Barak and Martin

Jem and Addis (or is it Barak and Bo?)
The boys and I went to our favorite restaurant for dinner tonight.  It's the only restaurant in town and we are regulars.  We were enjoying our food and each other when a boy of about 6 came in with his mom.  While they were waiting for a table, the mom quickly became engrossed in a conversation with another woman.  The little boy came right over to our table and pointed at Jemberu.

His voice booming, he said, "Hey!  You look just like Barak Obama!  You look like Barak Obama!"

He was so loud that the people around us stopped talking and turned toward our table.  The boys and I stared at each other with our 'what the heck' faces.

The boy ran to his mother and yelled, "He looks like Barak Obama!"

The mom came close to me and said "He just had a therapy appointment." and then added in a stage whisper, "He's kind of special."

She returned to her conversation, her son ran back to our table.  This time he pointed at Mikias and yelled, "And you!  You look just like Martin Luther King!"

Now everyone around us was quiet.  Jemberu broke the silence by saying, "Looks like someone has never seen a brown kid before."

Our fellow diners returned to eating.  Friends who were seated nearby commented at how uncomfortable the exchange was.

The boys were embarrassed.  Jem wanted to know what his deal was.  Mikias wanted to know what being special meant.  I didn't know what to say other than that some kids don't have complete control over the way they act and might not understand that what they are saying is rude or embarrassing.  I told them I was really sorry about the boy making them feel uncomfortable.  I told them I was uncomfortable, too.

I try hard not to judge other parents.  I don't know what they are dealing with.  I will admit though, I found myself thinking that that mom should have stopped talking and paid attention to what her son was doing. Seriously, after the Barak comment the MLK comparison could have been stopped in it's tracks.

However, I was thinking, that since my sons' are the spitting image of Barak and Martin, and this Monday one is being inaugurated and the other's birthday is being celebrated, perhaps dinner should have been on the house.