Not the petting zoo

Today I had an unusual experience. We were at the zoo. It was extremely busy- Wednesdays are free. I forgot this. Usually I don’t go on Wednesdays because it’s packed. We budget each year for membership. 

Yet there we were on a hot summer Wednesday. I decided to let my daughter play on rocks and spend as much time being happy regardless if we saw anything. There were crowds and lines so I just stayed calm and breezy. 

After we spent an hour or two in the children’s zoo, we wandered out and over to the carousel. The line was somewhat long but my daughter insisted. The baby was getting fussy but to save my sanity I said yes. We patiently waited and slowly moved with the line. I am so proud of my girl, she was calm when normally queuing up gets her so antsy. I was holding my baby and watching my daughter when I noticed a kid put his hands on my stroller. Not menacingly just as if it was his. Then a young girl he was with starting touching it. I politely said please don’t touch my stroller. The brakes were not on and these kids we’re knocking it into the woman in front of me. Then I noticed they were not with the family directly behind me in line nor the next family. No, these kids were 3 families back. Another child was weaselling his way up as well. The two famines behind me looked annoyed. 

Then it happened. 

One of the girls reached out and pet my daughters hair. She had her back turned but quickly spun around and looked confused. I asked the kids to stop and move away from buggy. As I went to push buggy forward two of those kids started to stroke my daughters hair, pet her head like an animal and touch her arms. 

I had to say sternly stop touching her. My daughter looked distraught and violated. I told them to leave her alone and I told them to go pet the goats not my child. I turned around. The families behind me looked appalled at these kids but. Said nothing. The adult ladies with these kids didn’t care at all. 

That’s when I had the thought: my daughter is fair skin with white/blonde hair. These kids had dark skin and dark hair. If the roles had been reversed, white kids petting a black girl would someone have been quick to call is racist? 


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