Each family was supposed to send in a food from their cultural heritage. To be honest, I had forgotten that it was Diversity Day. I've had a lot on my mind.
Still, I figured, no problem – she and her dad can just pick up some croissants at the new fancy French patisserie around the corner in our increasingly hyper-gentrified neighborhood.
He's French. I'm Irish-American. We usually send in Irish soda bread, so it was time for the more upscale interpretation of wheat flour. Except the French bakery wasn't open, so no croissants were to be had.
Instead, her dad suggested that she take the watermelon from the fridge.
For Diversity Day.
No matter how many different ways I attempted to explain to the two of them that taking a watermelon to school for Diversity Day would be a tremendously bad idea, I just could get the idea across. The idea that a watermelon could be racist eluded them both. Her dad, being French, didn't know the history of racist watermelon imagery.
Our girl protested: "How could it be racist? It's a watermelon. It's fruit, it's healthy."
The school bus was arriving, they were determined that she should take the watermelon, so she departed, white girl with a watermelon in a sack for Diversity Day.
I emailed her teachers to explain and ask them to run interference on this cultural misstep. And then I sat down and wept.
Some day this may be funny. Today, not so hilarious.