Wednesday, June 3, 2009

sprints and stereotypes

i have been sitting on this awhile.
trying to decide if i should blog it..
trying to decide if by sharing
it will do anything to change
what people believe.

and in the end,
i have decided it doesn't matter
if it will change anything.
what matters is my voice.
and if i don't speak,
i won't be heard.

we were at the 5th grade track meet,
and watching the 50m dash,
it was the second heat,
so the second fastest kids from each school were running.

one of isaiah's friends from baseball, and also school,
was in the heat, so we were paying close attention..
they said go.
and the boys began to run.
one kid pulled ahead... i mean really pulled ahead,
but about halfway down,
his shoe fell off,
he tripped, ran the rest of the race with only one shoe,
and came in second.

steve and i looked at each other, and said, what a bummer it was for him...
and then we looked a little closer.
his shoes were way too big.
like several sizes.
they weren't tied very well, and barely stayed on when he was just walking, let alone racing.

so, i was getting a bit uptight about it,
wondering why someone wasn't helping this kid..
i mean, this could be the one time in his life that he could succeed at something.
that he could win.
and no one was helping him.

we walked over to the other side of the track, and he competed in the 100m dash as well, only this time, he ran slowly, knowing his shoes were not going to stay on if he sprinted.

it made me sick.

so, when all the kids were in the stands, i walked over and talked to him.
i said, you know, you could have smoked all those guys if your shoes fit, why don't you just take them off for the next race... are you running again?

he said that he was anchoring the relay, and jumped up, and asked his teacher if he could take his shoes off.

she looked more disgusted then i have seen anyone look in a long time, and yelled, no. you may not take your shoes off.

so, i walked up to talk to her.

i said, you know, it is a shame, he is really fast, and could have won both of those races if he had some shoes that fit. do you think you can find someone to trade shoes with him, for his race?

and she said,
oh, he is just one of those kids.

excuse me? what kids?

you know, it doesn't matter how many times you tell him something, he won't listen, it's no use.

uh... mam, maybe he just needs someone to help him.

and i had to walk away.

i walked over to the boy,
who was sitting with his head hanging,
and told him to tie his shoes as tight as he could, and run. run fast.

which he did.

and he won the relay for his team.

i asked isaiah if he knew him,
and he does.
he is a boy from liberia.
he goes to our church.

and he is not "one of those kids"
no child is one of those kids.

it made me sick.
it still makes me sick.

and i don't know what to do about it.

i have such a hard time believing that stereotypes like this still exist.
but they do.
they exist even in small towns in the middle of america.

and we need to stop them.


steffany said...

Don't let it go.

Morgan said...

wow... unbelievable.

Heather said...

ugh. sickening.

dewatobay said...

Proud of you! Objectifying others is what keeps real peace and progress from happening - worldwide.

Susan Hope said...

Hi Amy, You have to rent this movie called Children of Heaven (netflix has it). Susan Hope