I am a soccer, tennis, riding, violin, hiking, trampolining, biking, chessing mom who drives a hybrid with two car magnets on the back. PSA: my brake light is out and, no, I do not carry jumper cables.
Hybrid because when I purchased the car in 2007 I wanted a Prius, but was expecting twins (one survived! *SonHerisme enters center stage through the small undetected trap door*), so I compromised with a larger hybrid car and that is that. This makes me a Hybrid SoMo on soccer days. I have spoken. This is the way.
Yesterday was such a day. Glorious, jacket-still-required sunny, and soccer game a-callin’. One of SonHerisme’s teammates got stuck at home when her mother’s car wouldn’t start and dad was out of town. We gladly picked them up to carpool to the game. Which, in hindsight, we should’ve arranged anyway because the game was a good 20/30 minutes away in a little town in the Catoctin Mountain Range. (we were masked with flowing fresh air, judgementors)
Oh – are you not familiar? Have you ever heard of Camp David? The occasional three mighty helicopter parade gliding across the valley and up the mountain range to the meetings of the deciders of the things? Yes, that Camp David! (oh, there you are, Peter! This is, btw, what I say every time I peek-a-boo at my stats and it shows readers from the UK. Hello and Welcome to you, Peter! special xo to you!) At least now we are no longer deeply cringing and frantically scrolling through Twitter to figure out what freakish hellscape narrative an orange cringtastic moron has incanted into being. But, I digress. Where were we? Oh, yes, soccering… carpooling… the things of the mommies with the busy childrens. Also, racism.
I did not want to go to this soccer game. I prayed for rain – which was supposed to happen, and did happen but not to the extent of causing the game to be cancelled. In talking to other soccer parents, I was not alone in not wanting to go to this particular soccer game.
The area of our county hosting that soccer game is a known hotbed of KKK leadership, rallies and general overt racism. No one wants to go up there, except to go to the State Park and then leave. Proud Confederate flag flying is abundant in this area. It has gorgeous natural scenery dotted with racist tropes and racist attitudes.
Our sweet soccer team is co-ed and most definitely represents our country/city being multi-racial. No token person of color, rather the majority of the team are not white. I hadn’t thought about it before now because I am in a privileged position to not be forced to think about it most of the time. I am white. SonHerisme is very light skinned most of the time. The potential consequences of our co-ed multi-racial team heading into a KKK dominant town to play a game of soccer, became very real yesterday.
Meandering up the sloping altitudes to the game, our carpool companions expressed concern about going to the game (Dominican background). The conversation went something like this:
She: Why did you say you aren't looking forward to the game? Is the team really tough to beat? Me: I don't know anything about the team. I just really do not like this area. She: It is pretty up here. Why don't you like it? Me: The people in general seem to be unwelcoming to outsiders and I just do not feel comfortable here. She: Oh, wait. Is this about them being racists here? Me: Yes. She: I heard about that and the KKK. Yeah, that's not good. Me: No. She: Well, we'll see what happens. I wish the game was cancelled too. I guess I shouldn't try to buy a house up here! Me: I just cannot imagine what it feels like being a person of color around all of this knowing how uncomfortable I am as a white person. I am so sorry. She: Yeah, it is weird and uncomfortable.
At the game, our team parents sat in the same general area. At the far end of the park, beyond the soccer field, there was a playground. One of the younger soccermate siblings wanted to play on the playground. At first his mother okayed it, then I saw her take a quick look around and call her son back to her. She turned to two of us and said, “I forgot it isn’t safe for us here. He can’t go by himself.” They are people of color. They know.
After the game, SonHerisme told me there were two kids in the pre-game team huddle near to tears with anxiety over playing with racists and how they might be treated or get in trouble for touching them.
These conversations are so very uncomfortable, but also so desperately necessary. I was unsure how to step into this, but it happened and I am so glad to get this uncomfortable topic rolling.
I do not want to be a part of sitting on my privilege while my neighbors are suffering. I am awkward. I am VERY awkward. I will keep trying to do this hard thing of opening up to difficult uncomfortable conversations in the interest of humane compassionate action.
I am writing a letter to the soccer league requesting that we no longer travel to that area for games. It is too much to ask people to go to a space where they are overtly discriminated and othered. This is my anti-racist activity today.
Love, Ms. Herisme xoxo
ps It is a Monday kind of Tuesday in a million ways including that I wore a shirt with a pencil eraser sized hole strategically placed on the top of my right nipple… I’m sure it’s fine. Where did I wear this shirt? All around Georgetown. I’m fine. I’m sure it’s fine. Black fitted shirt, nude bra, not cutsie small bust – it’s all fine. Moon’s in Scorpio y’all. I’m fine.