Sunday, August 30, 2009

Dueling Banjos and Squealing Pigs

As evidenced by my last post, yesterday we went to the Aquarium of the Americas. Had a great time...but...

While waiting for the ferry to take us back to the West Bank, an adorable little girl approached me and showed me her new toy from the Aquarium, a stuffed otter. She was probably six years old. She showed me how she can make it move, and told me, "It doesn't like black people. It really, really likes white people." Thinking I must have heard wrong, I murmured "oh." and gave a weak smile (her mother was sitting about 3 feet away from me and her father was sitting about 3 feet in the opposite direction. She then proceeds to tell me "I don't like black people but I really like white people." Flabbergasted, I looked around, and again murmured, "oh." without the smile.

For about 20 minutes, this kid stuck to me like white on rice, talking and talking and talking. J was outside smoking, so he was completely oblivious to what was going on. Molly was fascinated with the kid and her otter, and I couldn't just get up and leave the kid mid-sentence while she was showing me all the tricks her otter could do. By this point I'm waiting for the Deliverance theme to start playing in the background....She mentioned randomly twice more that she didn't like black people and really liked white people.

I feel like I should have said something, but I don't know what I would have said..."Hey kid, I don't know how to say this but your parents are trucker-hat-wearing, I-married-my-neice and never-gratuated-the-third-grade racist idiots."? Maybe a quietly murmured "I like black people."? (I don't think shouting that statement may would have been the way to go either - awkward). I'm pretty sure strangling her parents was not an option.

I don't know how it is in the rest of the world, but race relations in New Orleans can sometimes be touchy, especially after Hurricane Katrina (on all sides). I just can't believe, or maybe I'm just naive and don't want to believe, that those kinds of prejudices are still around and being passed on. These people were young. I know racism is alive and well in some of the older folks (that does not make it right), but I've never met a child racist before, and it bothered/bothers me - she's too little to know better, and by the time she is it's going to take a lot of time and effort to negate those hateful opinions.

What should I have done? What would you have done?

6 comments:

Stalker v1.5 said...

You know my trouble starting ass would have asked her WHY she doesn't like black people.

I wonder how many other colors she has been taught to hate? Very sad indeed.

Cecile said...

I agree with you... how do you deal with that at that YOUNG of an age. I know where you are coming from... and being from the south sometimes is harder. But really, WTH are they teaching their kids. I think I would have been just as shocked as you... especially to hear that from such a young girl without shame.
I am in shocked... really...

I am just sorry that you had to witness that first hand!
But I am hoping that besides that.. you had a good weekend!

Patti said...

Stalker - I could totally see you calling her out!

Thanks Cecile - it was just an uncomfortable situation. I wish I could have made a difference, I just didn't know how. Other than that, yes, it was a great weekend!!

Louisiana Rose said...

I too would have had to ask "why." Of course if I heard an inappropriate answer then I'm not sure how far I would have carried it.

Louisiana Rose said...

Maybe the little girl had an "incident" in the Aquarium?

Patti said...

Haha - do you mean an "incident" like the time we got on the ferry and the cops were there because the kid called 911 because his dad wouldn't buy him a toy from the gift shop? haha - good times!