I have been wanting to post this since yesterday, but wasn't sure if I could find the words. It is still making me uncomfortable, sad, and yes, angry.
As I was getting the kids off the bus yesterday, the busdriver asked to have a word with me. It seems that the parents of two little first graders on the bus had "come home in tears" because Pipo had been "saying things to them, and said he would send them to the principal." I told the busdriver I would speak to him, but that I was very surprised, as it was very out of character for him. She agreed, and said that is why she wanted to talk to me before she responded to these parents. I said to her that sadly, I know that sometimes people may see the color of his skin and assume he is the 'bad' kid. I wasn't sure how she would respond to that, but she immediately agreed, and said that was what she was afraid of, so she wanted to give me the heads up. I love this busdriver, and am so thankful she knows our family, but more importantly knows Pipo and knows he is a good kid. And she was just as angry as I was about the possibility of parents seeing him as "that black kid".
So I spoke with Pipo and wasn't surprised at all to hear him tell me (with EJ backing him up) that the two little girls were laughing at him so he told them if they didn't stop he would tell the principal. I told him I was proud of him, and that that is exactly what he should have done, and that he can also tell the busdriver next time. I also had a longer conversation with both he and EJ about how sometimes people will say mean things or laugh at people just because they look or sound different, and that that is WRONG and they should always stand up to it.
I know this is only the beginning...I know we will have many more discussions that will be a little more detailed. I know my son is only beginning to understand what racism is all about. But it breaks my heart that this beautiful little boy has to learn it now. I wish I could protect him forever, but I know that's not the way. I need to teach him to be proud of who he is, and to be strong. And somehow I need to teach him to educate through the anger. And somehow I need to teach myself to educate through the anger. But it's hard...it's just so damned hard.