
A few minutes later, I noticed they were calling him trash. As in chanting, “You’re trash. You’re trash. You’re trash.” Repeatedly.
Suppressing my natural inclination to go and kick their little asses (I really don’t like other people’s children much) I said, “Knock it off. It’s not nice to call a person trash. Ever. We don’t do it.”
The ringleader went off and crouched behind a table. (Shame? Frustration at being caught? I would wager the latter but hope for the former.) I explained it to the teachers. Two other boys wandered off and the last bully went on to play nicely with the other boy.
I suppose it was an OK resolution. But it just didn’t sit well.
Maybe it’s because the four boys were white and the bullied child was black. Or that one of the bullies was wearing a Confederate soldier’s cap.
[I'm kind of embarrassed that the hat barely registered until much later, except as an identifier ("the kid in the gray hat"). When I saw first saw that kid, I assumed the family was into reenactment, which I file under weird but harmless. I thought it was odd the school would be OK with a child wearing a Confederate soldier's hat to school when dinosaur t-shirts are too violent and against school policy, but...whatever.]
It was only hours later that I thought, WTF? What five and six year olds call each other trash? Was it coincidence these four kids found the only African American kid in two kindergartens to pick on? Was it coincidence one of the kids was Johnny Reb?
Hell if I know. All I can say is this pretty much guaranteed I’ll be volunteering for park day every damned week now.
And woe to the boy who turns on my child.