So! Random Story time.
A few weeks ago, when I was doing this GRE test thing (maybe I mentioned that?), I called my dad. I got to the test center ridiculously early, and after doing at least an hour of last-minute cramming, I called my parents, because what else are parents for if not to listen to you freak out about standardized tests on Saturday mornings?
So. I called my house, my dad answered, we talked. He started telling me stories to distract me from the impending doom, and one of the stories he told me, it was just so great that I needed to share.
But! Before I do, you should understand something. My dad and my sister, they're... outgoing would be the nice way to put it. Embarrassingly forward might be the way that my mom and I would normally put it. My mom and I believe strongly in the "don't make a scene" school of social interaction, and my dad and my sister believe in the "say whatever is on your mind" school. Maybe it's not as bad as that, but it's sort of a running joke that my dad regularly exasperates my mom and I.
That being said, sometimes my dad's willingness to speak his mind, no matter the potential awkwardness, makes me so very proud. Getting back to the original story, we were talking before the GRE, and he was telling me random stories about Wisconsin in an effort to distract me. Somehow we started talking about the village where I grew up. We weren't really popular in said village, partially because we hadn't lived there for three generations and primarily because we didn't go to church. I always sort of assumed that was the main reason at least, but apparently there was more to it. Oh, and yes, it really was legally classified as a village.
I was only five when we moved to the village, so I obviously don't remember the early years very well. My dad was friends with the neighbor family's dad until they moved, but I have vague memories of them being closer when I was younger. The story that I'm getting to in a very roundabout way is the reason he was never really closer with that family or closer with all the many, many villagers that said family was friends with. Basically, the reason we didn't have much social contact with the villagers.
My dad was over at the neighbor's one day, and by that I mean he was hanging out in the neighbor's garage, drinking beer with all the other manly men, with their beer and their cars and their whatever. And to paraphrase my dad, "[this very, very respected member of our community] was telling a story, and it was just n-word this and n-word that, and I looked at him, and I go 'have you ever even met a black person?' and, well, I wasn't very popular after that."
...yeah. My dad, he's a pretty cool guy.
My village, it's... well, according to Wikipedia, "the racial makeup of the village was 97.94% White, 0.10% African American, 0.52% Native American, 0.41% Asian, 0.31% from other races, and 0.72% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.93% of the population" of 969. Which seems believable except for the part where it's not 100% white. Well, I guess I'm like 4% Native American, so maybe there were others? Oh, did I ever tell you about the time I had olive-toned skin and the kids would ask "if I was Indian or something" when I was in grade school? I didn't get why that was an insult at the time, so I'd just be like "yeah, my great-grandmother or someone was."
Maybe it's not fair to badmouth my village? The point here is that my dad didn't sit back and let racism go; he pointed out the ridiculous ignorance at play, because that guy really might not have met a black person, or at least spoken with one for longer than thirty seconds. He also totally did an awesome job at distracting me from my GRE panic. My dad is pretty cool.
[sidenote: Okay, no one from home reads this but Meghan and Beth, and I'm not even sure they do, so ladies, if you're out there, ask me about this next time you see me, because you will seriously not believe who the racist douchebag is.]