In the summer of 2013, my mother went to the store to pick up supplies for my 11th birthday party. I was excited and could not wait for my mother’s return. When I saw her car pull up, I ran outside to greet her. I wondered if she was just as excited as I was. I was confused when I saw that my mother had red, watery eyes and tear-stained cheeks. I kept asking her what happened and she said “I’ll tell you when we get inside.”
I rushed inside because I immediately wanted to figure of what made my mother so upset. When we got inside, she just started crying again. I just hugged her and waited for her to calm down. Once she had calmed down, she opened her mouth to say “Today at the store, I was holding up the line because I could not understand what the cashier was trying to explain to me. I could tell that the people behind me were getting impatient ,but they didn’t say anything to me. Until this old, man came along…” She told me about how this old man started to verbally attack her. She told me how she felt embarrassed and hurt by his comments. She said that the old man would say stuff like “Learn proper English or go back to your country!” and “This is why illegal people shouldn’t be in this country.” She also told me how the man would call her “dumb” and “a waste of space.”
In reality, my mother is not doing anything illegal nor is she “illegal.” My mother is able to stay here in the United States because of the TPS program. She pays taxes like everybody else. She has a social security number like everybody else. She has permission to work here in the United States like everybody else. She has every right to be here in the United States of America just like everybody else. I never understood how someone can be “illegal” on stolen land anyways.
My mother is not dumb or a waste of space either. My mother is a teacher. Teachers are very important and have a big impact on the lives of students. Some students see their teachers more than they see their own parents. Teachers help shape the lives and futures of many students. Why would you criticize someone that is helping this generation of children become educated and respectful people? I am proud that my mother is a teacher. I do not understand why kids my age hate the idea of being a teacher. I honestly want to become a teacher when I grow up, just like my mother.
As a child of almost 11 years, I did not understand racism that well. As a child, seeing my mother crying because of racist comments made me upset. Now as a teenager, remembering my mother crying because of racist comments makes me furious. It also makes me feel pity. Pity because of the way my mom was treated and I also feel pity for the white old man. I pity him for being so ignorant and rude.
To this day, I sometimes wonder what ever happened to the old man. Is he still racist? Is he still ignorant? Has he learned his lesson about treating other people badly yet? Is he even still alive? I guess that I will never know what happened to the old man. I just hope that the old man isn’t still out there making hard working people cry and feel bad about themselves.