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I Went To My First Private School Birthday Party. Here’s What Happened.

If you all remember, my daughter is now in private school. She went from a pretty much all Black charter school to a not-quite-lily white but cmonson its a private school in the DC-area white private school. To say that the difference has been remarkable would be selling it short. She’s as happy as a child can be and is getting the kind of education we hoped for. While I don’t enjoy paying money for my child to go to school, I rest easy every time I write that check because it is easily money well spent.

Well, with new school environments come new social circles for my child. But that also means that the parental units get ushered into a new social circle dynamic. Two things of immediate note: 1) wealthy people really like BMWs and Audis, at least at my daughter’s school. I’ve never seen this many people driving Audis in my life. And BMWs might as well be Honda Accords to these folks; and 2) My daughter’s mother and I are the same age…somebody tell me why every time we attend a function we both look and feel like 21 year old college students? I know some of these folks are the same age as we are, but man, aging is a bitch for some folks, and I’m not just talking about white people.

Once, at my daughter’s dance class I remember overhearing a discussion between two parents about Gilligan’s Island. One stated that she was too young to remember it because she was born in the early 80s.

When I tell you that my jaw dropped, well it dropped. If you’d put a gun to my head I’d have sworn she was AT LEAST mid-40s. Easy. Mind you, I go to dance class in Tims, hoodies that say “I (heart) Bougie Black Girls” and snapbacks without tattoos, but still. Panamontana’s mother and I clearly owe our parents a thank you for passing along good genes.

Back to the lecture at hand. One of the more interesting aspects of this new social stratification that we’ve undertaken by putting our child into a wealthy-folk private school is the joy of birthday parties. Because kids are kids and most of them love one another at this age, they all get invited to everybody’s party. Which means that all the parents go to these parties and talk and hobnob whatnot while the kids chase each other around tables and try not to destroy anything. Last weekend, I attended my first private school birthday party. Yes, daddy got gifted with the birthday party attendance. I was also, the only solo dad in attendance. There were moms and both parents and even a few grandparents, then unstereotypically, a Black dad. The Panamontanas…not setting back the race since 2009.

Because I’m an observationist and have been to a gazillion birthday parties that usually have zero to no white people present at all, it was interesting to attend a birthday party of the more well-to-do with a majority white cast. Also, this party was held at a bounce castle place – last time I attended a bounce castle place party I ended up with tendinitis and couldn’t move my arm in a circular motion for 4 months – not sombody’s home, so there was a bit of an equal playing field for observations. Nobody was in their home showing us pictures of sippin’ mai tais with Ta-Ta down in Nevada, papa, haha…word life. Just parents, the elements, and mayhem. It was fun though.

Here are some observations.

1. I was asked by a mother if I was familiar with comedian Kevin Hart. Apparently he has a routine about bounce castles. She saved herself the racism by pointing out the bounce castle routine.

I’m pretty sure I hit her with the “bish whet?” face. For one, I’m Black and I tiptoed into this party in my Jordans. Of course I know who Kevin Hart is. But also, I was thinking, “wait, you watch Kevin Hart comedy specials at home? I wonder if you also drink Hennessey. I won’t ask now, but that question is comin’ lady. It’s comin’. I’ll bet you …” Never mind. But I will say I had a brief moment of wondering if my Blackness was in tact. Like, don’t I look like I know Kevin Hart? Don’t play me boo.

2. But since we’re talking about potential racism, there were some Korean children there and one mother told the mother of the Korean kids that her children looked JUST alike. Like twins.

They did not look just alike. At all. In fact, I didn’t even know they were together. I was trying to figure out who the other kid belonged to. I ain’t saying she said that all Koreans look alike, but I ain’t saying that she didn’t say it either.

3. I saw a child physically put her paws on her mother because she was upset.

One of the people working there was Black. He also witnessed this. We both looked at each other like, “I wish I would have put them paws on my mother in a tantrum…” It was at that point I realized that not only do Black men do the nod in order to acknowledge one another in a sea of Blackness, Black folks ALSO look for one another when we see white folks put up with some shit that would usually end up in a collossal beat down. She took it like a G though. Which means her child does this frequently. I have no idea how that child is still alive.

4. I ALSO saw a  child allowed to go into a bounce castle after she had soiled herself. Her mother saw it. I saw it. We all saw it.

At that point I said “check please” and me and mines left.

5. I watched a kid take his pizza, place it on the floor, drag it across the floor, then attempt to eat it. My child intervened and told his mother.

His mother said that she thinks that the floor is probably cleaner than our hands. I then watched this boy eat a slice of pizza he dragged across the floor. I’m not even sure what to do with this.

6. At this place you have to sign a waiver saying that if your kid dies, gets impaled, or ultimately breaks every bone in their body, the establishment is not liable. Fair enough. The dude making us sign the forms comes around and asks if my kid has a band. I say no and fill out the form. He says, which kid is yours?

“The Black one.”

“Right.”

“My man.”

7. The only other Black person there was a Black man married to a white woman. There’s really no there there, but let’s just say, I spoke to him when he got there, but then stopped almost immediatley. We not the same peoples, white wife or not.

8. For those without kids, those of us with them usually hope that our kids don’t embarass the shit out of us in public by doing something insane or having a tantrum to end all tantrums, etc. I mean, we all judge the parents based on the kids actions. My kid? I no longer wonder if we’re doing a good job raising her. It was remarked so many times how polite, well mannered, and mature she was for her age. We aren’t raising a robot, we’re raising a good kid. I also realized how well…adjusted my child is. Mine eyes have seen some things yo. Young Panamontana, you good munchkin. Forever.

9. Culturally, I wonder how much emphasis is placed on respect in non-ethnic households, in general. I only ask this because I was amazed at how many of those kids in there talked to their parents in any kind of which a way. I’m just not familiar with that life. I’m still afraid of my dad now. You just never know with Black parents. Then again, I’m learning that it ain’t all Black parents.

That’ll do.

 

 

Panama Jackson

Panama Jackson is pretty fly (and gorgeous) for a light guy. He used to ship his frito to Tito in the District, but shipping prices increased so he moved there to save money. He refuses to eat cocaine chicken. When he's not saving humanity with his words or making music with his mouth, you can find him at your mama's mama's house drinking her fine liquors. Most importantly, he believes the children are our future. You can hit him on his hitter at panamadjackson@gmail.com.

  • Nick Peters

    I survived “The Landon School For Boys”

    From 3rd grade through high school

    Home of 1/2 of the first and greatest Lacrosse Rivalry in America (other half Georgetown Prep: where Roy Hibbert went to high school…actually saw him in High School)

    and..George Hugely

    • Rachmo

      “I survived “The Landon School For Boys””- Off Wilson? I am currently typing this from Bethesda. #mocosnitches

      PAUSE- and George Hughly. Omg I can’t

      • Nick Peters

        Most definitely

        Wilson Lane

        Having flashbacks of catching the Red Line @ Ft Totten all the way to Bethesda and the Ride On to school

        Knew Hugely too…had classes with him every semester from 9th grade up

        • Rachmo

          Was he crazy? Were you surprised?

          • Nick Peters

            Yea I was. He was a regular spoiled kid who never had to deal with any consequences in his life and never had to deal with adversity. What made it worse was that he was one of the best Lacrosse players in the DC Area…so he was really put on that pedestal.

            • Rachmo

              Real talk when I heard he was an NCAA LAX guy I was so unsurprised. I went to Mercy in Bmore I saw a lot of that LAX worship and most of the guys who played it were total @ssholes.

              • Rog

                I went to Curley and we always viewed the Calvert Hall, Loyola and Gilman etc. kids to be on an entirely different plane when it came to privilege.

                • Epsilonicus

                  AGREED!

              • menajeanmaehightower

                Sometimes, the best thing to do is to not bail your kids out of trouble.

  • He who thinks before he speaks

    “It was at that point I realized that not only do Black men do the nod in order to acknowledge one another in a sea of Blackness, Black folks ALSO look for one another when we see white folks put up with some shit that would usually end up in a collossal beat down.”

    Lmao! Some will never understand the unspoken bond between Black men.

    • Sigma_Since 93

      You’re hundred miles away and I know you just did this……..cause I read it and did ti too

    • Meridian

      *insert white person who totally gets it*

  • Keisha

    Loved this! …and you’re right. It’s not all black parents…times are definitely changing. I volunteer in the nursery at a mixed church. I’ll never forget the time I saw a little black kid two piece his mom, also black, because he didn’t want to put on his jacket. I instinctively stepped back and waited for her to handle business. Her response? NOTHING. Nada. Zilch. Everytime I see her, I just shake my head. Her Bebe kid doesn’t act up with me though.

    • Sigma_Since 93

      he would have caught some Sigma wood………………

      • IcePrincess

        And I wish a child would like a kitchen cabinet!!

    • I love that you gave her space to do her thing….

    • Imoteda

      LOL! You gotta back up to give her room to swing back

  • Agatha Guilluame

    But I will say I had a brief moment of wondering if my Blackness was in tact. Like, don’t I look like I know Kevin Hart? Don’t play me boo.

    LOL

  • Camilleblu

    lol, pj…white people are special for true when it comes the the fluckshyt they let their children get away with at b-day parties – regardless of who is hosting them… i have definitely had to ask a little white girl who she thought she was talking to during a bday party for my son. i also refused to allow my son to go outside at a #whiteparty where the hosting parents were letting the kids shoot off REAL arrows unsupervised.

  • Imoteda

    LOL! This sounds like all the interactions I had with my daughter in Canada, except I was the stereotypical single black mother which led to what was almost a drag down fight at a birthday party (only in my head, I’m too boughie to actually take off my earrings and start a fight). A mom came up to me and started a conversation and budget cuts in the city and how it has affected child care subsidy and she was so sorry for the added strain to me about it. I looked at her and was like “Oh?” Common sense did not prevail so she kept talking. I had to give her a good read about her life. Needless to say she did not invite my daughter to her daughter’s birthday party. But I invited her to my daughter’s themed birthday party in my nice 5 bedroom corner house. A party I only threw because I realized that these white people really thought I was a poor social welfare collecting, baby daddy drama having, weave patting single mother.

    They were much nicer to me after the birthday party though so I guess it worked…

    • st george doesnt exist

      just saw this on black ish.. those moments when art and life meet for the truth. damn. hell you showing those saltines ( salty crackers) that you dont need their f’ing pity or handout probably had their a ss sick and turning green.

      • Meridian

        I was thinking that when I read this. Like, uh. I have it better than you actually, but thanks.

    • Mrs Mowete

      WOWOW!!! That is crazy!! The same thing happened to me! I went out to lunch with a coworker and he immediately starting preaching about why he’s a democrat and not a republican. I mean it was so out of the blue I was thinking ‘ummm, it’s okay! I don’t blame you for slavery… I just want to order this Ceasar Salad’ It was THAT awkward.

    • Evvie Truth

      GIRL! yes. We live in the same development as a few of the moms in our soccer league. Those chicks were SO shocked when I name them the home we built (we all have the same builder, but with different tier levels). WE top tier. We ( hubby and I ) work hard for this life for our family, these chicks stay trying to subtract from what we have. Nope.

      I’m not ashamed of being from the projects, but ALL this is mine. No handouts given!

      When my daughter had her bday party we rented a HUGE water slide, they saw it being delivered, we only invited one child from her team (she wasn’t feeling the rest of those girls) one of the moms (her daughter wasn’t invited) heard through the gossip mill we had rented the slide and asked for the company name. Next time she saw me she was like “Oh Evvie they wanted X amount of dollars for that slide” I slow blinked and calmly told her “yes I know that’s what I paid and I gave a good tip because they were so wonderful” *side eye* Bish Bye! LOL

  • Meridian

    Lol @ you going to a mostly white private school party and they were acting like some savages. The dragging of the pizza on the floor and the pissy child in the bouncy house is just too much. The dead panning is hilarious though. “Which one is yours?”…”The obvious one.” LOL. Sounds like as a parent, it was a pretty interesting intro into a different culture.

  • Val

    Great read, PJ. Your daughter will remember days like that one. Not because of the other kids or the bounce house or the food, she’ll remember because her dad took her.

    • Notfortoday

      Amen……………..

  • Rog

    Went from an all-black Catholic Elem/Middle School to Catholic High School with >10% black kids. Seeing the white kids’ interaction with their parents was one of the biggest culture shock.

  • st george doesnt exist

    I like this a lot. Sounds like a plot of black ish damn near. I have a friend in DC who is getting used to this as a black parent out there.

    • Madame Zenobia

      Wasn’t there an episode of the Bernie Mac Show like this?

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