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If This Were Your Kid...

...what would you do?

I don't know what I'd do after I calmed down, but upon seeing my child's tears inflicted by an adult I'd probably ask someone I know to keep me restrained to a chair with duct tape and a piece placed over my mouth to keep me from going off half cocked. I'd also ask them to shoot my wife with a tranquilizer dart, strength set to elephant.

But seriously, beyond the reporting, the political weigh-ins, the personal beliefs, what is or is not true, etc., etc., this child had no control over what the adults were doing or any say in his summer plans. He simply thought he was going for a swim and now he has the words of those adults he overheard and the memory of his tears to carry FOREVER.

The little boy in this clip may wake up one day and realize he's over it. As a man, he may even forgive them for their ignorance. But he'll never forget. No different than my not being able to forget being around his age in Chicago on 95th street, coming from Jewel's (a grocery store) when a white T-top Firebird Trans Am (with a black and gold Firebird decal on the hood) pulled up alongside us while my father was driving his silver Buick Skylark with its God-awful burgundy interior. The two women inside gleefully shouted the "n-word" at us for the length of the block before speeding through the intersection when the light turned red. And why?

Because my father took too long to make a left turn. Really?

I'll never forget sinking into the backseat of the car, or how my heart was racing or how I looked up through the bottom of my window at the women with their stringy unnatural blond hair, complete with black roots, flying in the wind, without a care in the world. I'll never forget that it was a Sunday and we had just come from church before going grocery shopping. I also remember wanting my father to run them off the road. Damn the car. But I was a kid back then, and even then I knew why he wouldn't...or couldn't.

When kids say hateful things to one another, kids know in the back of their minds that other kid is trying to hurt them, so they take it in stride (or not) and hurt back. But when coming from an adult, a child believes the adult truly believes what they're saying and believes it about them. Those beliefs become scars. Then it is the child's burden for an untold amount of time.

Our children, no matter the race or class, are our most vulnerable citizens. We have to do better by them. Even the ones we don't own.

Next week I promise to attempt to return to my humorous self. It's just been one of those weeks. Last week was one of those weeks, too.


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