Monday, May 10, 2010

Confronting Prejudice

The family and I were at a local restaurant, chatting away while waiting for our food to arrive.  In the booth facing ours was an older gentleman who, I began to notice, was making faces at Lil Sweetie.  He would wave, smile, wink--anything to get Lil Sweetie to respond.  I kept a discreet but watchful eye, trying to determine if he was a perv or just a friendly old fart.  At one point, Lil Sweetie said, "Do I even KNOW that guy?" 

Eventually our food came and we dug in.  While we were waiting for our tab, the elderly gentleman got up from his booth and headed directly toward ours.  I tried really hard not to make eye contact, hoping he would pass us by.  It was not to be--he was making a beeline straight for us.  I smiled but inside I was cringing, thinking, "Oh no, this old geezer is not going to understand my family.  He is going to assume that Lil Sweetie is a foster child or ask what country she is from or something equally stupid."  But to my surprise, he complimented Lil Sweetie on her manners, stating that he could tell that her parents (gesturing to me and Mr. Sweetie) were raising her right.  He then went on his merry way, while I sat there shamefaced, realizing that the prejudice I was forced to confront that day was my own.