"My mom didn't like my Halloween costume," Beloved Brillient YRUUer said. "And then she followed my friends in the car when we went trick or treating."
"What was your costume?" someone asked.
"I wore a poncho and a sombrero and a little mustache. My girlfriend went as border patrol."
There was silence. Crickets chirped.
"I can see why your mother had a problem with that," I said, also thinking that Mom probably followed BBY in case someone decided that the proper punishment for a punk kid in a racist Halloween costume was an asskicking. Not an unreasonable worry, I'm thinking.
No one else said anything, but the stares that Beloved Brilliant YRUUer got were not friendly ones.
In retrospect, I realize that this was the classic 'teachable moment.'
But I let it pass, at least partially because I was loath to start an entire discussion that would consist of condemning the kid's Halloween costume various ways, even though the costume and the wearer arguably deserved it.
But the more I've thought about it over the last day, the more I have wished that I had started a group discussion on racism. Next weekend, I have a law school thing Sunday morning, so the soonest I will be back in front of the YRUUers is the week after, a day short of a full two weeks after Halloween.
The idea time to start the discussion has passed I know, but how should I handle it from here?
Offer to lead a talk on immigration and focus the discussion on the complexity of the issues? (Possibly too subtle, but still the best alternative I've thought of.)
Actually say, "Hey, I know I didn't say this at the time, but the idea of going for Halloween as a Mexican really bothers me. Can we talk about what that means?" (Puts kid on the spot)
Assume that the Mom already had the talk and that if it didn't get through when she said it, I'm not going to make greater headway. (Cop out)