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Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Not as long as I'm your Mamma!

There is a certain challenge to raising a bi-racial child in any community.  Our little acres in the Cornfield are pretty much no exception to that.  There is no denying, though, that my 6yr old has been raised around more white folks than black folks, simply because his "father" and his family made a choice not to be part of Elijah's life pretty much from jump.  He has one aunt and a great-grandfather on that side who see him when they feel like it.  But I'm not trynna get into the whole absentee daddy debate with this post.  What I'm talkin' bout today is foolishness, grills, buffoonery and stereotypes and how the heck you explain that to a kid.  Especially to one whose exposure to positive role models from half of his cultural heritage is lacking.  This is my fault, and I know it, and I promise, I'm working on changing that.  But back to the matter at hand....

It all starts with the gumball machines at the doggone China Buffet.  There is boollsheet and junk of every description in those machines.  Temporary tattoos, miniature animals, bouncy balls, stickers, even some gum (yeah, I kno, right!). But the one that is perpetually the bane of my existence is the machine with all the cheap, cheezy, plastic "bling!"  My optimal solution would just be don't give the child any change for the machines.  Which would work except for one thing:  Mai Zhi.  She's the hostess/co-owner of the place.  She loves my kid.  She fixes his plate, sits by him in the booth and gives him all the attention the lil playa could want... and the worst part is... she lets him take quarters out of the register for the dang machines! I've tried to talk to her about this, but there's a definite language barrier exacerbated by her apparent ultra-sensitive vulnerability to the boy's puppy eyes.  *He makes cute puppy eyes, but I been and got immune to those jawns!*   So, the chick continues to make it rain on my boy...  

Well, one day, outta the dreaded "bling" machine, drops a fake "platinum" grill.  Uh-oh.  He's seen just enough of Lil Jon, Plies and Weezy to associate metal teeth with the beats he likes so much.  I won't front, if I don't have to listen to what Lil Jon is yellin' about or look at him, the music is arrite.  But the point is, I don't want my son equating grills, pimp cups, bedazzled shades and buffoonery with the epitome of cool.  I'm just not havin' it!  My child will not look like a middle ground between T-Pain and Paul Wall!  He will not be the place where Bubba Sparxx meets Plies! NO! I say, NO!  

So I start thinking, I'mma try explaining to the child why that ish just isn't the hotness.... But he counters with the whole, "I thought you liked hip hop, Mamma," thing.  Which leads to the need to give a crash course on hip hop vs hype.  Fail.  So then I start trying to explain stereotypes. FailFail.  And he must be just tooooooo sheltered, because he seemed genuinely amazed at the whole concept of racism.  FailFailFail.  

I Tweeted about my dilemma and @internalquest lol'd me and told me to let it go, coz the boy just won't get it.  I won't be able to circumvent the Master Teacher, Professor Experience.  I was gettn nowhere, dropping it was my last viable option.  So that's what I did.... for now.  But I also threw the damn "grill" in the trash. 

And like I told @internalquest, if the child comes up in my house one of these days lookin like a miniature, light skinned YingYang Twin, I'm fittna revoke his birth certificate!

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Blogger (fŭng'kē) [blak] [chik] said...

I had a similiar incident when my son was younger..same damn machine..same damn mess in it...and basically explained to him that a lot of what he sees on tv needs to stay on tv..including the 'bling', language..etc..etc..

May 26, 2009 at 6:41 PM  
Blogger NaturallyAlise said...

My little brother is so smart, he is 13 and has always realized that the stuff on TV is "entertainment", plus I also snmeak in the kinds of hip-hop i like and he has picked up on it, he is smart enough to reconcile it (and judging from you, I am sure your son is just as smart)

May 26, 2009 at 7:12 PM  
Blogger Luvvie said...

Gurl! Dont let the power of the EEEEEH Twins get lil Eli! They aint nuthin but the Devil in locs and grills!

June 2, 2009 at 1:00 PM  

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