It was a beautiful Saturday night. We were sitting on the patio at a fabulous restaurant with another couple, enjoying the cool breeze on our faces as jazz music played in the background.
Everything was perfect—the view, the food, the atmosphere. Even Tori was on her best behavior, charming the people around us with her gap-toothed smile.
Conversation was light, centering around people we knew and things we’d recently done.
But when a Muslim couple walked in and crossed in front of our table, the evening took a horrifying twist.
You see, while the man was wearing Western-style clothing, the woman was dressed in traditional attire—with a scarf covering her hair and face and a long, black robe cloaking her body. And our dinner companion? Did not approve.
He immediately started grumbling. “Oh no. Would you look at that. Why don’t those people just go back to their own damn country if they want to act like that?”
Although his wife shushed him, he continued in the same vein for several more horrifying moments.
Finally, his wife stomped on his foot and said, “Stop it. Stop it right now.”
And he did. But the damage had been done. My evening was ruined. Not just because of his blatant racism, but because of my inability to say anything. When he started in, the voice in my head said, “Tell him to quit it. Tell him that’s not right. Tell him!”
But instead, I silently examined my plate, pretending I couldn’t hear what was going on.
What kind of example is that for my daughter? I mean sure, she doesn’t have a clue what he’s saying right now, but in a couple of years, she will. And if I let incidents like that pass, she’ll think it’s okay. That it’s alright to make fun of people because they’re different. That racism is acceptable.
And that? Is not okay in my book.
So, I made a promise to myself. A promise to stick up for what I believe in. To not let others get away with behavior I condemn. To open my mouth and say something when the situation demands it.
Because I? I’m doing my damnedest to bring my daughter up to be a strong, confident woman. And the racist sexist pigs of this world better not stand in my way.
I am Mommy. Hear me roar.