What Mama Learned Last Week: On Being Called the Nword For the First Time

Motherhood is full of lessons and sometimes, I’m open to learning them. Here’s what I picked up last week in this week’s edition of  What Mama Learned.

I don’t have a clever heading this week. I considered a few…

“I’m Black.”

“The 60s Weren’t That Long Ago.”

“I Live in the Deep South.”

“Racism is Real.”

“White People Are Still Using the Nword.”

…but somehow, I just couldn’t be witty about the subject.

When I write these posts, I use those headings to tell you what I’ve learned. But I didn’t learn any of those things last week. What I learned was that I have no words to describe how I felt after hearing a white person hurl that word in my direction for the first time. That’s a bit difficult to encapsulate in a heading, so I’ve opted to dive right in.

And, while I was reluctant to use this space to chronicle that poor girl’s foolishness, I couldn’t think of a better way to calm myself down. My fingers are literally burning with rage as I write this. How in the world is this still happening? Why didn’t I hop out of the car and give her that proverbial piece of my mind?

Yet I know why it’s happening and she didn’t deserve a piece of my mind. She deserves just what she got–me ignoring her. She deserves her myopia, she deserves the life she has, she deserves whatever becomes of people who reduce others to a racial slur. She doesn’t deserve my attention and this doesn’t deserve my rage.

So, this post isn’t about her.

It’s about me being reminded that I am living in a place I don’t want to live and I have got to be intentional about moving.

It’s about being thankful that I’ve lived 41 years and never had someone say that to my face. It’s about recalling how many people endured that kind of shaming daily so that I can enjoy the privileges I have now.

It’s about my son who was sitting in the back seat with a front row seat to my response. It’s about him knowing people like that still exist, but they have no control over us (or our reactions to their stupidity).

For the record, when I think of white people or the south, she is NOT what comes to mind. Her response (over a parking space!) does not change how I see the world one bit. If it did, she (and people like her) would win and we can’t let them win.

We also can’t give them our energy, so now that it’s off my chest, I’m done. More next week when we’re back to our regularly scheduled fun. Until then, let’s chat a bit in the comments or hang out for a while on Facebook and Twitter. Happy Sunday in spite of this subject matter! I’ll leave you with this thought:

Nelson Mandela Hate Quote

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