Today I was reminded of how much words can hurt. Especially when you are a young teen trying to find your place in the world. Our daughter “K” is in high school – she was reading aloud in class and stumbled over some words(it was Macbeth- hello – I couldn’t even understand the Cliff notes back in the day). A peer said to her right in front of many of the kids in the class..”you can’t even read, you should go back to your own country.” She was so upset she texted me about it. This got mama and papa upset.
One of my hot buttons is racism. I know this was an immature kid saying a stupid thing but if it’s not racist to some – then at the least it is quite mean. This is not the first time K has had comments made to her. She is Asian and we live in rural America and our schools are not very diverse and sadly she has run into nasty people before. Today it stung a bit more because it was said in front of her class – she was embarrassed and according to her the teacher just said to the kid “that wasn’t nice”- really thats all you got? I don’t want a huge deal made out of it but how about speaking to the kid after class – asking him to apologize? It is funny that the kids will get long lectures about bullying and racism in school yet teachers turn the other way if they see it happen- well some teachers anyway.
Do we (as in the country)really still have to deal with this stuff? Can’t we get past the the hate? Would this kids parents be okay that this comment was made by their child? Or worse, did he get the idea this was okay to say from his family? I feel like we (the country/the world)should be so far past this but we aren’t and we see it everyday all over this country. There is just so much hate spewed daily – shouldn’t we do something about it if we see it in our homes, businesses and classrooms? It just boils my blood when my child is hurt by such unkind words.
Sadly, It won’t be the last time she hears these comments. I decided to give her some canned retorts to these bullies. She laughed at my suggestions–all were intended to emasculate the big mouths if said bully was a male. She won’t use them but it was fun thinking of them. Ok it is immature, but I know you moms reading this understand how the claws can come out when someone messes with our kids. Seriously- I have so many things I want to say to him- all those retorts I didn’t have when I was in high school.
I took the high road though. I didn’t hunt him down to let him verbally have it. I contacted the teacher and asked her to speak to the student about it. I was clear in my disappointment that she did not handle it right away. We will see what her response is.
My daughter and I spoke later about the incident and she said that this time it just got to her but she said that she usually deals with it and shrugs it off or uses her retort of “Oh – haha – you are saying that because I am Asian- now I get it….” but I can tell it stings. I was the fat kid – so I know about the words that hurt. I don’t want my daughter to feel less than because she is Asian, or a woman, or fat, or skinny. She is more than because of the her sweet soul and her care for others. She can do anything – or be anything if she sets her mind to it. I don’t want some stupid kid with a big mouth making her or anyone else feel badly about themselves.
I know she will be ok but my mama heart is hurt for her. I won’t stop hoping that kids (and adults) will stop this madness and realize we are all beautifully made and beautifully different and that should be celebrated. I will keep the nasty retorts in my head for now but you never know what a really mad mom might say if the circumstances are just so…it might not be my best moment but I would claim temporary insanity…
Thanks for reading…
Ps – I am quite happy to report that the teacher stepped up in a big way. The child apologized in writing and he had to do go tonthe office. She also spoke to the entire class about these types of comments. K has forgiven her peer. I hope she and her classmates learned something from this. I’m so glad the teacher effectively handled this and she reached out to me as well. I appreciated that.