We lived in a small town in rural Illinois, but this is no excuse for what happened. I am a white woman, I have many friends of color, but at the time -when my daughter was 4- her education about the varieties of the human race were limited to what she saw on television.
A habit she had for a long while was to ask people if she could go home with them. Friends that visited, people in the gas station, police officers that pulled me over for speeding... yeah, anyone was fair game, and each episode highly embarrassing. I was positive each person asked to save my child from her boring home thought that I beat her with spatulas and tied her up in the basement.
One deceptively beautiful day, I took this attention-starved child to the grocery store. Like any good mother, I let her ride in the cart **
Yes. Yes, he was. He was also giving me a look like I was the wife of the Grand Dragon of the KKK. In my defense (and hers) our community had very few people of color, so she had never encountered someone of a different race, except on the television, as I mentioned.
I gave him an apologetic smile then said to my blonde haired, blue eyed, pale as clouds daughter, "Yes, honey. Don't pester him. He's trying to shop." Telling my child to be quiet is like telling Brando to put the ice cream down.
"Can I go home with you?" Ah, yes. Her most favorite question was asked, and again the wave of awkwardness puddled around my feet. "Honey, I said to leave him alone. I'm sorry, sir." I tried. He gave me a dirty look. He started to walk away. My child, to really drive home the point that I deserved the Shittiest Mother of the Year Award, started to cry and said, "You scared him off. I wanted to go home with him. He's BLACK!"
In the middle of a grocery store. Remember that, parents of lil tikes, the next time your child starts to act up in a store, a restaurant, a theater... they could just start screaming things that REALLY embarrass you, so drag their asses out to the car.