Dad, You’re So White
On the way to dinner the other night, Hot Chocolate’s “Every 1’s a Winner” was on the radio. What a great old ’70s jam! I listened for that awesome keyboard transition in the middle, then turned it up and exaggeratedly “played” it on the dashboard.[sws_pullquote_right]I wonder, and fret some, about how our boys handle the potentially mean streets of their peers. I remember that in my childhood, a lot of it was wrapped up in that idea of “cool.” [/sws_pullquote_right] Aaron, surely after an eye roll I didn’t see, said “Dad, you’re so white.”
I thought about that for a sec.
“What does that mean? I’m just not worried about looking cool. I’m comfortable in my skin.”
“Which is white.”
Bam! Walked into that one.
I wonder, and fret some, about how our boys handle the potentially mean streets of their peers. I remember that in my childhood, a lot of it was wrapped up in that idea of “cool.” Hey, that kid doesn’t have cool shoes. Let’s make fun of him for it until he goes somewhere else. Then, let’s make fun of him for running away until he cries. Then, let’s make fun of him for crying.
Senseless? Check. Mean? Check. Can’t exactly count on them being little bundles of empathy, can you?
I haven’t noticed any signs of the boys being picked on in such a way, or if they are it slides right off. (Good for them if that’s the case. I didn’t always do so well with such.) Really, over the past year or so Nathan appears headed for about nine feet tall, so my days of worrying about him (about this, at least!) are waning anyway.
Also, their friends reassure me. Whether from school, church, or both, they seem like a solid mix of well-adjusted kids who are successfully navigating the mean between knowing what’s cool and also knowing that it doesn’t genuinely matter. They seem like they’d gig me playfully for dashboard keyboarding. But they’d also realize that such an expression of joy is healthy.
(Said the rationalizing, uncool dad.)
Lifelong Alabamian Bo Williams is a Christian, husband, father, writer, and human trafficking activist. He has strong opinions on many things, including good food, IndyCar racing, and the importance of high-quality socks. You can keep up with him day to day at BoWilliams.com.
I know this isn’t where you were going with this article but reading it made me think back to an article I read while I was a graduate teaching assistant at UF. There was a story called “Cool Like Me” that posited that to truly be cool you had to be on the outside looking in which is why most white people are inherently uncool. A larger discussion for a different day probably but interesting none the less. Here’s a link I found to the article. The original title was better since it was an allusion to the the well-known 1961 book “Black Like Me”. Not sure why they changed it for the magazine. https://www.utne.com/politics/are-black-people-cooler-than-white-people.aspx?PageId=2
Jennifer, an interesting read, to say the least. Thanks for sharing.
Speaking of a larger discussion, beyond the comic value of “which is white” (from which the entire post sprang, as if from the forehead of Zeus), I am curious how my ten-year-old got any sort of developed idea about “acting white.”