Backstory – I was originally raised in a tiny Vintage Born August 1981 40th Birthday Retro 40 Years Old T-Shirt in Texas. My wife and I have been married for 6 years in July. Our daughter turns 1 in July. We live half the about 1000 miles from my parents. Because of COVID and the distance, this last weekend was the first time we’ve seen them in almost 2 years, and it was the first time they met their granddaughter. I’m white and my wife is Puerto-Rican… normally not important, but unfortunately for the sake of the story, it will be… /sigh
The Event – We don’t have a huge house (Miami real estate market is insane!), just a 2/2, so the parents are on a blow-up mattress in the living room. No worries. I don’t know how the conversation got there, and it never should have, but it did… so we’re eating dinner and it got political… Where I was raised is suuuuper conservative, and I’m extremely moderate. I’m not democrat or republican. I think for myself instead of being a robot that lets others think for me.
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So at the dinner table (the night before they leave), the topic gets to white-privilege because it came up with my Vintage Born August 1981 40th Birthday Retro 40 Years Old T-Shirt that week (I teach middle-school), and the only thing I’m trying to get them to understand is empathy for people who grow up in different situations than yours. That’s it. I wasn’t calling anyone racist or anything. I just said “I’ll never truly understand what my wife has gone through, and neither one of us will truly understand what our daughter goes through because she’s a mix of both of us.” and my mom goes off and says, “And THEY’LL never understand what it was like growing up poor like me!” (Point missed, and who are “they”?) “You’re right mom, those are your experiences, just like mine are different and hers (my wife) are different, and your granddaughter’s will be different.” “Well I feel like I’m being attacked for my beliefs.” “No, I’m just explaining basic empathy for people who are different from you.” “I KNOW what you’re talking about, I’m older than you…” (Her “age=wisdom” tactic….fml)
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