Somewhere out there in the Indiana, California or Oregon there's a parent nervously nudging their kid along after Caleb Jr. or 'Kortni' just embarrassed them in front of a brother.
Caleb: "Why is that person burned, mommy?"
Nervous Parent: "Heh-heh-heh. Please don't kill us, large negro."
This exchange is pretty commonplace, though variations do exist:
The benign - "Why is that person brown?"
The toothsome - "Chocolate, mommy. Chocolate!"
or as my friend 'C' experienced in Disney World, The Darwinian -
"Look at the monkey, mommy."
Now my friend could have shrugged this off, as is often done. Instead she opted to glare at the kid, pacing back and forth menacingly.
Friend: "What'd you just say? Get on that ride, so I can throw yo' ass off!"
'Courtenay': "Waaaaaaaaah. Mommy!"
Nervous Parent: "Heh. Please don't kill us, Ms. Large Negro."
Fortunately for Mr. and Mrs. Wyoming, my friend lacks a mean streak and has only a phenomenal sense of humor. Courtneah was not flung off the ride - hopefully she just became nauseated and deposited Mickey Burgers all over dad's new Dodge Durango with the Hemi engine.
Usually in these cases, we attribute such inadvertent brickbats to innocence, such as when Caleb tells mom "Mommy, remember when daddy said you got a huge can? Can I put my Hot Wheels in it?"
Then there's the lack of diversity in the typical cul-de-sac, where the brownest person is Mrs. Anderson, whose leathery skin has been exposed to more sun than Ecuador.
These factors are taken into consideration when Caleb or 'Kourtenay' put their size 12 Stride Rites in your mouth. That's why you don't give get a crack of knuckles across your Botoxed forehead. We give your kid the benefit of the doubt - the first time.
What can you do, you ask? Here are a couple suggestions that might be helpful.
1. Take the kids to the 'hood for a KFC bucket. Chances are you won't get shot. (It's not like you don't run the same risk at your neighborhood Denny's or Mc Donald's). Take a few singles with you, though. 'Dre and Speed like to hang out in front and might ask you for a couple of bucks, since their car 'ran out of gas'.
2. Nothing says 'urban' more than the Complete Second Season of Good Times. Dy-No-Miiiiite! It's such a more genuine portrayal than the Cosby Show, Hangin' With Mr, Cooper or that show with Urkel in it.
3. Here's an idea: jazz. 98% of the true jazz artists are dead, so they'll never ask you to (god forbid) take them to a concert. Also, thuggish wardrobe didn't come into play until much, much later, so there's no risk of Caleb or Cortnee coming home with a FUBU hoodie, saggin' their jeans or anything.
Get with the times. You're doing your child a disservice if you wait for them to get to college to meet their first African-American friend. You never know. The next 'monkey' they meet might indeed "throw their ass" off the ride.