We spent the weekend out of town with my in-laws. It was fine, for the most part. I had a horrific headache on the way out to see them [the husband said he noticed that I have a horrific headache anytime we go to see them, but I think it's just coincidence and nothing should be read into this], and I hate being in the car for a long time and I really hate having to use rest stop bathrooms [which I always have to do, because I have to pee ALL THE TIME], but we got there without incident and it was going pretty well. Also, I've developed a nice banter and have appointed myself official photographer, so I can easily escape by saying, "Oh, I'm sorry, I want to make sure I get a photo of So and So before they leave. I'll be back in a few minutes." Nice, right?
The husband, the girl and I were sitting at a table when one of our nieces joined us. She's 8, and has stayed with us for visits before. I like when she and her sister come, because ***SMUG PARENTING ALERT*** I feel like I can give them opportunities and experiences they don't necessarily get with their own parents [Stuff like going to the library instead of going to see the latest Twilight movie. Yeah. At age 7. What the fuck?].
So we were chatting with Niece and she proceeded to tell us about what was going on in her life and she said she had a boyfriend, and also a boy who liked her. And then she said that either boy was o.k., but she was not allowed to go out with a black boy. Or a brown boy.
And then my heart dropped and my head exploded and I couldn't think of a coherent thing to say beyond, "I don't think that's the right way to think about things," to which she replied, "My mom said I cannot date a black or brown boy," and I said, "That's not right," and then shut up because I was going to start saying some really, really nasty shit about this kid's parents.
It makes me sick that she's been told this at all - and why now? She's 8, for fuck's sake. In addition to the horrifying racism, what kind of person discusses dating options with an 8 year old? I cannot get beyond how a person can tell another human being not to be with someone because of the color of their skin. I know it goes on, but I had hoped that it was dying out, that my parents' generation would be the last that espoused this type of garbage.
Which made me want to punch the parents. and, sadly, the girl, even though I know she's just parroting what she's been told.
You know what? Not a smug parent, a better parent, hands down. And I sit here, trying to figure out how to change this child's mind. What can I do when I see her so seldom? How do I counteract this type of hate?
I really don't know.