Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Zoo doo

Yesterday was Homeschool Day at the zoo. The kids and I bagged our usual morning school work and went to see the animals.  

We were early, so the admissions window was free and clear.  I presented our zoo membership, the cashier checked my ID and asked if we'd parked in the zoo lot.  This is how getting into the zoo goes every single time.  Then she paused for a moment.  "Any guests?"  I looked around me, thinking someone was standing really close and she mistook them for a grandma or grandpa.  Nope.  No one. "No?" I said mystified by the question.

We collected our maps, started down the path and all the while pondering the question.  Like a little countdown in my head 5...4...3...2..1... ding!  Rosie, she must have been talking about Rosie.  Rosie's a different color than us, she must not be part of our family. Sigh.

That hasn't happened to me in a while.  I never know what to do about it.  Should I say something to the woman?  Or just let it go and use it as a teachable moment for the kids?

These sorts of comments bother me because they are stupid and insensitive.  But as an adult, I am confident in what makes us a family and I understand some people are just plain ignorant. However, I wonder what it feels like to be my kids.  How much does it shake their sense of who they are and what makes us a family? And how much does my incessant prattling about stereotyping and lack of education counteract those messages?

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