So I went to a couple of barbecues today. The earlier one was in a part of Philly known as Logan. Working class, blue collar, black neighborhood (you folks from Philly know where I am talking about), and I had a blast. The music and the food was good, the people were genuine, and when I had to leave to head out to our next stop, I didn't want to go.
But leave I did. Mrs. Field was pinching my arm so we headed to another barbecue out in a fairly affluent area of the burbs known as Newtown. (You folks from Philly might know that area as well) Now, as you might expect, I didn't have quite as much fun. The people...well, they weren't as much fun, the food wasn't quite as good, and I didn't hear any music. Still, I have to admit, I had a decent time there too.
But that's not what I want to post about. I actually want to ask you smart folks who read and comment on this blog, your opinion about something.
There was a black couple at the barbecue we visited who are fairly affluent themselves, and they live in a predominantly white area. Their son, a very handsome kid, is going into his sophomore year in high school. He is on the tennis team (the kid can hit em. I played with him when he was twelve, and he was wearing me out then), and I am pretty sure that he will make the varsity baseball team as well. To top it off, he makes good grades, and he is very popular in his school.
Now here is the problem; at least more so for his Mother than his dad. All of his friends, including his little girlfriends, are white. His parents told us that before they left to come to the barbecue, the kid headed out with a car full of little white girls. And his Mom was not pleased about it. Not because, she said, his little playmates were white, but because, according to her, she knows what can happen in situations like that.
Now honestly, the kid's father and I didn't have a real problem with him going out with his friends and having a good time on the fourth. The kid is popular in his school, and he is going to attract girls, black and white. Problem is, at his school, there aren't many black girls (or boys for that matter) for him to interact with. Hey, the kid is a product of his environment. And it's not the first time that I have heard this kind of lament from black folks who have moved to the burbs and have a problem with their kids interacting with only white kids. It happens all the time. But is it such a bad thing? As long as they get the proper cultural indoctrination that they need at home and from their family, should his black parents even make an issue of it?
Now I understand Mom's concerns, I honestly do. I mean you hear all these stories about the black kid in the group getting singled out. all the time. But you can't stifle the kid and tell him not to have fun with his friends, whoever they might be. You can't tell your kid to be intolerant of other kids because they are white, just because your experiences say things aren't always what they seem. Or can you? I don't know, I am not a parent, so i really don't know what I would do. he kids is a teenager, you made a choice to live where you do, you can't now tell the kid who to choose as his friends. At least I don't think you can.....
I don't know, which is why I am putting it out there (I told his father that I would, so it's all good). Mrs. Field understands Mom's concerns, and we debated tha...okay we argued about that shit all the way home. Somehow it went from a discussion about race and parenting to women and out of control testosterone's. Needless to say, I ended that bad boy [the debate] as soon as possible. I told her she was right ("I know I am she said"), acknowledged that maybe I would be concerned about my son too, and headed to my computer.