7/13/2005

The Block Party From Hell

So last Saturday my neighbors threw a little cookout for some old friends of their's and invited us over. They invited several of the other neighbors as well. Their house is also brand new, just like ours, and they moved in a month before us in November. The rest of the neighborhood are much older, MUCH smaller houses.

We went over because they had lots of food and alcohol, as well as horseshoes for Mike to play. They rented a giant moonbounce but Nathan is just too little yet. There were a ton of other babies there too. After awhile our other neighbor came by with her three little boys. She is super nice and we chat often. She is a leader of my MOPS (mothers of preschoolers) group, a leader of our local Republican committee, and also a Premier Jewelry saleswoman, which I love. So we chatted awhile. Someone asked her how she handles three little boys and she chuckled and said she drinks alot.

Then the crazy neighbors (who weren't invited) came out into their back yard and blared their music louder than our party's music. You see, they are nuts because they have posted Private Property and No Trespassing signs all along the 20 ft. line of their back yard. These signs are staring us and our neighbors in the face. They have a sign stating that their tiny backyard is an official wildlife refuge. For what, rabbits?!! Squirrels?! Anyhow our neighbors complained about the Private Property signs and they replied "Oh, those aren't meant for you!" to which my neighbor replied "So why are they staring me in the face!"

Anyway another neighbor and his girlfriend joined the party and proceeded to tell us how sad he was when our two new houses were built but how he was glad it brought his property values up. Let's just say, he and his girlfriend had big mouths. They shared every bit of dirt about the neighborhood they could come up with. Then I went in to put Nathan to bed and Mike stayed out talking. As I was folding all the laundry that was strewn about our bed I heard the backdoor open and I heard Mike say, "Come on in, I'll give you the tour." I scrambled to throw all my clean underwear in the closet and shut the door and ran downstairs to give Mike a look like "What are you doing? My house is a mess!" Too late, he showed them everything as they "Oooh"ed and "Aaah"ed. I was embarressed because their house is possibly a quarter of the size of ours. A few minutes later we were all standing in the kitchen talking when a very drunk host of the party knocked on the backdoor and came in to join us. Somehow half the party managed to spread from my neighbor's house to mine. It went downhill very very fast as somehow my neighbors embarked upon a discussion of race relations. I kept my mouth clamped shut as I listened, horrified, as my neighbors tossed around the "N" word, debating which was worse, blacks or white trash. Aparently, all three of my neighbors are very racist. I couldn't believe they stood there and proudly admitted it. I mean, it's not as though I live in the sticks where rednecks are prevalent. I live in an extremely ethnically mixed, high tech suburb of Philadelphia. I love the fact that when I go to the park there are black kids, white kids, latino kids, asian kids, indian kids, you name it! I want Nathan to grow up with a great appreciation of all different cultures, but to be essentially colorblind. All night I tossed and turned, wondering if I should have said something to them. I wondered if I should have asked them not to use the "N" word in my house. I want to be friendly with my neighbors, but I also don't want my son hearing that kind of talk. What would you have done?

6 comments:

Mike said...

Block party from hell? I don't think it was THAT bad.

Alisa said...

Yikes. That's a conundrum. The only thing you can do in that situation, without starting a debate that could get out of hand and become hostile, is attempting to change the subject.

MMC said...

I would have said something shocking, that required no response on their part, that would make them think about keeping their racist opinions to themselves.....like "Gosh, I'm glad my son didn't take after the African Amer. side of my family, or he wouldn't be welcomed by you all." Tough situation......

Anonymous said...

There's nothing wrong with tactfully letting people know that you don't use that word in your house, because you don't want your children to use it. Unfortunately, sometimes when you say nothing, people assume that you are agreeing with them. You definitely should choose your battles and look for the right time to say something. If they are as racist as you seem to think they are (i.e., whether they are sober or drunk) you'll more than likely get another opportunity.

Redhead Mommy said...

I'm someplace between shocking them and tactful. It would depend on how angry I was at the time. Some of my husband's family throw the N word around too, and generally follow stereotypes. As this is usually his grandmother, I try to show her respect, while not agreeing with what she says and possibly try to offer a polite difference of view.

We'll see. I already spoke to my father-in-law about it and made it understood that it's quite possible that The Boy might date a person of a different race and any person who raises a fuss will have to deal directly with me.

ieatcrayonz said...

Oh no, not in my house! I think it would have been appropriate to say, "We don't use that language in our home and if you don't like it, leave!"

There's no excuse for people to proliferate the use of racial slurs in this day and age. It's tacky and small-minded. I'd rather have my neighbors hate me than hate myself for not telling them to shut up and get out. I would seriously have to consider if I even wanted our children to play together.

And believe me, where I live, the majority of people DO think it's okay to use racial slurs. It's sad. When will people stop singling each other races out and begin to realize that we are all one race: the human race.

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