If you all remember, my daughter is now in private school. She went from a pretty much all Black charter school to a not-quite-lily white but cmonson its a private school in the DC-area white private school. To say that the difference has been remarkable would be selling it short. She's as happy as a child can be and is getting the kind of education we hoped for. While I don't enjoy paying money for my child to go to school, I rest easy every time I write that check because it is easily money well spent.
Well, with new school environments come new social circles for my child. But that also means that the parental units get ushered into a new social circle dynamic. Two things of immediate note: 1) wealthy people really like BMWs and Audis, at least at my daughter's school. I've never seen this many people driving Audis in my life. And BMWs might as well be Honda Accords to these folks; and 2) My daughter's mother and I are the same age…somebody tell me why every time we attend a function we both look and feel like 21 year old college students? I know some of these folks are the same age as we are, but man, aging is a bitch for some folks, and I'm not just talking about white people.
Once, at my daughter's dance class I remember overhearing a discussion between two parents about Gilligan's Island. One stated that she was too young to remember it because she was born in the early 80s.
When I tell you that my jaw dropped, well it dropped. If you'd put a gun to my head I'd have sworn she was AT LEAST mid-40s. Easy. Mind you, I go to dance class in Tims, hoodies that say "I (heart) Bougie Black Girls" and snapbacks without tattoos, but still. Panamontana's mother and I clearly owe our parents a thank you for passing along good genes.
Back to the lecture at hand. One of the more interesting aspects of this new social stratification that we've undertaken by putting our child into a wealthy-folk private school is the joy of birthday parties. Because kids are kids and most of them love one another at this age, they all get invited to everybody's party. Which means that all the parents go to these parties and talk and hobnob whatnot while the kids chase each other around tables and try not to destroy anything. Last weekend, I attended my first private school birthday party. Yes, daddy got gifted with the birthday party attendance. I was also, the only solo dad in attendance. There were moms and both parents and even a few grandparents, then unstereotypically, a Black dad. The Panamontanas…not setting back the race since 2009.
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Because I'm an observationist and have been to a gazillion birthday parties that usually have zero to no white people present at all, it was interesting to attend a birthday party of the more well-to-do with a majority white cast. Also, this party was held at a bounce castle place - last time I attended a bounce castle place party I ended up with tendinitis and couldn't move my arm in a circular motion for 4 months - not sombody's home, so there was a bit of an equal playing field for observations. Nobody was in their home showing us pictures of sippin' mai tais with Ta-Ta down in Nevada, papa, haha…word life. Just parents, the elements, and mayhem. It was fun though.
Here are some observations.
1. I was asked by a mother if I was familiar with comedian Kevin Hart. Apparently he has a routine about bounce castles. She saved herself the racism by pointing out the bounce castle routine.
I'm pretty sure I hit her with the "bish whet?" face. For one, I'm Black and I tiptoed into this party in my Jordans. Of course I know who Kevin Hart is. But also, I was thinking, "wait, you watch Kevin Hart comedy specials at home? I wonder if you also drink Hennessey. I won't ask now, but that question is comin' lady. It's comin'. I'll bet you …" Never mind. But I will say I had a brief moment of wondering if my Blackness was in tact. Like, don't I look like I know Kevin Hart? Don't play me boo.
2. But since we're talking about potential racism, there were some Korean children there and one mother told the mother of the Korean kids that her children looked JUST alike. Like twins.
They did not look just alike. At all. In fact, I didn't even know they were together. I was trying to figure out who the other kid belonged to. I ain't saying she said that all Koreans look alike, but I ain't saying that she didn't say it either.
3. I saw a child physically put her paws on her mother because she was upset.
One of the people working there was Black. He also witnessed this. We both looked at each other like, "I wish I would have put them paws on my mother in a tantrum…" It was at that point I realized that not only do Black men do the nod in order to acknowledge one another in a sea of Blackness, Black folks ALSO look for one another when we see white folks put up with some shit that would usually end up in a collossal beat down. She took it like a G though. Which means her child does this frequently. I have no idea how that child is still alive.
4. I ALSO saw a child allowed to go into a bounce castle after she had soiled herself. Her mother saw it. I saw it. We all saw it.
At that point I said "check please" and me and mines left.
5. I watched a kid take his pizza, place it on the floor, drag it across the floor, then attempt to eat it. My child intervened and told his mother.
His mother said that she thinks that the floor is probably cleaner than our hands. I then watched this boy eat a slice of pizza he dragged across the floor. I'm not even sure what to do with this.
6. At this place you have to sign a waiver saying that if your kid dies, gets impaled, or ultimately breaks every bone in their body, the establishment is not liable. Fair enough. The dude making us sign the forms comes around and asks if my kid has a band. I say no and fill out the form. He says, which kid is yours?
"The Black one."
7. The only other Black person there was a Black man married to a white woman. There's really no there there, but let's just say, I spoke to him when he got there, but then stopped almost immediatley. We not the same peoples, white wife or not.
8. For those without kids, those of us with them usually hope that our kids don't embarass the shit out of us in public by doing something insane or having a tantrum to end all tantrums, etc. I mean, we all judge the parents based on the kids actions. My kid? I no longer wonder if we're doing a good job raising her. It was remarked so many times how polite, well mannered, and mature she was for her age. We aren't raising a robot, we're raising a good kid. I also realized how well…adjusted my child is. Mine eyes have seen some things yo. Young Panamontana, you good munchkin. Forever.
9. Culturally, I wonder how much emphasis is placed on respect in non-ethnic households, in general. I only ask this because I was amazed at how many of those kids in there talked to their parents in any kind of which a way. I'm just not familiar with that life. I'm still afraid of my dad now. You just never know with Black parents. Then again, I'm learning that it ain't all Black parents.