Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Hockey, Racists and God's Sense of Humor

Overall, we have been relatively incident free when it comes to racism and our kids.  There are some significant exceptions, and some I have handled better than others

You might remember the incident that happened earlier this hockey season where a boy on another team implied my child was an animal normally found in tropical climates.

Greg was offended, and did what he was supposed to do by reporting the incident to the referee on the ice, to his coach and then again speaking up bravely when we had to meet with the President of our local hockey association and the BC hockey league itself. 

The outcome was that more education was offerred to refs throughout the province to deal with these specific sorts of situations and the child in question was talked to.  It was the outcome we were hoping for.  (although momentarily I did fantasize about forcing the offending child to skate around the rink with a sign stating he was an ignorant racist hick while I threw tomatoes at him.)

Fast forward six months or so.  Selections are made for the best hockey players in that age group to attend the U16 BC CUP

We were VERY proud when Greg made that team.

Then the team rosters came out. 


On the same team as Greg was THIS child. 

Sitting next to us a the rink on our first day there?  His parents.
And the next day?  and the day after that?  Again, his parents.

The young boy Caden befriended and played with the entire weekend?  His little brother. 

They were, in my completely judgemental opinion,  pretty much what you would imagine people to be like whose child would utter racist slurs.  I smiled, I was nice to their little boy but for the life of me I couldn't be friendly. 

I wish there was a better ending to this than to say we sat 5 seats apart but in different worlds, but there isn't.  I hope they saw us as a family  - a REAL family - with human children who just happen to have different color skin than their own.  I am not sure they did.  But I did see them as a mother and father who love their children, even if they have taught ignorance.

Killing racism with reality one hockey game at a time.

By the way my kid did good. We will hear more later about that!


Brian the Sailor said...

Greg can speak for himself on the ice. You continue being a supportive parent and don't let the kids see you take things too personally.
Yeah, I know you didn't ask for my opinion, but 20 years in the Navy tends to make one thick skinned. Mommy won't be there to fight his battles for him forever.

Unknown said...

We do ... and he does :) But we have also taught him that it is ok to advocate and speak up. This was his choice in this event and we supported him. He shouldnt have to face any of it alone - just because he has white parents. Trust me, he deals with much alone each and every day - but when he asks for our support we will give it. And yes, I will show him that racism disgusts me because if I dont, he will feel I dont understand. Transracial adoptees have been speaking out for a generation that the WORST thing their parents could do was minimize racial taunts or incidents or pretend it away -- kids need their parents support :)

I do feel we are giving him the skills to deal with this life long issue. And essentially Hockey Gurus told Greg the same thing - kick the crap out of the offender - he can do more on the ice than he can do off the ice about that kids stupidity.

Thanks for your thoughts though :) He is a big strong kid - but an absolute gentle giant. I hope he never has to use his body to protect himself, but I know if he has to he can.