I was at the grocery store the other day. Really… yes I was at a grocery store.
Anyway, two high school age boys were goofing around on the potato chip aisle and having a large time. AAAHHH… to be young without a care!
Behind them slowly making her way down the same aisle was a woman about my age with a cart LOADED with just about everything you could imagine and these boys were putting more in it. (note… this was a white woman with two white boys). She was your quintessential southern mom. Hair was perfect, slacks, silk blouse, expensive bag, pearls and made up to perfection.
They were cutting up and carrying on when one of the boys referred to his friend as
“my N’**ga.” This stopped me and got my attention. I wanted to see if this mother said or did anything in response to hearing such crap come out of their mouth. What happened next was surprising.
She immediately stopped her shopping and said “excuse me?... what did you say??”
Still jovial and cutting up the boy said it again. I was close enough to hear what she said but far enough away that the boys didn't think I could hear. She called them over to her and asked him if he owned any slaves. He said no. She asked him where he has heard that word used and why he thought it was ok to use it. He said kids in school use it in the context as if saying “my friend” and that it was cool.
She proceeded to tell them that there was nothing cool about that word… and when used in conjunction with the word “my” made is sound like he was a slave owner, which he wasn't because the last she checked slavery had been abolished for almost 150 years. She then told him that he and his friend could take that cart they had loaded down with snacks and junk and put everything back on the shelves where they found it and they were leaving. She called the store manager over and told him they were to put everything back and to make sure they did it right and she would be waiting in the car.
And as she picked up her purse she looked at the two boys and said if she ever heard that filth come out of either of their mouths again they weren't too big to take a strap to and it wouldn't be her doing the whopping…she was telling DAD.
As she clicked past me in her expensive shoes, leaving the two stunned teenagers behind her, I held up my hand and high fived her… said nothing… just the “you go girl” salute to a mom that wasn't going to tolerate such crap no matter how “cool” it was.
I was proud of her. She addressed it immediately and didn't let it slide because they were teenage boys and they were in a public place.