If you are a parent, you have probably experienced those situations where your children have embarrassed you by what they say. I have had many long years of embarrassment, including the following 3 examples:
When Steven was 4 years old, I went with him to a local facility which housed infants and toddlers who were HIV positive to pick up a new foster child. It was a non-descript looking house which fit in well with the neighborhood. When we walked in the front door into the large living room, the room was full of beautiful children, all playing with toys, reading a book with a staff member, or toddling over to say hello to us. Steven, who is quite unused to group situations, took one look at the crowd and said out loud, “Holy Sh_t! Look at all dem dere brown babies!!!!” He was right as all of the children were minorities. (This is not to give the impression that minority children would be most at risk for AIDS, it is just that minority children are more difficult to place in foster homes.) The staff all politely laughed at his remark, especially because he did not take into account that he himself was “brown”. (Which begs the question…if a bi-racial child is raised by Caucasian parents, doesn’t he look in the MIRROR?)
On another occasion, I took Francis to the zoo when he was about 5. Francis is severely visually impaired and cannot see clearly beyond a few feet, although he can see fuzzy details. While walking in the zoo, a mom and a dad were strolling along with a child in their stroller. He was wearing a brown snowsuit, and he had a huge, full head of brown curly hair. As we passed by them, Francis said “MOM! MOM! They’ve stolen one of the animals from the zoo!!!” The parents looked aghast at his remark, and I remember making some comment about him not seeing well as I ushered Francis quickly away!
The most recent incident happened when Marie was 10. She is profoundly deaf and normally a very compassionate young lady. However, we saw a gentleman at the mall who was without legs and an arm. She stared and pointed excitedly and in her innocence asked me what happened to him. I gave her my spiel that it is not nice to point and stare because it hurts the person’s feelings. That God makes all kinds of people and a lot of people have disabilities, just like she is deaf. I told her the best thing to do was just be friendly, smile, and say hello, not stare. We were signing all of this in American Sign frenetically back and forth. We looked up from our signing to smile at the gentleman, only to find him and his friend pointing and staring at US! We both smiled at him, and then rapidly walked off in the other direction!