Mothers dread dragging their kids to the grocery store. This particular trip was an ‘oops’ moment on my part. I forgot to get the main dish to cook up for supper that night. I rushed from work, picked up my kids from childcare and ran to our nearby grocery store. My negotiation with my darling boys was my regular directive. “Stay quiet, hands-off, and you get a doughnut.”
The boys were smiling. This is a major treat in the Edmunds household. Yes, I bribe my kids when I’m in a hurry (no judging). In my determined state, I bobbed and weaved through the aisles with two slow paced kids in tow. I grabbed the last rotisserie chicken at the deli and was off to the bakery aisle. Both boys were keeping up with their mama ready to pick their favorite and most coveted treat.
Then, it happened…. an elderly white woman came up to me with a not so pleasant smile on her face and asks me the most dreaded question of all… “Can we still call you colored?” I could feel time standing still and my beautifully blended sons stared up at me with the most confused looks on their faces.
They’ve never heard of the term ‘colored’ before except for contexts such as describing the color of their favorite Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle. The moment presented itself. I knew this woman had something to learn. So, I put on my first grade teacher smile and gave her the rebuttal of her lifetime.
I said with the upmost pride, “No, You may call me Mrs. Edmunds and my sons are named Maxwell and Mateo.” I also used my pseudo-Liberian accent (which my husband gets when I’m frustrated with him) and concluded, “ Where I come from, we define ourselves by our names and not by race or derogatory comments.” Her face was shocked. While I walked away prideful with my sons, doughnuts, and cold chicken I felt great. How would you react if a total stranger called you or your child colored in a public setting? #imnotcolored