Drawing a Line

One of the kids who comes to potluck has a very frustrating habit.  It seems he’s obsessed with race.  He will constantly say things are “because I’m black” or “because I’m white”, or make similar comments or supposed racial expectations about others.  It’s very rarely funny, and neither comfortable or appropriate in a church that takes racial issues pretty seriously.  He’s a kid who needs a lot of attention, and tries to get it just by making a lot of pointless noise.  It’s been addressed with him before, but it’s yet to make a huge impact.

I finally got sick of it today.  He was riding his bike as I was heading into my building, and called to me from across the street.  “Hey penis, I mean Peter!”  Right, because I didn’t hear that 20 million times in elementary school.  That’s no longer just annoying – that’s just being rude.  I confronted him about that, and all the black and white crap he jokes about.  Made a very special point to emphasize that we like having him around, but he’s above all that stuff.  He seemed to just blow it off, and then pretended to make a big deal about some of the words I used, especially when I repeated his own racist statements back to him.  It didn’t seem to make any difference, so I gave up and went inside.

When I talked to him a few times later, though, he did seem to be more careful about what he said around me. Hmm.  We’ll see if it lasts…

Regardless, it’s time to stop holding his hand on this, because he really does have the power to rise above it.  Definitely time to start nipping it in the bud.  Of course, I wouldn’t mind having time to dig into what’s behind that shield he’s made for himself, either…

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~ by Peter on August 24, 2008.

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