Shocker (NOT): My son got called an “African bitch” at school

Originally published at Los Angelista

Is Los Angeles the most racist city on the planet?

If you want to know the answer to that, just ask my sons. They’ve had enough racist experiences that I’m sure they can give you an expert opinion on the matter. In fact, seven-year-old, Mr. T, got called an “African Bitch” yesterday at recess by another child in his class. Or rather, as Mr T said, “And then he called me an African B-word!”

Ah, second graders. Full of precocious racial epithets (and cuss words!) at such a young age.

Let’s see… In March he got called the n-word by a different little kid while we were at our local park. That boy’s momma said it’s because Mr. T is one. Fabulous.

Last week, the same child that called Mr. T an African bitch called him an “African Elephant”. T thought being called an African Elephant was both “racist and dumb”, and that it didn’t make any sense because, “I wasn’t even BORN in Africa! I was born here, in LA!”

Hmm…Funny how this kid throws throws around the word “African” like it’s supposed to be some kind of insult.

Oh wait, this kid probably believes being African, or being called African, is insulting. So, Mr. T isn’t just an elephant. He’s an African elephant. He’s not just a bitch. He’s an African bitch. That lil bit of African makes those insults SOOO much worse.

Yeah, I don’t know if Los Angeles is the most racist city on the planet–or in the solar system, galaxy or universe–but I do know this town likes to skate by on its “We’re not racist. Those people in flyover country are the racist ones!” laurels.

The Watts Riots and the LA Riots? Pfft, mere anomalies. We Angelenos are soooo busy pretending we’re all open-minded, Obama loving, tree hugging, vegan, diversity embracing hipsters whose friends look like they jumped outta an old skool Benetton ad.

Don’t believe the hype. Really. We don’t all hold hands and sing kumbaya while strolling down Sunset Boulevard.

As for whether I think this city is more racist than other parts of the country, no, it’s not. I’ve been around the block enough to know that what my sons experience here could happen anyplace else, and that black children across the nation are called these kinds of names and degraded like this every single day.

Knowing that doesn’t make Mr. T being called an African Bitch any better.

I don’t like picking up my kid and hearing him tell me he got called that. I don’t like watching him SOB hysterically during the drive home because all afternoon he’s kept inside the hurt and anger about what happened. I don’t like looking in my rear view mirror and seeing hot tears sliding down his cheeks–him shaking and gasping for breath because he’s so upset.

California dreamin’? Nope, not so much.

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About Tami

Tami Winfrey Harris writes about race, feminism, politics and pop culture at the blog What Tami Said. Her work has also appeared online at The Guardian’s Comment is Free, Ms. Magazine blog, Newsweek, Change.org, Huffington Post and Racialicious. She is a graduate of the Iowa State University Greenlee School of Journalism. She is mom to two awesome stepkids and spends her spare time researching her family history and cultivating a righteous 'fro.
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