Friday, April 23, 2010

Is that you, Uncle Jim??

So there we are, watching the Celts in the process of stealing game three in Miami. Every time Jeff Van Gundy says Glen 'big baby' Davis, the kids roll on the floor laughing and ask me "What's big baby's number again, Daddy?" Eleven. "Oh, yeah, a waaahhh and a waaaahh, big baby". Giggling their heads off.

Anyway, they cut to Rick Pitino (former Celtics coach) in the audience and they interview him for about 60 seconds. Suddenly, Emmy and Marin are motionless, silent, watching intently. Finally Emmy asks "Why is Uncle Jim not wearing his glasses?"

I'm thinking "What??!!??" Then I look at the TV again, and Pitino does look like Colleen's brother Jim, but with a few more wrinkles. Colleen starts cracking up. I can't wait to tell Jim about this.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

What's the Frequency, Kenneth?

So here we are at a large family gathering, about 80 of us, for a special event. Some of us, including my Dad and I, arrived early to verify things were arranged as we had planned, check in with the caterer, etc.

My Aunt pulls my Dad and I aside and starts talking in a wierd blend of hesitant, apologetic, defensive tone. I can't imagine where this is going, and she eventually cuts to the chase.

Aunt: Well, my daughter has sort of become a foster mother to one of the boys who is friends with her son.
Us: Oh, wow, congratulations.
Aunt: Well, it's likely he will be joining us here today and I want to be sure its OK with you that we have one more guest.
Us: Of course.
Aunt: Well, he's a black kid.
Us: OK
Aunt: Really? You mean thats OK with you?

At this point, my Dad and I look at each other trying to read each others reaction and determine whether my Aunt is pulling our legs or not. Could she possibly be serious? Has she forgotten that my children and my Dad's grandchildren are African? Apparently, she did not make that connection. So, how to process this conversation?

On the one hand, I am thrilled that my Aunt does not even think of my children as black. That she is totally oblivious to my kids skin color is incredible, astounding, and exhilarating. My kids are totally and unconditionally accepted by the older generations in my family, and that is awesome.

On the other hand, there is still this latent attitude - I don't even know how to describe it - that the older generations have about blacks. It's really subtle. It is not evil; they wish no ill will to blacks. It's more like "I like blacks better when they keep their distance" and "I am concerned you will not accept me if I am associated with blacks." I think America needs to lose two more generations - say 40 more years - before these attitudes will be largely extinguished.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010


Emmy is a little more than 5 years old.

Yesterday, she went to the car to get her sunglasses, and accidentally slammed her fingers in the door of the car, tearing off a small piece of flesh. Correct me if I'm wrong, but wouldn't most kids age 5 stand there with their fingers stuck in the door and scream bloody murder?

Emmy reached over with her other hand, opened the car door, and removed her injured hand. Then she walked into the house, held up her bloody hand for us to see, and calmly asked for an icy bear (ice cube) and a bandaid. Only after we got her hand all cleaned and bandage did she go lie down with her doll and stuffed animal and begin to sob quietly.