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

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

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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.

  • Madame Zenobia

    A.) Audis are the best things ever. I still miss my Audi, can’t wait to get back to one.

    B.) I grew up in the suburbs and I’ll never forget the day….it was a warm April afternoon. School was out and four of us were at my friend Rob’s* house. Me (black female), Dee* (mixed male/White Mom), Mike* (White male), Rob & his two younger sisters (White). Rob’s mom had poured us all big glasses of water when he spied a bag with a sporting goods store logo on it.

    “Are those my soccer cleats?” He asked. “Yes,” she replied.

    He picked up the bag, opened the box, looked at the contents, then angrily looked at her, “These aren’t the right ones! You were supposed to get *insert some brand* cleats. F**K MOM! You never get sh*t right!”

    Everybody else in the room: *drinks water calmly*

    Me: *heart palpitations begin*

    The Mom: *sigh* “All right sweetie, I’ll exchange them tomorrow.” Turns to fridge to start making dinner.

    Rob, shakes his head in her direction, rolls his eyes at us, “Hey, let’s go shoot pool in the basement.” Everyone follows him.

    Young Madame Z is frozen in place for about two minutes, confused, distraught, fighting the symptoms of a minor stroke. I seriously couldn’t even pick up my glass, I was so dumbfounded. That was the day I learned White kids cuss at their parents.

    Meanwhile, I (now 30) said “Oh, sh*t” the other day when a car pulled in front of me, my mom was riding with me and I almost caught a backhand.

    “I wonder how much emphasis is placed on respect in non-ethnic households…” I’d wager little to none. The reasons for this were well written in yesterday’s article about education and privilege. When you are of color and step outside your house the perception of you for most will be based on society’s configurations. So we have to teach our kids all these rules (and carry ourselves a certain way) to try to protect from the misunderstandings and stereotypes the world forces on us. Middle class and richer White parents and children don’t feel the need to teach the type of respect ethnic households do; they essentially consider themselves the norm or standard.

    As PJ said yesterday, (and Kanye originally) regardless, we’re still just ninja’s in coupes. They, on the other hand, are Bradley Winthrop Carrington Sanders, VII. So, however they carry themselves is how they carry themselves. Why consider the outside’s perception of you? You’re *normal*. You aren’t responsible for anyone else’s actions and won’t be judged/held accountable for others’ actions.

    However, I have noticed some (not all) but some poorer/lower class White folk do teach their children similar to the way we teach ours. However, it’s more so as a means to get them to appear the same so they can fit in. Not out of a concern for safety or misunderstandings.

    *names have been changed to protect the White kids, not that it’s needed. Their parents don’t care.

    • Neptunes presents The Clones

      Audis,meh. Mercs all the way

    • Meridian

      This is a really good comment.

      “As PJ said yesterday, (and Kanye originally) regardless, we’re still just ninja’s in coupes. They, on the other hand, are Bradley Winthrop Carrington Sanders, VII. So, however they carry themselves is how they carry themselves. Why consider the outside’s perception of you? You’re *normal*. You aren’t responsible for anyone else’s actions and won’t be judged/held accountable for others’ actions.”

      That applies to black people too. We just don’t know it yet. I think everyone should just hand themselves some privilege and see if they like how it fits.

  • KKay

    So the following story is somewhat related to what Panama experienced.

    My sis and I moved to a new neighborhood a little over six years ago, and we moved from a straight working class neighborhood to a straight up middle class one (not bragging or anything, just setting the stage).

    Anyway, end of fifth grade rolls around for the youngest nephew and as to be expected there is going to be a celebration. My sis and I were expecting the usual thing: a low key program in the cafetorium where kidlets are given faux diplomas and pats on the back for a job well done. We were wrong. Like really, really wrong.

    First there was the field day that took up most of one day. Then they were treated to a special performance of by a kid-centric comedy troupe. I knew such people existed, but I’d never seen one or knew of anyone who had scene on in person. Kids were also given special treats at the performance. Then there was pool party in their honor catered with a DJ. Yes, catered with a DJ for fifth graders.

    My sis and I thought we had ventured into the Twilight Zone. The principal, who had just came to the school that year, felt the same way. She put her foot down over the formal dance and became persona non grata for some of the parents. As a fellow black woman, she pulled my sis to the side, and basically said, “these peeps are cray”

    Anyway, youngest nephew is now in high school, and my sister shudders at the thought of what her project prom fees will be. She’ll be dealing with the same group of parents and kids.

  • cryssi

    Yeah, I went through a situation with my nephews when I went to their movie night at school. They’re pretty much the only black kids in the school and I noticed much of this behavior that night. I was the only black person there and the youngest (21) besides this biracial black young man there with his white little brother. Twas awkward…. My sister no longer feels awkward, she has morphed into a really tan white soccer mom. I watched my 9 year old nephew throw a tantrum to end all tantrums, and I waited patiently for my sister to spank his little entitled behind. It did not happen, he got his way and then went to a birthday party.

    • I don’t spank. I will just straight pull my child away and go on home though. If anything, that scares White people worse. Apparently, a large Black guy carrying a child scares folk.

      • cryssi

        Oh no, not in front of “them”. They hadn’t even left the house yet. He was still in whooping range.

        See my sis is 13 years older than me, and she used to whoop me and her older 3 kids….but the baby gets away with murder, and then gets ice cream for his troubles lol.

  • Not to change the subject: but it looks like 106 and Park is going to be cancelled.

    http://cdn.hiphopwired.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/106-death-0-0.png

    • Nick Peters

      Does this mean Erica is calling off the engagement?

    • #shotsfired

  • afronica

    Two or three times while reading this, I laughed so hard that I couldn’t breathe. You’ve been on a roll this week, Panama.

  • Paradigm

    “I tiptoed into this party in my Jordans.” – I’m still mad I peeped the music vid for that song… Is it coonery when it’s a white person ackin’ the foo’

    You did a good job of stayin’ afloat in that environment but that’s the thing about Black people… We can navigate those environments w/out coming off as awkard more often than not

    • CamCamtheGreat

      I JUST saw this video yesterday. Those close-up shots were straight scary. Like a monster movie.

  • miss t-lee

    Dragging the pizza across the floor and then eating it???
    I am unable.

  • truthbesold

    That “white privilege” or entitlement starts at a young age and nurtures and matures as they grow old. And by the look of things the universe complies if you believe you deserve everything you want and should have everything you want – you get back what you put out. And in most black households you usually don’t have much told you don’t deserve much and society tries to make you believe you don’t amount to much. Some not all carry this stigma and struggle. I don’t condone unruly kids but seems both races are diametrically opposed in child rearing.

  • Lmaaaaaooo

  • About the whole White kids going buck on their parents, in my experience the reaction is a class thing. I know DC doesn’t really have a White working class, but trust me when I say in blue collar White households that the whole putting hands thing would have resulted in straight scrapping. In fact, in my experience, White working class parents are more likely to straight up FIGHT their kids than whip tail. They don’t start ish, but boy they will END it.

    Also, I had three different stories about White people looking old as f*ck. Last spring, I was at this party, and this White guy was there with this Puerto Rican chick whose rep is checking for older White dudes. Anyway, we get to talking hoops, and we seem to get along. I assumed he was like 40 something, but he was nice. The next day, I find out dude is younger than me. Da FUK!

    Second story involves a White guy at a party a couple of weeks ago saying that I’m young enough to be his son. I reply that I’m 35, and he looks shocked, then says “um…I could have had a child at 11, right?” The third involved me actually going back to track down a roommate from college. I know the dude is my age because we went to college together. Looking at his current photos though, if I didn’t know him, I would have sworn he was 50. LOL

    • AlwaysCC

      you are DEFINITELY on to something about the class thing. also, what class the parents grew up in has a lot of impact. if the parents grew up low/middle class, but made it big – those kids BETTA NOT think about going sideways!

      sidenote: and in the south, you betta say ma’am/sir especially when you’re in the midst of getting in trouble!

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