Can We Move From Outrage To Reform?

I was the odd man out at the staff holiday party, so I meandered over to the food table.

I wasn’t full-time yet, so I wasn’t sure whether I was welcome. I’d made that mistake once before and wouldn’t dare repeat it.

I looked around awkwardly for someone to talk to.

Someone witty, or someone handsome, or someone who’d dominate the conversation so I could nod, smile politely, and eat my cheese cubes.

“My daughter moved back in with me. It’s just too bad because I was really looking forward to having the house to myself. I mean, I’m her mother, she’s always welcome. It’s just that…”

She stopped to make sure I was within earshot.

PERFECT. SHE WAS PERFECT!

“It’s just that she shouldn’t have gone to that school. I tried to tell her, but she thought she knew better than me. She’s just so stubborn. And she’s just like her father. I mean not exactly, but enough. If he’d been there, he would have told her not to go to that school. He should have been there. School is expensive, you know! You shouldn’t just…”

Whew! Now I could relax.

Let the nodding and smiling resume!

“Have you heard of them?”

I looked back up with a start.

“The band. You look like you’re about my daughter’s age. Have you heard of them? I mean, I don’t think you would have. They’re Irish.”

I wasn’t sure how much time had passed. I needed to re-engage.

What had she said? A band? An Irish band?

“You’re about my daughter’s age. Have you heard of them? They’re Irish.”

I struggled to find the target, but then it came to me.

“Oh, The Script? I love them! I actually saw them in concert not too long ago. Are you Irish, too? I didn’t realize.”

She looked at me quizzically and rolled her eyes, “O’Brien. Obviously.”

I smiled politely. “Oh. Well, my friend lives in Ireland right now! I’m thinking about going to see her.

Actually, one of my roommates in college went to Germany for a semester. I thought about visiting her then. I should’ve, but I didn’t.”

She looked up at me curiously. “It’s so drab there. Why Germany?”

“Gunter.”

She blinked.

“Gunter. Anjeanette Gunter.”

She blinked again.

Gunter is German.”

I looked at her quizzically and tried not to roll my eyes.

She blinked again.

“Is it? Oh. I didn’t realize.”

We need to have a conversation about race.