Time to introduce single mother, Hannah Palmer and her young son, Sammy! Sammy’s father – Hannah’s ex-boyfriend from high school – is white. Hannah’s mother is Black and her father is White. This scene takes place after Hannah has discovered that her biracial son has been bullied at school because of his African American and Caucasian background.
Prior to discussing the issue with her son, Hannah met with the chaplain at Seattle Children’s Hospital where she worked to put together a plan that would assure Sammy of how good a person he was. Armed with the chaplain’s suggestions, she sat down with her son to discuss her own childhood experience, and his, with bullying.
“But Mom, I don’t understand why they called you an Oreo cookie. I like Oreo cookies so wouldn’t that be a good thing?”
Hannah didn’t consider the fact that her son might miss the message those kids from her childhood sent her that day; now she had to explain it.
“You know how an Oreo is white on the inside and black on the outside?
“Right, that’s what’s so fun about them, I always lick the cream inside and then eat the cookie part. It’s like having two desserts in one cookie.”
Sammy’s mom stood up from the dining table where the two of them were seated and put her mug of green tea in the microwave to reheat.
“Well, Sweetie, the point they were making is that I looked Black on the outside, but because I was with parents that were both White and Black, they said I was White on the inside, you know, because your Grandpa’s White.”
“Well that’s just stupid. You’re just you. You’ve always been that way, and I’ve always been the way I am.”
Hannah retrieved her mug and sat next to her son.
“It’s stupid, you’re right, but those kids hurt my feelings because the voices they used when making fun of me were really mean-sounding. They weren’t trying to be funny, they were trying to be cruel.”
Sammy looked down at his lap. “I get it now, that’s the kind of voices the kids at school used when they said I was a nothing. I knew they were wrong, I’m not a nothing, but they hurt my feelings.”
Hannah’s eyes watered but she was able to smile because she knew Sammy would weather this event and still be okay. “I’m glad you know who you are because you’re an amazing boy and you’re the best son a mother could ever hope to have.”
Sammy put his arms around Hannah. “Thanks, Mom, you’re the best too.”
He looked up at her. “I love you.”
Hannah kissed her son’s forehead. “I love you too.”
Words said with cruelty – or even disguised as being in jest – can hurt young and old alike. Words matter and they always will. That is why my self-publishing arm is called Words Matter Press. I hope you’ll download my second novel, A Jagged Journey, which is now available for preorder for only $3.99 and available for your reading pleasure on April 15th.