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- Growing Up Bronx
My neighbor from upstairs has 3 kids. 1 infant and 2 that are 4 and 6 or so years old. These kids run around starting very early in the day and late into the night. The parents also walk very hard at all hours of the day and night. They also seem to have a preference to run their very loud dishwasher after 11pm in the evening. It’s running right now as I type this and the time is now 11:41pm.
We have been dancing back and forth with these folks for years now. So today as she often likes to do, the female child decided to start stomping on the floor like a maniac. The 6 year old knows that the father doesn’t like it and she does it to anger him. He told me this himself.
At some point in the past we had exchanged numbers to ease our interactions. So today I sent him a message saying “White people need to beat their children the way our momma’s used to beat our asses when we were kids.” And I also included a message to stop the kid from stomping. So I hear a knock on my door and go over, it’s the neighbor and he had the little girl with him. “Apologize to them for what you are doing”. The little girl doesn’t know where to look or what to do. She refuses to apologize and remains quiet. Meanwhile the dad is saying “I”m going to take away all your toys. Angel, we try, it’s this little girl, she’s so difficult”. And he continues talking.
At one point the father says to me “I didn’t appreciate the tone of your text message though, I found it very racist and extremely offensive”. Now he’s starting to direct his anger towards me, but as I stand at the door in my pink angry bird boxer shorts, without a shirt on, looking at him and his daughter I don’t become angry, I don’t become defensive, and surprisingly I remain extremely calm and collected. After him huffing and puffing about my text message, closing the distance and getting closer to me, (not a good thing that closing the distance thing, keep your distance) I said “You ever watch Chris Rock do stand up”, he replied yes. So I said “that text message included some Chris Rock humor in it, it would appear that the context of the humor was lost, however I meant no offense to you as a white man, and I didn’t mean for you to beat up your kid. It was sort of a buffer, a joke to break into the actual complaint we had”.
After hearing the Chris Rock reference he seemed to get it. What I found most humorous was how calm and collected I remained. I didn’t turn up or anything. I just explained my view and passively spoke to them. That was a cool revelation for me today, seeing myself stay calm while I’m being called a racist and told that I was being offensive in a very hostile manner. Eventually we cleared the air, and everyone carried on with their business. He’s a nice guy, I didn’t want him thinking i’m racist or whatever, it was a joke my friend. The little girl is cute and I hope she grows out of this stage, for his sake!
Cool heads prevail.
Growing Up Bronx