Fragment Read at “Radical Parents Rock Santa Barbara: A Rad Dad Reading” at Chaucer’s bookstore in Santa Barbara, CA (01/11/2012) and published in SF based Zine, Rad Dad.
Somewhere in rural Oregon, where the 97 meets the 84 along the southern bank of the Columbia River, it is still no man’s land for Mexicans. My son, all of 8 years old stands in line in line with his chips, myself with arms full with everyone’s treats for the road, a balancing act, while the rest of the family uses the restroom.
A grown man with one item cuts in front, and my son is pissed, but doesn’t say a word. I tell him aloud for the man to hear, “You see that, Andrés, that is what we call entitlement, it is part of white privilege and it is not ok.” I say the last part firmly. My son picks up the packages I’ve dropped and looks up at me and asks with despair, “What do you want me to do dad?! Yell, Entitlement!!! Entitlement!!! ? He still cut in front of us!”
I spend the rest of the 16 hour road trip thinking about my son’s words and revisiting my parenting approach based on transparency and real world examples of navigating race, class, gender, sexuality and violence norms. It occured to me that yes, he should call behaviors out for what they are,
Because a big step in getting someone to stop their investment in something as invisible as White Supremacy, is precisely to make it visible, tangible, and specific…
Yet as my son pointed out, he may not have the patience to wait for a grown ass man to get it.