The power of the n word

A beautiful sunny day in the Easter holiday, prompted a bike ride in the park. All around the park there was a diverse mixture of families black, white Asian all out to get that vital vitamin D.

My daughter and her cousin played on the swings and the climbing frame. My husband and I took it in turns to watch the children whilst the other cycled around the park.

As we were leaving the park a woman walked past with a large fluffy reindeer hat on the warmest day of the year (Yes she stood out!) My daughter and I stopped and waited for the stragglers. I told my daughter to move out of the way to let the strangely dressed lady pass. She looked at us both and said, ‘get out of the way n*****s. I was stunned. I tried to recall the last time I heard that word directed at me. My daughter looked at me she heard her clearly. My response somewhat pathetic was ‘That’s rude!’

But it was more than rude it added the burden of that word on my 7 year old. It wasn’t a child on the swings it was an adult aware of the hate and the power of that word. I think she had mental health problems so my muted response was probably fitting for her. When I relayed the story to my family they cried ‘you should have filmed her and sent it to the police’ and ‘you should have punched her.’ All hindsight – I was paralysed.

My daughter will hear that word more times in her life. How will she respond paralysed like me? Or will she be better equipped to deal with this word.

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