‘N’ Is For Big No No

| FL, USA | Parents & Guardians

(I am about six years old. My family and I are in a restaurant. It should be noted that we’re black. My older brother, who is seven, wears glasses. My brother says something that makes me angry.)

Me: “Don’t make me call you the N-word, [Brother]!”

(My mother is sitting directly across from me by my brother.)

Mom: “What is the N-word?”

(My mother looks visibly upset at this point.)

Me: “Uh… nothing, Mom. I don’t want to say it.”

Mom: “No, tell me! What is the N-word, [My Name]!”

Me: *whispers* “Nerd…”

(My mom gives a look of surprise and mouths ‘oh’ then blinks at me.)

Mom: “He’s not a nerd…”

(I thought I was going to get in trouble because at that age ‘nerd’ was basically a curse word to me. It took me a few years to actually figure out what my mother had expected me to say!)

It Don’t Matter If You’re Black Or White Or High

| London, England, UK | Siblings

(A pair of preteen brothers are waiting to have their eyes tested. They are both black, and we have a poster for children’s glasses featuring a mixed race girl.)

Older Brother: “This girl in the poster — if you’re this colour, when you grow up you end up white.”

Younger Brother: “That’s not true!”

Older Brother: “Yeah, it happened to Michael Jackson!”

Younger Brother: “He took a lot of drugs.”

Older Brother: “That’s why. If you take drugs, it makes you white.”

Taking A Stab At Identifying Abnormal Behavior

| Reno, NV, USA | Children

(My friend and I are shopping at a local mall and stop in a store that sells both tech products like massage chairs and more unusual things like toy helicopters and a new display item that consists of sand and glue. The product is simple, but insanely fun as it seems to ‘melt’ in your hand with the slightest pressure, and my friend and I spend a good twenty minutes playing with the item. The store has two separate displays of the product about ten feet away from each other, both with small wooden molds and knives for shaping the product. My friend and I stand at one display entertaining ourselves.)

Child: “Oh, what’s this?”

(From the corner of my eyes I watch a small boy approach the other display and starts picking up the product. His father walks past and taps him on the shoulder.)

Man: “Let’s go, son.”

Child: “I want to play some more.”

Man: “I said we have to go.”

(The boy suddenly picks up the small plastic knife on the display table and starts stabbing the product viciously.)

Child: ‘I want to stab it! Stab it! STAB IT!”

(The man suddenly grabs the child’s arm and pulls him away.)

Man: “Did you not hear me say ‘no’?”

Child: “No.”

(The man and his son leave. I turn to my friend with what I’m certain is a troubled expression.)

Me: “That’s the sign of a perfectly normal, well-balanced child.”