out of the mouths of babes...

today i went on a brilliant date with a boy i am head over heels in love with...
we do this sometimes...though not as often as i'd like...and our usual dates consist of us going to Windjammer..which is an incredibly overpriced resort up the beach from my home...and using their facilities...swimming in their pool, playing with their rafts, jumping on their water trampoline, sliding down their sea slide... Sometimes...we will buy some fries for $15. but most times we just play. i remember the first time we went out on one of these dates being really unsure about whether or not we should be sliding into the pool of those who never bat an eye at $15. fries..but my 7 year old friend (at the time...he has since turned 8) assured me that we would be okay. so we walked in as if we owned the place...jumped in the pool...played on the inflatable shamu....and remained safe, invisible to the eyes of those around.

i remember a comment his mother made when i brought him home and told her how uncertain i was if we would get away with our sneakiness...of course...you are white...no one will say a word. it didn't strike me as too odd as i had heard that line of reasoning more than once...and seen it's truth on many occasions...i am in fact treated differently because of the color of my skin. not always in the way of opening up doors to fancy hotels...sometimes in an attempted excessive overcharge at the market...or in a snide remark in passing...but most times in every day interactions with young people about how beautiful my hair is and how much they hate theirs...about how soft my skin is and how they wish they could have it too...it's gotten me thinking on more than one occasion at how often skin color becomes the dominating feature in social settings...but today...it hit me on a stronger, deeper level.

while we were walking to the resort ahjani told me that the one thing he likes about white boys is they get to have a lot of parties and black boys don't. he then told me he liked how they got things...how they always had ipads and kindles and video games and black boys didn't really get to have those things. now...ahjani has a lot for most 8 year olds. he is a special little boy who everyone falls in love with and out of that love constantly gives him gifts. he has bikes, skateboards, basketballs, video games, animals...the list goes on...but his perception here is that the white boys have more. and he's probably right. but the insinuation stuck in my mind. the distinction has been made between me and them. the line is drawn.

later in the day we were in the pool and some guests had let us borrow one of their toys. i told him if we were going to continue using it he needed to go make sure it was okay with them. his comment was that they were up the stairs and "black people like me can't go up there...it's only for white people." i was shocked. ahjani is no stranger to white people. he has had plenty of white friends but clearly has been indoctrinated into the concept of us and them. i explained to him that it was guests who could go up there and non-guests who needed to stay down in the area we were in but i don't think that point rang as true.

it was striking. our conversation, his perception, reality. it was striking. as we were walking home we came across this:

a lizard shedding it's skin...i didn't even know lizards did this but i thought to myself...wow...imagine if we could all do this and see what is underneath before we ever see what's on the outside.

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