Recently, on CFRB1010am, host Jim Richards covered a topic about when children might have been racist – by accident or by innocence.
I would have loved to have called in and told my story, however, I was unable to, so when I arrived at the location of my next client meeting, I took a few minutes to send a tweet to his show, the Showgram, outlining my story.
My story was good.
So I figured I would re-tell it here, and here it is:
Back in the day, when my oldest was just a wee little boy – around 3 or 4-years old, I brought him to a Toronto Rock lacrosse game.
After being completely infatuated with the music and lights in the arena, he turned his attention to the game and asked me; “Daddy, which team do we want to win?”
“Toronto”, was my reply.
“Are they in black?”
“No, the Toronto Rock are wearing blue, red and white. The Rock’s opponents, however, were the Philadelphia Wings, and they were wearing black uniforms. I told him, “Philadelphia is the team wearing the black jerseys. We do NOT like Philadelphia. Boooo, Philadelphia!”
“Okay, Daddy”, was his response.
Then Philadelphia scored and he said, “Boooooo. Boooooooo. Booooo… Black guys!”
I spun towards him and said, “pardon me???”
“Booooo black guys!”
“No, no, no, no, no!” was my immediate response. “We don’t boo “black” guys. We boo the Philadelphia Wings.”
“Booooo Black guys!”, he yelled, now standing up and at a moment where it is really quite in the arena.
I explained to him again, that it’s Philadelphia that we hate… Everything Philly… The Wings, Flyers, 76ers, possibly the Phillies…
The crowd around us was laughing, hearing the dialogue between us, and knowing that there was nothing untoward intended.
“Booooo Black guys!” he yelled again.
Now being the superior parent that I am, I felt the need to silence him while I educated him, so I stuffed his little face with cotton candy and orange soda (bad daddy!) and I watched the sugar coma overtake his little body while I explained that we are rooting for the Toronto Rock, and rooting against the Philadelphia Wings, and that what he said was not very nice.
He looked at me… like a half-drunk adult, and said, “okay Daddy, I understand”.
And never a word was spoken for the rest of the game.
I’m such a great daddy!
… and then he fell asleep on my lap.
As the game ended, we walked to the subway, little tired, over-sweetened child and I, and we got on a fairly empty car. and he laid down on the seat and had a quick nap.
As the subway car sped northbound, it emptied a little bit at each stop, until the car held maybe 10-15 people in it.
Suddenly a little head popped up and with his eyes wide open, my son asked me this, “Did we win?”
“Yes we did”, I proudly replied. “Do you like lacrosse?”
“I love the cross” was his response.
And then at the top of his little lungs, he blurted out, “BOO BLACK GUYS!!!”
Without noticing the 4 young boys sitting across from us glaring at us, I reminded him that the Toronto Rock wore blue and that we cheered the blue team, and we booed the team wearing the black jerseys, not the black guys.
Then I looked up and saw the boys looking at me for a second until they burst into laughter.
He’s not a racist, I promise! He just doesn’t like the team in black at the cross.