Friday, September 6, 2013

It's 9:45 on Friday night, and I'm feeling annoyed.

And I can't do a thing about it.  I just typed on my friend's Facebook wall, "I was hoping the world were different," and I know that's a stupid platitude which helps no one.

Here's the thing.  Every year for several years in a row, my daughter and I attended a super eventing camp run by a couple of famous Olympic-type riders.  (They haven't had camp for the past two years; in 2012, one of the rode on the Olympic team, and now the other, her husband, is coaching the national team.)  Camp was always a mix of up-and-coming fantastic teenage riders and happy middle-aged amateur adults.  We always had a blast.

Every year, I would meet a few people at camp that I'd carry with me afterward as friends.  The last time, summer two years ago, one of those friends was a teen I'll call Katie.  Katie was in my small riding group; she is funny and bold and smart and athletic, a great role model for my own slightly younger daughter.  Halfway through camp I started urging Katie to consider applying to my alma mater, Smith College; to my absolute delight, she matriculated there a week ago. 

Katie was able to take her horse to college; she's boarding him not at the school barn, which has very limited turnout, but at a lovely eventing facility nearby. 

This evening she posted this on Facebook:

Let me save you the breath. Yes, I am black. Yes, I am a horseback rider. Yes, Woody is mine. And yes, I do in fact board here. So if you are done staring, Woody and I will be on our way.

*headdesk* *headdesk* *headdesk*

It's alright, she wrote in reply to my expression of sympathy.  Happens all the time.

Well, it shouldn't. 

I know Katie's parents raised her to be strong and resilient and aware.  But I still hate anything, anything, that she has to deal with that makes her feel one iota less welcome, less included, simply less than my white daughter.  It's 50 years after Dr. King had a dream.  Can't we do a little better now?