Saturday, January 29, 2011
Yesterday, I watched a boy of about 12 hurl his backpack repeatedly at a chain link fence until it finally cleared the top. I briefly considered helping him, but realized that I was even shorter, a fact I tend to overlook most of the time ~ I think of myself as a tall person traveling incognito. He then climbed over the locked gate and landed hard on the concrete school playground.
He wasn't hurt so I started to walk away when another boy passing by yelled, "You look like an illegal alien!" I thought he was joking as the other boy had surmounted a tall, locked fence. The first boy picked up his backpack and took off across the school yard. "Illegal alien!" yelled the boy on my side of the fence. "ILLEGAL ALIEN!!" Transported by his own cleverness, he yelled it several more times as he continued on his way.
It seemed a strange epithet, especially since the kid doing the name calling looked Hispanic while the climber was Black. One can only guess at the family situation which would make "illegal alien" the worst thing a person could be, or call someone. I guess with determination, we can always find something to make us feel superior to someone else.