The Setting: A bus in Manhattan, about 3pm, a weekday in September
Dramatis Personae: Father early to mid 30’s and his son, probably about 7- persons of color. Father wearing jeans and dark colored T shirt. Son wearing shorts and T shirt sporting a backpack and carrying a lunch box. Woman, white, 70ish NPR tote bag and Biden/Harris pin displayed proudly
They are seated in the front of the bus in the seats that face each other. Me, your narrator is one row behind.
Son: I want the backpack like the other kids at school have, The lunch box sticks to it
Father: You don’t have to have things just because other kids have it
Son: But it’s easier. And it’s better
Father: We’ll talk about this later
Son: Mom said I could have one
Father: I give your mother money. If she thinks you need it she can use the money
Son: But it’s a really cool backpack
Woman: You really don’t need another backpack.
Kid looks away from woman, Father squirms on seat.
Woman: You know things cost money and sometimes the money is best not spent on things like this. You could carry your books to school in anything. You could reuse a plastic bag.
Father and son still trying to look away.
The woman continued to lecture the son about value and backpacks and saving the world one backpack at a time. OK- she didn’t say that. But she really kept talking and even I was ready to day “Oh for God’s sake would you shut up” and she wasn’t even talking to me.
So I must ask the following:
Should you jump into an argument between a parent and a child when there is no reason to suspect that violence is about to occur?
Was the women “whitesplaining” by interfering, assuming that a person of color couldn’t handle a situation with his son?
Was the women “womensplaining” assuming a man doesn’t know how to parent?
Was the women “oldsplaining” assuming that someone youngish doesn’t have the maturity to handle the situation?
Was the women butting in where she didn’t belong at all?
Did the women have every right to interfere with this situation because it’s our duty as citizens to further explain things to a child?
Did she embarrass Father, son or both?
Did she make the person one row behind cringe every time she talked down to the man and the child?
What’s your opinion on this matter?