When I was a teen, my mother and I did not have a good relationship. It was the typical getting in fights over stupid things – not some kind of narcissistic abuse or anything. We were just two very strong women with two very strong personalities that didn’t quite match.
Now that I’m in my mid-twenties, my mom is one of my closest friends. I realized that she was right in the majority of arguments, and she realized that she overreacted to just about everything. My mom and I are starting this new thing where we have coffee every Sunday morning after church.
After church today, we headed to the local coffee shoppe, where I order some “frou frou bullshit” as she calls it, and she orders plain coffee with creamer. When we sat down, she was in tears.
“Alice, I need to tell you something,” she said with a wavering voice. “I was wrong.” Music to my ears! I love when she says that! “I had a fight with your uncle Scott.”
Let me give you some background on Uncle Scott. Scott is in his early sixties with no children. He lives in another state, and when he comes home, he always has some negative comment about my body or my life’s decisions. This has happened since I was ten. He always called out the fact that I had acne, or that I put on a little too much weight, or that I was too outspoken, or that I swear too much. Anyhow, my parents never paid him any mind. Scott is also a “cop”. He isn’t really a cop – he is a neighborhood watchman who thinks he is a cop because he knows the local police officers and sometimes he is permitted to ride around in the car with them. His car is adorned with multiple “Blue Lives Matter” stickers (NOT knocking the cause, just providing detail, my dudes) and he always has stories to tell about his time on “the force”. My Uncle Scott is also a capital R RACIST. He always has something to say about “them sp**** (derogatory term for people of Hispanic descent) and them n******”.” and how they are bringing drugs into this country and ruining lives. Typically, I call out racist and misogynist assholes like it’s my job, but I don’t pay any attention to him. He is one of those guys that will say the s- and n- words behind closed doors but would never say it to anyone’s face. He is a coward.
Except that my husband is Hispanic. And I love the pieces out of that man.
Anyhow, I guess he was talking to my mom about my sister’s boyfriend. Her boyfriend is a backwoods hick, and I also love that man to death. He’s good for my sister and he’s a good man. He just comes off a little rough around the edges and is hard to warm up to. My mom was sticking up for him when Scott was on one of his tirades about how my sister needs to find herself a good Christian boy with ambition. Scott threw his hands up in the air and said, “You’re right. As long as he isn’t black.”
My mom flew off the handle. My mom has those blue eyes that look like the hot part of a flame when she is mad. Her little 5’2″ body was 100% rage. She laid into him about how much she loves my husband and how every white man I have been with has been absolute trash, and it isn’t the color of their skin that matters, it is who a person is and how they treat their loved ones. Scott tried to explain that he has seen so many of “them s***** and n****** causing problems in his town and getting arrested.” My mom told him that maybe he should have been around when the white boys I was with cheated on me and abused me (in one case). She told him racists are not welcome in her home and that he needed to leave.
The ironic part about this story is that when I was twelve, my mom told me I wasn’t welcome in her home if I ever brought home a boy that wasn’t white.
People change. My mom was raised by a racist man. Her mother’s father was posthumously found to be a member of the KKK. My mom never left our small town and lived by her small-town mentality. It was not until she experienced life outside of her blinders that she realized that people of other races are human. It wasn’t until I told my mom about the white man that sexually abused me for years that she realized her concept of the “good Christian white boy” she thought he was is actually a monster.
I guess what I’m trying to say is to not judge people too harshly from their past if they are actively working toward and becoming a good person. What my mom said when I was twelve was wrong. She regrets what she said every day of her life. My mom was, unfortunately, the product of a racist upbringing and was brainwashed from a young age. However, my mom is an amazing woman. My mom learned from her mistakes and has changed for the better because of it. She is a loving and accepting individual and I am so proud to have been part of that change. Violence and being a keyboard warrior is not the solution to the racists of this world. The best thing we can do is to be patient, work towards educating people, and to prove to them that they are wrong. Be an actively good person, show the love of Jesus and any other deity you believe in or not believe in, just be nice. Be kind. Show them they are wrong through your actions and practice what you preach.