A piece of chocolate
Walking into her favorite grocery store, Regina’s 8 year old son and 10 year old daughter followed behind laughing and joking. She gave them a quick glance behind her and they hurried to catch up with her. Regina navigated her way through the crowded isles, telling her children to move over or stand still so that they wouldn’t be in anyone’s way. Although the store was full of people, she knew they were noticed, she felt on display. She wanted to hurry to leave as quickly as she could. She liked the store and would often come alone, however she always felt different when she had the kids and she didn’t quite know why. There were dozens of mothers in the store, some with 4 or more kids at a time. She would hear them talking and interacting freely. Yet she felt a need for her to keep her kids quiet or to ask them to speak softly, not bringing attention to themselves. As Regina got to the back of the store, she saw the counter where the samples were and they had special chocolates out today. When her son and daughter asked her if they could have one, she said yes and walked behind them and stopped and watched them as they walked up to the counter. There was always a clerk there to facilitate the sampling. As her son reached out to take a chocolate, Regina noticed the clerk. The clerk displayed a subtle look of distaste, and in that split second, Regina witnessed the “WHY.” It seemed like slow motion, the children had no idea what their mother had just experienced. After receiving their sample and politely saying thank you, the clueless two smiled and enjoyed the chocolate. Regina captured that moment and filtered it through her amazing love for her children. She realized that the reason for her uneasiness with bringing her kids with her into this place that rarely was frequented by those that shared her hue, was this invisible weapon that cripples, restrains and oppresses. She saw the face of discrimination, a face that is not always seen, yet often felt immediately upon arrival. As her children bypassed its intention in this instance, she understood that an intention although powerful, can be subdued by focus. Her children were focused on experiencing the pleasure of their treat. No one could change the feeling of delight they shared in that moment. Regina realized that walking on eggshells in an environment made for all to enjoy, was self hindering. How dare she confine her children into conforming to the intended effect of this horrible thread that continues to weave in the fabric of our modern integrated U. S of A.? She couldn’t wait to come back there again with the kids and on that visit, they took their time wandering the isles, and Regina enjoyed it with them, for the first time. “The land of the free and home of the brave she thought. Be free to be brave………..