Tuesday, November 16, 2010

No Get Out Of Jail Card For Racism

Yesterday I wrote once again about the ongoing racism that my child has had to deal with.  As promised, I contacted the principal.  It seems that not only did the teacher not care enough to address the issue to the satisfaction of Destruction, she also did not inform the principal.  I have a meeting with the principal and the teacher in question on Thursday.  I thought that this would be the end of it, until fifteen minutes after speaking with the principal, I received a phone call from the teacher in question.  For the purposes of clarity, I am simply going to call her Madame, until such time as it becomes necessary to reveal her identity.

Madam informed me that she believed that the matter was settled.  When I asserted that Destruction, my child, felt that she did not deal with the situation with any concern, she told me that his feelings were wrong.  This would be mistake number one.  A privileged person does not get to tell a marginalized person that how they feel about a racist incident is wrong, furthermore; the insulted party is the one to decide when an incident is over.  Rather than acknowledging a failure to do her job and protect my child, Madame seemed far more interested in back peddling.  She told me repeatedly that I simply had to understand her point of view, as if she suddenly should become my main concern.  I had to inform Madam that the only person that mattered to me was my child.  After I once again asserted pending legal action, Madam quickly ended the phone call.  You see, throughout the conversation I made a point of repeatedly using the phrase poisoned learning environment, because I know that is a trigger phrase.

I believed that the incident would be laid to rest until we spoke again on Thursday, however Madame once again overstepped her boundaries. She pulled my child into the hallway to interrogate him.  It seems that she was "hurting inside" and understood his pain because she has Black family members.  She wanted Destruction to know that she was on his side.  It seems to me that she only became concerned about his feelings and his pain, after I made it clear that there would be consequences for her inaction.  As well versed as Destruction is in social justice, he is only nine and has not had the experience of White people using their friends and family members to excuse their racist actions.  Using your family or friends to excuse your racist actions is a sign of unacknowledged White privilege.  People are not tools that you can use at your convenience.  This is not an argument that Madame could have made with me successfully and I believe that she knows that and this is why she approached my child.


This is far from over and I will continue to fight and speak out until the school follows its supposed zero tolerance policy. Last night while I was writing my letter to the school board, Destruction looked over my shoulder and was surprised to see how the work that I was doing in his defense.  He leaned in and kissed me and said mommy I love you.  The day my kids were born, I promised that I would be there for them all of the days of my life and that is a promise I intend to keep. I have done a lot of thinking about bullying the last few days.  I keep thinking of the worst case scenarios - the children who have killed themselves because no one thought that their safety was a priority. I thought about the parents who have fought this battle only to lose because the education system refused to protect their children.  Today, Destruction knows without doubt that he is loved and supported, but I cannot help but wonder if this is enough.  I find myself watching him intently silently whispering a prayer for his safety and well being. This is what happens when your child is a target of racism. 

I will continue to update you on what happens as I continue my fight to ensure a safe environment for my children.  I wish that I had the privilege of taking it for granted that everything was going to be fine.  I wish that this was a battle I did not have to fight.  I wish that my little boy did not have to deal with something so ugly at such a tender age --  but then, wishes are what marginalized people have.  I know most assuredly that my little boy is having the last bit of his innocence ripped untimely from him and nothing I can do now will stop this.  I talk a lot about power and agency, but right now I would do anything to be able to protect the child I love so much, from those that refuse to see what harm they are doing to him.