Yesterday I took my nine year old son to a skatepark. He was having fun but I kept seeing his head spin everytime someone dropped the F word. He’s a good kid and won’t hang around others if they are cursing. He just knows it’s wrong. I wasn’t happy about the situation but what can you do when you are at a skatepark.
The park was full of bikes, boards and scooters. There was a group of about eight kids on scooters that kept all riding the bowls at the same time or standing right on the lip so nobody could ride that section. It was mildly annoying for me but Jack took a slam when he was dropping in and a scooter kid snaked him. Jack was sore in more than just the physical sense.
After a while three or four black kids showed up on beat down department store bikes. They were all having fun but the scooter kids started giving them a hard time. I didn’t think much of their banter back an forth until I heard one biker say “That’s why I don’t like to come here, they’re racist.”
I went over to the kid and said that if any of the other kids said something messed up, let me know. He looked a little confused but smiled. Jack and I kept sessioning the park as the two opposing groups kept calling each other names and arguing. Jack came up to me and said “That kid is like eight years old and cursing a lot.” It bothered him to see a kid even younger than he with such a bad mouth.
A couple of minutes later, I popped out and heard the foul mouthed eight year old call one of the bikers “nigger”. I threw down my bike and went right up to the kid.
“I don’t want to hear that word. That’s messed up and if I hear any of you say that I’m going to kick you out of the skatepark.”
The kid said to me “It’s not your park!”
He was right so I countered “But I’m bigger and I’ll everytime you come here I will throw your scooter over the fence!” as I pointed to the twelve footer next to us.
His face dropped.
I picked up my bike and rode away shaking my head. Only then did I notice a black father sitting on a ledge who had seen the whole thing. He just looked at me blankly. I muttered “Sorry” as I rode by. He just looked at me expressionless as if to say “It happens everyday…”
On the drive home I talked to Jack about that and apologized for freaking out in front of him but I just can’t tolerate the N word. He just looked me square in the eye and said “You should have thrown his scooter over the fence.”