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to think DD is a bit racist?

(58 Posts)
msjones80 Tue 26-Mar-13 12:48:38

Since she was 3, approx and started going to nursery, she started saying that she didn't like black girls etc. Wouldn't say why - just that she didn't like them, in general. I though it was weird and upsetting but didn't know what to do. So I made sure she knew I have friends of all colours and backgrounds, etc. Now she's 5, and still refers to my friend "X" as "my black friend", which I correct everytime. She doesn't want to hang around with black children in her class or in the playground, although she's polite. Seems to be ok with Asians though, has told me she wants to be Chinese. I am really puzzled, don't know where she gets it from. We don't have a TV and my family is absolutely not racist.

As with many crazy things kids say, I try not to make a huge deal out of it and just explain things calmly. But just yesterday night I ordered her a doll and I told her this morning, and the first thing she asked was if it was black. Gah. "Little Hitler", I thought. "No, it's blonde with blue eyes, completely Aryan...".

Maybe that's the problem, maybe I should get her a black doll?
How can children be naturally racist? Have you got any tips, and by the way AIBU or is this a normal thing?

abzfrom5ive Tue 26-Mar-13 15:09:07

shock

Booyhoo Tue 26-Mar-13 15:09:47

hmm

everyone programs their children. i'm not even addressing the rest of your post.

IsabelleRinging Tue 26-Mar-13 15:19:39

I disagree with those that say she is imitating the adults and other children around her. I think many young children are puzzled about those that may look different to themselves, it is not racist, she is just noticing the dfferences, and like many children may have a fear or wariness of those differences. It is up to parents to then educate their children that it is OK to be different and to embrace it and also to notice the similarities as well. My dd was like yours OP when she started school, but now at age 7 she is friends with all the children in her class.

I think she is picking it up from adults. Most young children I know will refer to those with African heritage as "brown" rather than "black". My granddaughter used to refer to her "brown family" when referring to the side of the family with Jamaican heritage. I guess childhood logic when referring to skin colour is to refer to actual colour.

DD (3) was fascinated by the difference in skin colour when she was little. Now it's just normal - she has a black uncle and a black auntie, and step-siblings of various shades. She calls them brown though.

ComposHat Belgium Tue 26-Mar-13 15:26:54

Milf rocket - how are things over at piston heads these days?

DialsMavis Tue 26-Mar-13 15:27:29

confused

MilfRocket Tue 26-Mar-13 15:29:24

What is piston heads? I'm unfamiliar with that.

abzfrom5ive Tue 26-Mar-13 15:31:45

so you've been lurking for a response to your abuse all that time have you milfRocket?
knob

Easter holidays...

FreyaSnow Tue 26-Mar-13 15:33:16

Children pick up odd ideas. DD was horrified by blonde children. She was actually blonde herself, but she was horrified by children who were very blonde, treating it as some kind of illness. I have no idea why. The only thing you can do at that age is explain that you have to treat all people kindly and judge people as individuals on what they say and do, not on appearance. It isn't acceptable to say anybody is nasty based on their physical appearance, and I think you do have to forbid it.

BegoniaBampot Tue 26-Mar-13 15:45:05

It's not always learned from parents or such, I think kids can just find differences when they are little a little strange or something they don't quite understand. My young child used to go to school where the overwhelming majority were Asian, particularly Chinese. We thought it was great that he would grow up sort of colour blind but when we left and decided to return a few years later, he said that he didn't want to go back to that school as there were too many Chinese people. I was so surprised, especially as the majority of his friends out of school had been Asian and Chinese.

SatsukiKusukabe Tue 26-Mar-13 15:47:20

begonia was that more to do with being a minority rather than not liking Asian people?

SatsukiKusukabe Tue 26-Mar-13 15:50:49

op, I come from a mixed race family and frankly I'd just be saying we don't speak that way and it's wrong. explain that you would not be happy if someone judged her for her skin color and that it's not nice to talk that way. I would get the black doll and some books too

HoHoHoNoYouDont Tue 26-Mar-13 16:00:33

I personally think Racism is learned by a child by things they see and hear from adults or from other children who have been around racist people.

As a child back in the 70s all my school friends were white, there were no other ethnicities in my school back then. However, my best friends at home were Asian. I didn't even realise a 'difference' until I was much older. To me they were just friends (and still are).

blueemerald Tue 26-Mar-13 16:26:51

I wondering she's saying it to get a reaction from you? You said she knows it upsets you?

HollyBerryBush Tue 26-Mar-13 16:30:48

Do the black girls stick to themselves?

Oddly, working in a very mixed secondary, which has no discernible racism, the black children tend to group together, but I don't think it's a colour thing, it's more to do with traditional home life and strong Christian beliefs.

JamieandtheMagicTorch Tue 26-Mar-13 16:31:53

Totally agree with Isabelle

EssexGurl Tue 26-Mar-13 17:56:04

Maybe she had an issue with that particular child and so it was her way of describing her? Can't believe a 3 yo thinks in a racist was. We have friends where mum is white and dad is Asian. DS sees them v rarely and couldn't remember their daughters name. At a party he called her "the brown girl". No one in the room batted an eyelid and just reminded him of the girls name. Just a description. Would it have been different if she was blond and he said "the blond girl"? I think you are over thinking it.

topsyandturvy Tue 26-Mar-13 19:05:35

OP, if you are sure there are no issues at nursery, and no exposure to racist values (are you certain about this in the nursery context?) then I would actually ignore it. No black dollys, no chats with friends, no educational books.

In my view it will blow a nothing (I dont think your daughter has racist views, I think she is trying to explain something and hasnt got the language skills to do so properly, although I have no idea what she is trying to say).

Coming from your 3 year old it most likely means absolutely nothing like what it means to us as adults, none of us could probably guess what she really means.

Here is an example, my children are not exposed to racist beliefs, once my ds, then 6 was explaining to me which of two men (one white, one black) he was talking about and he said "the black man", fortunately it only took me a second to twig that he did not in fact mean the black man (who he would most probably have called the brown man), but the white man who was wearing black clothes!

thegreylady Tue 26-Mar-13 19:14:44

When my ds was a baby [up to age 2] we lived in Sierra Leone.He had one white friend who,like him had blonde hair and light skin. We came home when he was 2 and he started at a Montessori nursery school at 2.6.On his first day he went up to a dark skinned girl and patted her face saying,"Like you-you are a nice colour!"
I am sure children identify closely with the familiar.
Ds went from being surrounded by black people with just the odd white one to the complete opposite.Seeing that little girl seemed to make him feel comforatble in a world he could recognise.Interestingly he very quickly stopped noticing colour at all and just fitted in to the group.

pigletmania Tue 26-Mar-13 19:26:42

I would be firmer with her like someone unthread has said. Tell her it's discrimination, you will not allow it and punish her if she dies say negative things

pigletmania Tue 26-Mar-13 19:30:05

Op has sad her dd is 5 now so is not a toddler

KitchenandJumble Tue 26-Mar-13 19:37:23

Children internalize messages that the larger society sends, in terms of gender, ethnicity, skin color, etc. Have you heard of the experiments using dolls in the US? (Coincidentally, your OP mentions dolls, which is why I thought of these experiments.) Black and white children were presented with two dolls which were identical except for skin color. There was a significant preference for the white doll among all the children. The children tended to call the white doll good, pretty, nice, and they called the black doll bad, mean, ugly. These experiments were used in school desegregation cases in the US, to show how racism becomes internalized.

Now, you might say that these results reflected the larger society of the Southern US prior to the civil rights movement. However, the experiment has been repeated quite recently with (sadly) similar results.

So maybe that is what is going on with your DD. She sees that certain groups are not as valued in society and she has absorbed that message.

Or maybe she just sees that these comments bother you, and she repeats them to get a rise out of you.

In any case, don't despair. Your DD is not destined to become a racist. I would certainly continue having discussions with her, explaining that it is wrong to judge people by the color of their skin. Perhaps appeal to her sense of fairness, e.g., "How would you like it if someone said they didn't like you because you have blue eyes (or whatever)"?

Cherriesarelovely Tue 26-Mar-13 19:37:47

If if makes you feel any better OP Dd told us that she was really scared of my DP when she moved in after we had been seeing each other for a year. Dd was also 3 at the time. She told me "'I've never lived with a black person and I've never seen them do normal things like reading". After that, occasionally she would make little comments about DP's dark skin and mention that her friends laughed at her because she now had a black and a white mummy. We just talked to her about it gently but accepted that her comments were just her being honest and coping with a new and unfamiliar situation.

I agree with MsAkimbo and several other posters though. I would explore it with her to see if there has been an incident but I would then make it quite clear that to talk about others like this is wrong and hurtful.

propertyNIGHTmareBEFOREXMAS Tue 26-Mar-13 20:05:11

My God at some of the comments out of children's mouths hmm

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