Tonight, I drove through the winding streets of suburbia toward Toys R Us for our annual shopping trip that rewards our boys for excellent “effort” grades. As I slowed down at a red light, something to the right caught my eye. I gasped, and I felt sick.
I live in California, and sometimes I think that all the questions of racism are a little more theoretical, a little more removed. But then I take my babies to Toys R Us, and it flies in our faces. It’s here, Sarah. Don’t get comfy.
“Mom, what’s that flag for?” my little son who never misses a thing I do, who notes every shifting expression on my face.
“Well, baby,” I began. And yes, I told him the truth. He listened quietly, and then…
“How would you feel, if you were black, and you saw that flag flying high on a pickup truck?” I asked another question.
“Mom, I’d be scared. And really sad.”
“Do you want to know how I feel, as a white woman?”
“I feel angry. I feel angry that someone thinks it’s okay to make people feel scared and sad.”
“Me too. I feel angry.”
And you know, in that moment in my dusty minivan, I felt a breeze of empowerment. I told my small son the truth, and he told it back to me. He listened and I listened. And now he knows. He knows that it’s okay to look at something and not just roll your eyes or keep your distance, to be polite. It’s more than okay to call it what it is, to talk about it.
I have to admit, I don’t always feel powerful as a mother, though I know that I absolutely am.
But tonight, I did.
You can link up with the #WholeMama movement over at my lovely friend, Esther’s blog. I hope you do. Our word this week is Power.