Obama wins: How do you explain this day to your children?

(242 Posts)
morningpaper Wed 05-Nov-08 07:12:42

How are you explaining the news to your children?

Do you mention race and if so, how?

Flamesparrow Wed 05-Nov-08 07:22:22

Mine are too young - in some way I am pleased, there will be no huge "first black president" thing for them, by the time DD is old enough to understand there will just be "The President"

I think I would mention it though - it is a big thing, no matter how unPC it is to mention colour any more, history has made it big from the time people were treated differently because of colour. You do need to go into the whole history though.

Buda Wed 05-Nov-08 07:25:12

I did tell DS but he was more interested in Ben10.

I will watch the news with him soon and explain more.

LadyLaGore Wed 05-Nov-08 07:28:08

i'll just say it
this is really cool coz its the first time a person with darker skin has gotten into this really special job and, get this kids, there are lots of people in the world who for some fool reason think that skin tone and where you are born mean anything at all about value or character, weird eh??
hes also a really exciting prospect to be in such a powerful position since hes really into lots of ideas i like the sound of and the last bloke was really not someone i liked'
something like that anyway.
most of it will go over their heads no doubt!
mine are 5 downwards btw.

I said 'Good morning dd, today is a historical day and we are celebrating' as she sat down to a bowl of chocolatey weekend cereal.

She is listening to the Obama speech as she eats.

ghosty Wed 05-Nov-08 07:36:54

Well, DS is nearly 9 and pretty clued up - Apart from the racial thing, he understands that Obama represents hope for the world really. He listened intently to the Australian Prime Minister's 'Sorry' speech earlier this year (apologising to the indigenous people of Australia for past wrongs and for the Lost Generation). He knows what racism is.
I told him that even recently, in MY life time, in parts of America there was racial segregation, and that today was so important for future generations ... He's been going round this afternoon saying "OOOO-bama! OOOO-bama!" grin

morningpaper Wed 05-Nov-08 07:38:09

I said "You are going to have to watch the news with me because there is a new president in America, and his family is from Africa so he has darker skin and people in America with family from Africa have always been bullied, so today is an exciting day because it means America is becoming a fairer place"

and I mentioned that his children got a puppy

or sommat

meanwhile they whined until I put the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse on

KatyMac Wed 05-Nov-08 07:41:14

DD (10) is struggling with this

She is mixed race (like Obama) & wants to know why he is 'black' - she asked 'does his mummy not count?'

I have spent ages getting her to be proud of who she & now she is confused again

morningpaper Wed 05-Nov-08 07:47:18

In America you are 'black' if you have any ancesters who were black see here

But yes you are right, he is really an African-American in a very literal sense (which is what he calls himself)

RubySlippers Wed 05-Nov-08 07:49:45

it is an extraordinary day

DS is 2.5, but we still vetoed the Hoobs and watched the news

DS seemed impressed with "the man who is smiling on TV"

it feels huge - was watching the news for most of the evening

Flamesparrow Wed 05-Nov-08 07:56:19

Have just had a chat with DD about it. She looked hmm - I told her that in years to come, people will ask where she was when she heard the news, and she will tell them she can't remember because she was only five

Callisto Wed 05-Nov-08 07:57:15

I told DD that it was a great day for the free world and that Barack Obabma is now the most important man in the world. At 3.6 I'm not sure how much she understands, but she has been aware of Obama for ages (she named one of her toys after him) and likes his voice.

It is momentous, I wish I was at the party in Chicago.

hauntinghippipotami Wed 05-Nov-08 07:58:10

Was his mother white as well? I knew his grandmother was.

Either way, it is brilliant news adn I am very pleased.
I have told ds (9) that America now has it's first black president and that this will be in the history books his children and grandchildren will read in school. He did a little bit on slavery at school a few years ago, so is aware (in a small way) about the opression of blacks, so he understands this is a big deal.

But he has now gone back to teasing his sister over the breakfast table so nothing much changes.... grin

onehitwonder Wed 05-Nov-08 07:58:19

Just tried to explain to DD 3 that I wanted to watch the news because 'America has a new president and it is very exciting'. DD, who obviously wanted CBeebees back on asap 'well its not very exciting for me'
grin ROLF. Fair point!

Poshpaws Wed 05-Nov-08 07:59:19

Told DS1 (7) this morning as it was on the news and I was crying (am Black so this is hugely significant for me) and I explained why and told him that this meant that he could truly be anything that he wanted to be. And he said that he now wanted to be President of Las Vegas hmm

morningpaper Wed 05-Nov-08 08:00:35

lol poshpaws. hmm!

SoupDragon Wed 05-Nov-08 08:00:50

Er, I'm not.

saltire Wed 05-Nov-08 08:04:27

Morning paper - have I read that correctly? If anyone any any "black" blood in them even from a generation back they are classed as black in the US? Or have I misread it? Sorry being dim this morning due to lack of sleep

Buda Wed 05-Nov-08 08:11:05

Well I explained a bit of the segregation stuff to DS and he was shocked. But it's all ok cos he is just going to go and kill THAT President - the one who let all that happen (too much Ben10 i think).

I then said that although Obama is black, some of his family is white and in fact there is a little bit of Irish in there too. DS much more excited about that! All the best people have Irish in them in his view.

IllegallyBrunette Wed 05-Nov-08 08:13:13

I'm not either. If they ask then I will, but I fully expect the eldest two will get an explanation at school today, and the only way i'd get ds to isten about it, is if the president owned a light saber.

cocolepew Wed 05-Nov-08 08:14:59

DD 1 is 10 and seems to be grasping how important it is, she was watching Newsround and we tried to explain to her.

DD 2 is 7 and isn't. When we were talking about it the other day she got very excited because she though DH said a 'Batman' hmm.

I let a cheer out when I heard so she knews some of us are happy grin

bozza Wed 05-Nov-08 08:16:19

I started trying to have a conversation with 7yo DS about it this morning. But didn't actually get beyond what an election was (like they have for school council) and where it was (in America) before he managed to provoke the cat into biting him angryand then the moment was lost and I had to do DD's hair and get out of the door to work.

Doodle2U Wed 05-Nov-08 08:16:26

Well it's driving me mad!

I know the fact that he is black is important but I don't want the children hearing "Even a black man can be president" and similar sentiments. I wish that could be played down so that my kids just accept that he was the best man for the job and don't even think about his skin colour - just accept him as another human being.

Poshpaws Wed 05-Nov-08 08:19:56

Hmm I can see what you're saying D2U,but it is significant if you are Black, mixed race or from and ethnic group as this represents that you can do anything. Hence why they go on about it. I would think that once he gets down to doing the job of being President, it will be less of an issue.

saltire Wed 05-Nov-08 08:21:49

DS2's take on it when I told him was "what, like Lando Calrissian(star wars) or Martha (Dr Who)". If somehting is explained to him in Dr Who or Star Wars tersm, then he understands.

themildmanneredaxemurderer Wed 05-Nov-08 08:23:35

i explained segregation to ds while we snuggled in bed this morning. talked about how black people had to sit at the back of the bus and couldn't go to the same uni and that it was only when aunty c was a little girl, not hundereds of years ago. and now-a black man is president and that is amazing.and said when he's grown uphe will be able to say 'i was there when..'

race shouldn't be an issue-but it is. it immenseley hopeful that usa has voted b. o in.

sophable Wed 05-Nov-08 08:25:16

you know what i nearly just walked into that minefield with ds 5 and then did a body swerve. i'm not sure i want him to 'see' colour yet as he totally doesn't.

bit torn on this.

ludaloo Wed 05-Nov-08 08:25:41

Mine are all too young to really grasp it but I will be explaining it all non the less.
Doodle I agree with you there....

Well done Obama

milou2 Wed 05-Nov-08 08:27:32

I asked my 2 if it was ok to be woken up at 6am to see the news before they went to sleep last night. They agreed.

I explained about people not being allowed to sit on the seats at the front of the bus, awful stuff, like aparteid, but called segregation. I said I was afraid even now some people would not be able to get the time off work to queue up to vote.

I went to sleep early too, like Christmas Eve, but not sure that it would actually happen !! I woke at 3am and saw that the election was going Obama's way. Then at 6am woke them to see the good news. This is such an important day...

Well done USA!

spokette Wed 05-Nov-08 08:29:06

Saltire, as long as you have a hue of excess melanin in your skin, you will always be seen as black first. Just look at the vile racism that has been aimed at both Obama and Lewis Hamilton who both have white mothers. I'm black and my DH is white and I know that the world will view our DTS as black first even though DT1 has brown skin and eyes and DT2 has fair hair and blue eyes!

Anyway, back to OP.

I said to my 4yo DTS this morning that this is an historic day. Today, a man was elected in a country that has a legacy of state enforced racism and it took many dedicated campaigners to give African-Americans the right to vote as well as the right to be judged by the content of their character, not by the colour of their skin.

I also said to them that Obama's achievement was down to his hard work, hope and an enduring self-belief that he would be judged on what he does rather than what he looks like. His natural intelligence, fierce tenacity and extraordinary commitment to his hope is what has got him to where he is, not the fact that he went to some exclusive private school or had parents who could buy him privilege and connections.

This morning I played Sam Cooke's song "A change is gonna come". Well change has come not just for America but for the world and I embrace Obama wholeheartedlysmile.

One of the most poignant moments for me was seeing Jesse Jackson with tears streaming down his face because he was with Martin Luther King when he was assassinated. My goodness, I hope King is smiling down on Obama because his dream has been realised.[humble emoticon]

spokette Wed 05-Nov-08 08:31:21

DTS has fair hair, fair skin and blue eyes

mamadiva Wed 05-Nov-08 08:31:29

I must say I done a rather strange and probably patronising thing when I saw this earlier.

I had my 2.5YO DS on my lap and said to him

ME. Do you know who that is?
DS. No
ME. That is the new president of America and today is very special because he is the first ever black president.
DS. Okay then plodded off.

Just thought Id explain although he is 2

I do have mixed race family though so it seems a kind of big deal IYKWIM.

Fillyjonk Wed 05-Nov-08 08:35:49

i've explained it to them in terms of race, because this IS important. I am not going to pretend to them that black people are not still hugely discriminated against. For him to be elected he did not, sadly , just need to be the best man for the job. He had to overcome centuries of racism and bigotry, and aside from that be, beyond a shadow of a doubt, the absolute best candidate possible in American minds, else he would not have had a chance.

racism is a vile thing, and I am not sheltering my mollycoddled white children from it.

Yes my ds1 is ten and is aware of the race issue. Over the last year or so I've talked to him about relevant things when they have arisen, e.g. Nelson Mandela around his birthday, Martin Luther King on his anniversary.

He's also been endlessly playing this Campaign Trail game which is a bit hmm but gave us the opp to talk about stuff too.

He was really pleased this morning.

LittleWhizzingBella Wed 05-Nov-08 08:38:53

The black thing comes from the one drop rule, where if you had even "one drop" of black blood (whatever that means hmm) you were considered to have been defiled by blackness, so you were black. It's a hangover from that, and I think that Guardian article is on the right lines.

DS 9 has already doen about Martin Luther King in school so knows about segregation. I told him that O had won and that means he'll be the first black president. He was kind of interested, but more interested in the Amber Spyglass.

mamadiva Wed 05-Nov-08 08:39:13

Right reading that back actually, I apologise because that sounded horrible! blush It was said in a nice tone if you get me wish I could explain more to DS but hes far too young to hear about segregation etc.

I remember hearing about it and crying because a teacher used me and my mixed race cousin as examples and said well back in those days you wouldn't have been allowed to talk or play with each other. That horrified me that went on!

It has gotten alot better over the years obviously but here's hoping one day racism disappears completely!

Spokette I so agree with you on that hope Martin Luther King is watching and smiling down at Barack Obama he's achieved the unacheivable in a way Well done you.

Also the U2 song Pride, ds1 loves it.

If you feeling at all emotional today!

needmorecoffee Wed 05-Nov-08 08:43:19

older 2 are teenagers so no explaining necassary. dd is 4 and if she could speak would be saying 'righty, now time for a disabled person to win' grin

LittleWhizzingBella Wed 05-Nov-08 08:45:11

to say nothing of a woman...

only one half of the population... hmm

but it's still an immensely momentous day, it feels like it. I have to say I jumped around the kitchen and then burst into tears when I turned on the radio. So I think the kids kind of got that something big was happenign. grin

Elffriend Wed 05-Nov-08 08:54:56

DS only two. He was a bit concerned that I was crying and smiling at the same time but no way to explain other than, "See that nice man on the telly? He has made people happy".

'Bout it really.


Doodle2U Wed 05-Nov-08 09:01:40

Filly, most of the Mnetters on here are of the generation that grew up with black faces alongside white faces, right? Certainly, I did. So I'm proud to be part of the generation which, more than any other before ours, can just accept people as being people, regardless of colour.

I want my kids to not even think colour.

They will, in time, learn about the centuries of racism and bigotry and understand the massive importance of what has just happened but if they start off with the premises "Even a black man can do this...", then black people, in their eyes, are back-footed before the kids are even out of the starting blocks.

It's not, in my head, about mollycoddling or hiding anything from them. For me, it's about breaking the damaging, negative stereotype thought chain.

We, as the parents of the next generation, have the education and opportunity, to foster total acceptance of ALL human beings, regardless of colour, ability, disability.

Kids just see people. Let's keep it that way!

Fillyjonk Wed 05-Nov-08 09:05:34

oh me too doodle

but thats not an option for them yet

we need more work before people can not think colour, and our kids are going to have to do that

Our culture is in many ways an institutionally racist one. How many black MPs do we have? (some I know but not many).

would love to believe that pretending to them that colour is irrelevant would solve all problems but sadly I don't think it WILL. There are real issues here and my white children need to take responsibility for, at the least, not perpetrating them.

MrsMattie Wed 05-Nov-08 09:06:40

My son is only 3 yrs old so I'm not talking about race or even politics, but I did tell him in simple terms about the election and the new president, called Barak Obama. He wanted to know what all the excitement was about so had to at least attempt to explain! My sister did get him dancing round the living room saying 'Go Obama!', though grin

Fillyjonk Wed 05-Nov-08 09:09:08

I also don't think you create racism by acknowleging that some people have had it harder than others

the difference is there. Yes it is purely a difference of perception of others, but that is still a difference.

My children's black, mixed race, etc friends do NOT have the option of living in a bubble where race just isn't an issue. I feel for me to allow my children to stay in that happy bubble would be just fostering another advantage of being born white.

I whooped in the car when I heard the news this morning. Because for the first time ever, because of Obama, I got remotely interested in politics as one of the guys running for US president was saying things that I agreed with. Regardless of colour. However, I do not underestimate the impact on many peoples lives having a mixed race US president. HOORAH!

skidaddle Wed 05-Nov-08 09:14:43

totally agree fillyjonk. I am mixed race and have lost count of the number of white people who have been utterly gobsmacked that I got a lots of racist comments at school. I think it is easy not to see prejudice when you're not a victim of it and I think you are absolutely doing the right thing in educating your children about this.

I tried telling DD (3) and DS (10months) about it but decided dancing round the living room was a more age-appropriate celebration

Poshpaws Wed 05-Nov-08 09:15:32

So agree with you,FJ.

Poshpaws Wed 05-Nov-08 09:17:47

Oops,sorry. Not about the White children's responsibilty bit but about the significance of colour bit blush.

MrsMattie Wed 05-Nov-08 09:17:48

I don't have to scrabble around in the library trying to finding a single bloody book (in this day and age!) about black and mixed race role models for my son, now. I can just point to the US president. Wicked grin

kingprawntikka Wed 05-Nov-08 09:18:40

My children are high school age, and so were already aware of the America's fairly recent history of segregation. I am pleased to say they find the idea that countries would have policies of segregation at all shocking ,let alone as recently as the 1960's. The colour of Obama's skin doesn't matter at all, but i think in the context of what a sea change this is in America then its relevant.This is a day i never thought i would see and i am greatly encouraged by the result.

PandaG Wed 05-Nov-08 09:19:45

Doodle - I didn't grow up with black faces as well as white - until I was 7 or 8 there was only 1 black boy at my school, and he had white adoptive parents. I don't want my children to see colour as soon as they look at someone, and generally they don't - we now live in a city not the sticks so they know lots of people of different heritages.

mabanana Wed 05-Nov-08 09:20:15

I've just found out my seven year old son has no idea what a black person is! They've done Black History month but he was clearly clueless - bless him. He just doesn't SEE colour at all. He has black friends, Chinese friends, mixed race friends, Asian friends and if I asked him to describe them he'd say, 'the one with the red t-shirt' or 'the one with long hair'. I think there is a risk if you bang on about race and disadvantage with really young children, you risk creating the image of black people as eternal victims.

PuzzleRocks Wed 05-Nov-08 09:21:47

DD is too young to appreciate but I look forward to discussing the significance of today with nieces and nephews.
How exciting that in future generations the President's skin colour will not even merit a mention.

KatyMac Wed 05-Nov-08 09:22:41

Doodle2u - My DD is 1 of 3 non-white children in her school - for her the whole issue is very real and scary - she was bullied for over 2 yrs and being black/mixed race was a 'weapon' the child bullying used

ermintrude13 Wed 05-Nov-08 09:23:34

Both our junior and infant schools did work around Black History Month, in which Obama was mentioned alongside black political figures, writers, actors, musicians, sports stars etc. so DD (10) and DS (6) were very clued up on it. DS said 'Yay, the one that looks like Lewis Hamilton won!'

I agree that there's no point forcing issues on kids but it's never too early to answer questions about race, politics, religion etc. in as frank a manner as possible - and I think it's great that most kids have lots of questions to ask.

Laugs Wed 05-Nov-08 09:23:44

What an exciting day!

DD is 2 so there have been very few explanations.

I said to her over breakfast "this is a monumental occasion". As if she would understand what monumental even means! I just felt like something had to be said I suppose. It also helps me fix it in my mind, so I can tell her when she's older where she was and what she was doing when she found out.

Doodle2U Wed 05-Nov-08 09:25:30

OK, I need to think about this a bit more in light of what you've taught me but as a quick reply:-

We want the same end result but we are approaching it, with our children, in different ways.

I want my kids to feel utter outrage, burning outrage with fire in their bellies, when they come across any kid of prejustice, which they will. I want them to feel the injustice and be totally intolerant of intolerance!

To achieve it, I want them to not see colour first. I want them to feel the impact and to deal with it. I don't want them to think "There's an instance of prejustice. Happens all over the country & has done for centuaries. Must try & do summat about it".
I want them in there, tackling it head-on!

Elffriend Wed 05-Nov-08 09:26:32

That's the thing isn't it Puzzle. I want DS growing up not seeing colour as an issue at all. I therefore understand why people might not want this election to be judged on colour but it IS significant and it marks a moment in history.

KerryMum Wed 05-Nov-08 09:26:56

you guys are so naive.

Poshpaws Wed 05-Nov-08 09:27:05

Mabanana, see Mrs Matties post. The election of Barack O is a really positive thing because she can now show her son a positive image of a powerful Black male. Same for me.

My Dss are mixed race. DS1 (7) does sees colour but not as a negative. His dad is peach, I am brown, he is light brown etc. He does not feel a victim because he knows who he is. Just becasue race is mentioned, it does not have to be in a negative context.

ohIdoliketobebesidethe Wed 05-Nov-08 09:28:07

I agree with FJ.

My eldest is 3.5 but surrounded by children of all races at nursery and our adult friends are pretty multicultural. It would be nice not to ever have to explain it ( esp as some of our mixed race friends have a complex heritage which just shouldn't need explaining) but I will try to teach her about racism when it comes up.

KerryMum Wed 05-Nov-08 09:28:10

just cause he's black doesn't mean anything about his politics or about the MAN (and by MAN I don't mean Obama - I mean the REAL people who are in charge in Washington)

stillenduringsurrey Wed 05-Nov-08 09:28:40

MP, my ds actually explained it to me, as I was sound asleep and he had got up early! grin

Mercy Wed 05-Nov-08 09:29:48

Dd is 7 and is to some extent aware of the significance of this election, especially as they have just done Black History month.

Ds is only 4 but when I took him to school this morning the teacher had the news on the white board so they will no doubt have a little talk about it.

I don't know.
My dd is three and has no perception of race. We are white as are most people in our village. She has a black friend at nursery and I am worried it might be risky to even implant the idea of difference at this point.
To use an analogy, if you were to say to a child of that age that some silly people thought there were monsters under the bed but there weren't really, you would still have implanted the idea of the monsters under the bed. What if it primes the child to then look for difference?

ohIdoliketobebesidethe Wed 05-Nov-08 09:30:35

Kerrymum- yes it helps to be ecstatic when you support what he says too.

I explained him being a man of colour and why it was important in America.

In Britain it was lovely to not make a big deal about Lewis Hamilton being the first black formula one driver.

Different countries, different explanations needed.

What really struck me was Dimbleby asking race related questions and the American journalists stumbling with answers and they kept saying that race had not been in an issue in the election. It had, obviously, but they are too embarassed to draw attention to it and is also why Europe is further ahead with racial equality (generalising here)

What happened with Hurricane Katrina must never happen again and the only way to stop it is to raise the profile of people of colour.

So happy Obama won grin

hellsbells76 Wed 05-Nov-08 09:32:17

much like morningpaper - i explained a bit to ds (6) on the way to school, about how some very silly and unkind people think that skin colour matters and how the fact that the most powerful man in the world has dark skin is a hugely important thing. i also explained a bit about how america is the most powerful country in the world and so who the president is has a massive impact on the rest of the world, even though we don't get to vote for him.

he said 'does that mean the president is the prime minister's boss then?' - out of the mouths of babes grin

is anyone else really emotional this morning? it feels like the last 8 years have been a bad dream we're just waking up from...

ohIdoliketobebesidethe Wed 05-Nov-08 09:32:19

Kathy you are right.

We would never point out other differences between children to our preschoolers - except maybe gender - and it is horrifying what they make of that difference.

mabanana Wed 05-Nov-08 09:32:47

My son is totally, instinctively, against any form of prejudice or discrimination. He would be appalled to think of anyone assuming anyone was lesser because of their sex or colour or anything else. I don't want to burden him yet with the horrors of the past. I told him it was wonderful news because the other man was a bad man who wanted to start lots of wars, and was friend with people who liked to hurt and bully other people. Which actually, I think is far more important.
As an adult, I am hugely moved by what this means for black people, especially in America with its appalling history of slavery and oppression.

Elffriend Wed 05-Nov-08 09:34:25

Kerrymum - I disagree. I am not naive. I do understand his politics. I agree that the whole bureaucracy thing is an issue whoever is in charge etc. and I am not expecting thw world to suddenyl become rosy. I'm waaay to old and cyncial for that.

However, I am delighted and relieved Barack won because of his politics.

I cried because he is black.

That is not naivety.

Mercy Wed 05-Nov-08 09:34:38

Kerry, I can't believe you don't see the significance of what's happened.

Do you know any black people?

(not that anyone has to be black to realise this of course)

sophable Wed 05-Nov-08 09:34:47

unbelievably emotional and tearful here hellsbells.

sophable Wed 05-Nov-08 09:35:24

kerry didn't vote and doesn't care.

i'm really sorry for you! if you can't feel hope and a glimmer of light today then when can you?

ermintrude13 Wed 05-Nov-08 09:35:55

Kerrymum, I understand your cynicism about what's really going to change in the US, but I'd rather pass on a bit of optimism to my kids; a feeling that it IS possible for voters to make a difference. Plenty of time for them to grow their own cynicism. Why, I remember that day in May 1997 when I practically skipped to work, so full of hope and joy. And look what happened!

Obama's victory won't change the US overnight, but it's a big step in the right direction, if he has the sincerity and strength to follow through.

ruty Wed 05-Nov-08 09:38:05

has he really won? How bloody wonderful. He has a terrible job ahead of him though and i hope he gets the right people around him to sort it out. Can't believe the world is finally rid of George W. Thank God.

kingprawntikka Wed 05-Nov-08 09:38:05

I think its about more then just America. If America has come this far and can elect a black president then I think it shows that the world does change and gives hope to many people

sophable Wed 05-Nov-08 09:38:05

even if politically things change not one iota (and i believe they will) the fact that the most powerful man in the world is of colour is a HUGE and important thing. it affects all of us.

i HATED maggie thatcher, but the fact that she was a female prime minister and had a world profile was hugely important for women all over the world. it says: you can do this if you want to and you could do it differently. the door is not closed to you.

drivinmecrazy Wed 05-Nov-08 09:38:58

Race is only an issue beecause the press constantly refer to him as the first black president. Surely it is more progressive to refer to other aspects of his strengths and character. Apart from him being the first black presidential candidate, surely some people voted on the issues too, or am I being stupidly naive?
My 7 yo doesn't see colour at all, just a new president. i personally wouldn't dream of refering to him as the first black president because that is raising an issue in her own mind that needn't ever carry any relevance. Or am i again being super naive.
I would rather her understand the significance to the rest of the world that the US has a new president than a first black president.

ruty Wed 05-Nov-08 09:40:18

yes i don't feel the need to explain the race issue to ds, 4, yet. He has no awareness that anyone makes a differentiation between skin colours. I will in time.

dd said to me this morning
Mummy I thought you wanted him to win, why are you crying blush

We explained the significance of a black president to her last week. That many years ago people with white skin wrongly believed that people with black skin were not as good as them and that their children were made to go to different school, they had to sit on different parts of the bus etc. We told her about Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King etc.

Sophable re not wanting them to "see" the skin colour thing - tbh I think she sees it as something odd that happened in the olden days rather than an issue now. We also explained for eg that in olden days women couldn't vote etc (to which she said "what, not even on Strictly come dancing hmm) and as far as she is aware that all these things are in the past. If you present it to littlies as historical fact rather than an issue as such I think it won't make them feel any differently (maybe?)

she was gobsmacked
in a "weren't people in the olden days mad" way

Elffriend Wed 05-Nov-08 09:47:49

"What, not even on Strictly Come Dancing?"

ROFL! Yes, the world was mad indeed!

The point about them perceiving it as historical is interesting - maybe that is a clue as to when the right time is to raise it with young children (assuming circumstances don't force it on you sooner) - when you are sure they have a sense of history....

Aefondkiss Wed 05-Nov-08 09:50:18

I told dd 7 it was a historic day and then dh started telling dd about Obama, working so hard to get to be president of the U.S ... dd wanted to know what happened to the woman who wanted to be president, so an interested 7 year old, but she obviously would rather America had a female black presidentgrin... it might happen one day.

Told DD that Barack Obama had won and she said...............

"Oooooooh so now there is a brown man in the White House"

Then sniggered and said..............

"Brown man, white house, get it?"

So I just dished up breakfast and continued emptying the dishwasher!

Aefondkiss Wed 05-Nov-08 09:51:05

she is 7 yrs, not my 7th dd.

glitterfairy Wed 05-Nov-08 09:52:45

Mine were pleased there would be a new puppy in the white house!

Yes, dd is just 6 and very into history atm
I got a blow by blow account of Guy Fawkes and his naughtiness last night!

filthymindedvixen Wed 05-Nov-08 09:53:56

We had a great talk this morning - after I had cleared up his confusion that no, Lewis Hamilton wasn't the new president...

glitterfairy Wed 05-Nov-08 09:55:42

Just reading back Countess my kids deal with racism every day. We have lived in a community with more Asians than white people and now live in a farming community where the kids are scandalised by some of the racist comments which their peers come out with.

I dont think it is olden days at all and is a reality which many kids simply do not grasp. The problem with not acknowledging it drivinme is that some children will then not recognise it when it happens.

northender Wed 05-Nov-08 10:03:44

I talked about it to ds(7) on the walk to school. They talked about segregation in assemblies last year so it was easy to get across some of the significance of it.

zazen Wed 05-Nov-08 10:06:59

I was happy this morning as there is a Democrat elected, and the majority of the House of Reps and Senate is Democrat.

If Obama ratifies Kyoto and signs the ban on intelligent sub-munitions (intelligent bombs that keep going and lock onto another target after they have lost the initial one, thus increasing the numbers of civvy victims) then I'll wave my flag. I'm with Kerrymum on this - the proof of the pudding is in the eating.

I did feel misty eyes when I saw Jesse Jackson, and all those brave civil rights campaigners, so I do know where you are coming from - it's the same feeling I suppose the Irish felt when JF Kennedy was elected.

Personally I think they should have selected Hilary Clinton as Democrat candidate. As a woman she represents 51% of the population and gender discrimination is a more important issue to me than the colour of someones' skin. But then I'm Irish and have been refused entry into places in the UK because of my race, (I have light brown coloured skin) and been subject to vile bullying and name calling, and totally inhuman strip searches when traveling (especially after any Mainland UK bombing campaigns carried out by the IRA). However, I've had much worse and systemic discrimination on the basis of gender in many countries. Women are still paid a lower percentage of men's pay for similar jobs done worldwide.

My DD who is 4 told me that "John was too old, that's why Barack won" this morning, now should I suggest that ageism is wrong to her, and that people shouldn't retire if they feel they still have a contribution to make? grin

We chose our DD's school as it is the most multicultural school in our area. She has classmates from Africa, India, Ireland, Spain, America, Italy, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand... etc.. she's colour blind, but knows the world is big and there's room for all.

I just hope Obama really does mean change, and the Democrats get down to work asap for everybody, young, old, black, white, women and men.

fridascruffs Wed 05-Nov-08 10:08:57

'Europe is further ahead with racial equality'
Can you imagine BritaIN, or france, Germany or Spain, electing a black leader yet?

macherie Wed 05-Nov-08 10:10:20

We have been following the campaign for the last few months, ds1(10) and ds2(8) and I often talk about politics on the way to school. We have talked about race, discrimination, the civil rights movement and how that all relates to Obama.

The ds's were so into the campaign that ds2 is the 'election correspondent' in his class, and has been relating all the news every morning for the last week or so. Both were very excited going to bed last night. I stayed up all night and was so tempted to get everyone up for the victory speech. I watched it in tears myself at 5am, then youtubed it this morning and we watched it together.

I think this is a HUGE moment for the world, and I hope the ds's think that too. As a lifelong idealist in a sea of cynicism, I feel vindicated today. {smile]

oh gf I know it isn't really in the past

But she is just 6 and as far as she is concerned colour of skin is not an issue. This is how I would like her to grow up feeling. That is obviously not to say that racism doesn't exist today - I am confident that if she encountered it she would be appalled and I think that maybe it is more powerful and meaningful for her to know that it makes no difference and to fight her own battles over it because she wants to and knows it is right than for me to tell her, aged 6, that some people get abused for the colour of their skin and it is wrong and that she should enforce that. She knows that is wrong. She is too young to understand what it means in practise though.

fridascruffs Wed 05-Nov-08 10:13:08

I'm with zazen, i was for Barack becasue of what hopefully will be his policies, and it was a collateral benefit that his father was Kenyan and what a great thing that would be for Africa which could use a break. I won't be making a big deal of his race to the children (4 and 2) until they're older.

TwoIfBySea Wed 05-Nov-08 10:13:15

The Headmaster of dts school came out to the playground this morning while they were lining up and made note that this was a historical day without mentioning race.

I think after Bush anything has to be good but I hope people won't criticise when Obama fails to turn water into wine. He has a lot to do and has already started in repairing America's image.

That is what I will explain to dts.

Plus my best friend lives in Chicago (where she is from) and was there last night - she is sending photos and newspapers for dts to take into school with them, also to keep. They are nearly 7, but I bet they will remember this.

UpJacobscreek Wed 05-Nov-08 10:17:22

DS is very interested he is 11 and has been doing some homework about the election ,so this morning when he got up he was pleased that Obama had won .

I just said to him it would be something to tell his grandchildren about .

I told dds the story of rosa lee parks and not giving up her seat on the bus, and how far the country has come,

FrogPrincess Wed 05-Nov-08 10:24:07

Dd (9 years old) was delighted that Obama won (as are we), but mostly because he reads Harry Potter to his daughter (who dd thinks looks cool)....
We did talk about the race issue as it does matter in this context, and I'm hoping they will discuss the election in their 'current affairs' lesson at school tomorrow.

mersmam Wed 05-Nov-08 10:25:06

My children and I think most of their friends don't even notice skin colour and that's great grin I'm just hoping he will make a good president and that the truly important issues, ie. his policies and beliefs, are not being overshadowed by his skin colour. I don't know too much about American politics, but I've heard that his pro-life policies (ie. ideas on restricting the abortion laws) are not good (which makes me personally less inclined to be joyful about him becoming president - and also to me personally is more important than his skin colour - but that's just me!!)

Fennel Wed 05-Nov-08 10:27:03

My 7 and 8 yos had done Rosa Parks on the bus at school, so that made it easy. Though they insist that Barack isn't black he's brown, and Daddy is brown too (he's white, he just tans easily). they haven't quite got the hang of race rather than suntan.

lljkk Wed 05-Nov-08 10:32:58

Haven't read the whole thread... I started to tell DS (9yo) the news, but then left it at "USA has a new president".
I feel like making a big deal of his skin colour would be counterproductive, it would be pointing out racial differences to him.
I am more pleased with the election result, personally, anyway, about Obama's philosophy and outlook, than the historicness of him being black.

Margaret Thatcher already broke the old-white-man mold for Britain, now Obama has broken it for USA, this is obviously a good thing, but most important is that he turns out to be reasonably competent at the job. And THAT is not yet achieved. McCain-Palin would have broken the mould, too, had they been elected (Palin being a woman), so either way the election was going to be an historic event.

glitterfairy Wed 05-Nov-08 10:37:07

HI Countess I know you know! grin

I think thinking kids dont notice skin colour is a mistake though. They do but whether or not it is an issue is the real thing. I have always hoped that for my kids generation it will be less of an issue but I dont see that. I also think there is far more homophobia around amongst young children and teenagers than I guess we would like to believe.

I like to think that I am bringing my children up to be politically aware and to fight injustice and frankly what age they are when that starts makes no odds to me.

TwoIfBySea Wed 05-Nov-08 10:37:39

I have to say though, as a way of teaching children the wrongs of racism this does offer a great opportunity.

Obama was exceptionally gracious to McCain. Again I would concentrate on the man and what he offers as opposed to simply focusing on the race issue.

Oh I am not saying she doesn't notice that people are different colours. To her it makes no difference though. She says for eg "he is brown like Sydney" (one of her best mates)(natch wink)

It's not that she doesn't recognise it! Obv she isn't blind grin

Blu Wed 05-Nov-08 10:52:51

DS, 7, will be very pleased.
he feels very strongly (based on nothing more than listening to us) that Bush is Not Good (but he does know something of the war etc), and he knows that 'the brown one' will be the first 'brown' president. This from simply watching the news.

I completely agree with Fillyjonk. DS is mixed race, and is well aware that race can be an issue - there have been incidents at school which have resulted in sensible and constructive action, but children of BAME origin will and do experience and / or witness racism. Yes, even in this day and age, even from people of this enlightened generation, and even in cosmospolitan globalised london, so it isn't practical not to deal with it at all. The tightrope is Mabanana points about being careful not to confer victim status.

Mainly we have talked to DS in terms of 'Obama being the president who will do more for people without much money, and for other countries' - and hope, with fingers crossed, and in comparison to the Republicans at least, there remains some truth in that.

I definately wnated to raise the fact that he was black because I dont think we can ignore that america and britain have been hugely affected by racism, by pretending there is not as issue does not stop there being an issue it just postpones the point when our kids are affected by it.

shrinkingassets Wed 05-Nov-08 11:01:17

I had a chat about this with dd (6.6) last night as she was going to sleep, telling her it was going to be an exciting night because of the US election. I did get myself in a bit of a tangle about whether to mention Obama's skin colour but in the end I did, partly because they have just been doing Black History Month at school. Although I should say my explanation about Apartheid (in the context of her being asked to learn three facts about Nelson Mandela for homework) weren't a great success. I tried to explain about segregation and the impact it had had on the lives of black people in South Africa - eg (among many other things) that they weren't allowed to use public toilets that were designated only for whites. When I asked her later if she remembered what Apartheid was, she said: 'People with white skin were free to do what they liked and people with black skin weren't allowed to go to the toilet...' blush

glitterfairy Wed 05-Nov-08 11:02:51

I hope this sends a clear message to racists though that they will not succeed.

As for my kids, their world changed last night even if it showed that prejudice will not win and that people have chances. I will wait to hear what was said at school knowing that it is the playground that prejudice is given free rein.

wabbit Wed 05-Nov-08 11:21:44

Oh it's fantastic isn't it? smile
DD came into the bedroom at 6.30 jubilant as she'd logged on as soon as her alarm went off to get the results

It's a wonderful day for the world - this one gesture from America has warmed many a heart chilled by the disasterous Bush government.

very smile smile smile house here.

chipmonkey Wed 05-Nov-08 11:47:41

Buda, his great-grandfather was from Moneygal, Co Laois! Big celebrations there this morning![girn]

motherinferior Wed 05-Nov-08 11:52:43

My daughters are acutely aware of colour - in that both their parents are mixed race, but Mummy has white skin and Daddy has brown skin and they are white/olivey. They have lots of friends of different colours. And DD1 has been doing lots about slavery at school.

So today I told her 'this is wonderful: a black man has become President of the US, and just 50 years ago he wouldn't have been able to sit in a cafe or sit down on the bus. It is wonderful.' And she agreed.

notnowbernard Wed 05-Nov-08 11:52:48

DD1 is 4.10

I had the news on this morning before school. She noticed that the same footage was re-running (Obama speech mainly) and was asking why it kept being shown

At 4.10 don't think she would get the significance of the race issue so didn't go there

But instead tried to introduce the idea that every country has someone who is 'in charge' and that the people who live in that country get to choose who they want in charge. And that most of the American people wanted Obama to win when they choose him yesterday. And because of that they are all very happy and having a party grin

MrsThierryHenry Wed 05-Nov-08 11:56:39

DS is just two so won't understand any of it! However I think it would be a huge shame for people to politely avoid the skin colour issue when discussing President Obama's victory (sorry, forgive the cheesiness - just had to say it that way). It is a huge, huge deal, particularly as someone on R4 put it poignantly this morning: Obama has achieved Martin Luther King's dream in an astonishing way. The US constitution that 'all men are created equal' was based on an assumption of slave ownership - i.e. '"all men" except our slaves who we convince ourselves aren't really human in the same way as us'. In one (long) fell swoop, Obama's victory has publicly triumphed over that assumption and the racism that oppressed many blacks in the US and other countries.

This is not, sadly, to say that by becoming the first black (or multi-ethnic) president of the USA he has single-handedly brought an end to all racism. God, if only! grin But it is a momentous occasion and I think black people everywhere feel that very strongly. I will even act completely out of character and send him a message of congratulations.

What kind of president he will be of course remains to be seen. He is, after all, still a politician like all the rest of them.

motherinferior Wed 05-Nov-08 11:56:59

I didn't tell DD1 'even a black man can be president'. I said, 'a black man is president'. Of course it's important not just that a black person is doing this job, but that the US has moved so far that black and white people have elected a black person.

Tortington Wed 05-Nov-08 12:00:26

sad my dd 15 down and said "watch this"

she did say " is it nearly finished yet" and looked a bit bored.

"you will thank me in twenty years and THIS day is a day of social and cultural significance and you can say that your mum made you watch it on her laptop and you remember being bored. then you can explain to your children what a laptop is"grin

"i'm just glad a black person won it" she said

"err why?" said i

" well there is a lot of racism in america, and if a black person can become president it will give hope to other people, not just black people, but like...poor people and people like that"

"hope to the disenfranchised" said i

"is that what i just said"

"yeah, well that then"


done. thanks MP needed to be done

Blu Wed 05-Nov-08 12:01:38

MI - very well put.

Mercy Wed 05-Nov-08 12:03:43

Yes, I agree

beanieb Wed 05-Nov-08 12:05:14

I wouldn't mention teh race thing. I would tell them a Democrat finally got back in!

Starbear Wed 05-Nov-08 12:11:10

This is an important day. My DS is 4. He confused Lewis Hamilton with Obama. That not bad as both men won races and represent there country. My son will be English unless he choose not to be. The important thing will be he is a free man. I must go to work as food is not free. ha ha

notnowbernard Wed 05-Nov-08 12:12:46

I feel hope that for dc such as my dds (both under 5) they may well not 'get' the significance of Obama's race until they are taught it...

chisigirl Wed 05-Nov-08 12:16:14

I told DS1 (almost 6) that the US had had an election and that the country had a new president. We talked a bit about elections and how voting works and also about how everyone (well, the grown ups) in America had to decide which man they thought would be the best person to have as their president. I deliberately avoided mentioning race as at this age I don't want him to think that race had any influence on the election results or on Obama's presidency. DS1 was quite intrigued by the conversation and by the coverage on the TV, I think.

Of course if DS mentions race I will discuss it. That could be a lengthy conversation, though, judging on how long the WW2/Adolf Hitler discussion went on last week! That started with "Mummy, do you know about 'itler?" I was a bit taken aback that they had been discussing it in the playground, which prompted his question.

ByTheSea Wed 05-Nov-08 12:31:25

We have been talking about this for months and will continue. DH is British, I am American, and two of our four children are black and biracial. We are over the moon for the possibilities. grin

beforesunrise Wed 05-Nov-08 12:37:04

this morning we listened to his speech on radio 4 at full blast while having breakfast. i couldnt hold back my tears, and dd1 (2y9m) started whining that she wanted to watch cbeebies. i said to her, not today, we are listening to Barack Obama, it's a special day. after Jon Humphris came on she said "that's not Rack Bama mummy!".

indeed not.

his being black is only part of what makes him special and historic i feel. i think it's the fact that he is young, an outsider, a symbol of self belief, of hard work etc etc. if my dds were older i would try to impress on them that with hard work everything is possible.

pinkmagic1 Wed 05-Nov-08 12:47:20

Am so pleased he got in, he makes such a refreshing change to who has gone before. agree with you entirely Beforesunrise, its not just because he is black, that is just part of it.

MrsThierryHenry Wed 05-Nov-08 12:48:58

ByTheSea - grin back! Our family's multi-ethnic too (I'm black, DH is white) and I have to say that although I'm not American and have never wanted to be, I'm really envy that I couldn't be part of this historic event.

Congratulations! grin

blueskyandsunshine Wed 05-Nov-08 12:50:38

interesting thread!

I said every President has been a white male and now there is a person of colour which is very hurrah. Now we are just waiting for a woman said I, then had to start going on about Thatcher, then I shut up. Except then came the question "why does it matter to us?" which took the rest of the school run home.

elsiepiddock Wed 05-Nov-08 12:55:18

I have discussed this lots with my 10 yr old. I read him parts of Martin Luther King's 'I have a dream' speech and he knows a fair bit about Rosa Parks and the civil rights movement.

He was very excited to hear the good news this am!

I was so moved by some of the footage on TV this morning - I was crying watching it at the gym!

A good day.

chipmonkey Wed 05-Nov-08 13:18:48

ds3 just took a look at Obama and said "Nah, I don't like him!" Oh, well.

mabanana Wed 05-Nov-08 13:23:44

Yup, he is the literal, physical embodiment of Martin Luther King's dream come true. He was judged not by the colour of his skin but by the content of his character.
That is HUGE.
There was millions of people voting who themselves remembered the days when dogs were set on black voters, when benches had 'whites only' written on them, and black people had to sit at the back of the bus. HOw amazing for them.

MrsThierryHenry Wed 05-Nov-08 13:27:00

Chipmonkey - I love the ability of children to cut through the crap!

I told my son (6) that it was a very important day yesterday because America was choosing a new president. He knows about our Prime Minister so understands it is an important job.

I then said that they had never had a black man do the job before because they used to be very mean about black people. I said that if he was chosen it would mean that America was becoming a better place. As he is mixed race himself I think it's a nice message.

He was very pleased to learn that Obama had got in this morning.

Eniddo Wed 05-Nov-08 13:31:47

I am uninterested

does that make me a bad person?

he's just going to end up being the same old same old

don't really get the obsession with america tbh

DaisyMooSteiner Wed 05-Nov-08 13:45:26

I normally try to shield my kids from the news - it's seldom very uplifting and often anxiety-provoking, but I was so excited to tell them this morning that Obama had won and why it was such a great day.

They couldn't comprehend that black people might be treated differently just because of the colour of their skin and just kept saying 'people were horrible to them just because their skin is a different colour????'

plus3 Wed 05-Nov-08 13:49:58

I told my DS (4.9)that something very important and good has happened in the world today,to which he responded 'that's nice mummy, where's my transformers?'

Point is, I thought it was important enough to tell him, and he listened in his little way!!!

sallystrawberry Wed 05-Nov-08 14:15:07

What an amazing day, I stayed up till after 4am to see the results.

I told ds (14) this morning - his reaction Really! grin. He knows first hand about racism and has learned about black history at home and in school and being mixed race himself, this is wonderful news for him smile

Dh has been teling Dd (6) all about Rosa Parks and explaining about segregation and how there was a time when dh and I would not have been allowed to be married, as dh is black and I am white. So shes got some understanding how important and momentous this day is especially for America - I can imagine she's gone running into school to tell all her friends grin. She (like ds) is one of about 5 non-white children in her school, I know today she'll be proudly saying to everyone "my dad is black grin" whenever Barak Obama is mentioned lol, as she does this regularly anyway bless her.

My children are already proud of who they are and where they come from - but we all need role models, especially when faced with other peoples negativity towards us.

This is a fantastic day and the fact that a black man has been voted in as the next resident of America really gives me hope for the future.

What a huge weight of expectation and responsibilty this man has placed on his shoulders - I hope he can live up to it.

beforesunrise Wed 05-Nov-08 14:27:54

eniddo, it doesnt make you a bad person although i do feel a bit sorry for you that you dont share our feeling of exhultation and hope and empathy with the rest of the world.

your comment about same old same old is a bit narrow minded, don't know what your kids' ages are but i think this is the sort of thing that would be wonderful to discuss and debate with them, can't wait til mine are old enough to do so.

obsession with america is because a) where america leads, usually the rest of the world follows and b) because we ALL depend on America, economically (booms and busts start there), politically (they do after all have the power to bomb the world at will, a power they have exercised with largesse over the past 8 years- and the UK has followed them).

AtheneNoctua Wed 05-Nov-08 14:31:04

Why does everyone thing this elections was about his skin color? Surely he has other qualifications for which people voted.

As disappointed as I am about the outtcome, I thought his speech was lovely, esoecially when he said that McCain had sarifced in ways that most of us could never imagine. That was nice.

I did explain the election to DD when I left for work yesterday morning. I told her we were going to lose. sad

ilovemydogandPresidentObama Wed 05-Nov-08 14:36:28

You know, I thought McCain's speech was terribly dignified. In true GOP spirit, he took responsibility. And he was very humble about the fact that he wouldn't have done anything differntly. This was the mark of an honorable man as it didn't take away from Obama's victory.

I liked the unifying speech. smile

But most of all, am so pleased it was a fair election....

earthpixie Wed 05-Nov-08 14:36:34

Could someone explain to me (and I mean this quite seriously, I'm not being snippy) why Obama is always referred to as black when he is mixed race?

beforesunrise Wed 05-Nov-08 14:38:32

AN- I do agree with you and as i have said in an earlier post i think his coming from nowhere to take the presidency truly is a wonderful chapter of the American dream. regardless of his race, he got where he got to by working extrmely hard all his life and that has a lot of value in itself.

although it is historic that he is black- it would have been historic if Hillary had won too.

I had a lot of respect for McCain this morning, he conceded very graciously and responsibly. truly i think picking SP was his undoing, apart from everything else she totally overshadowed him as she drew so much attention to herself (for all the wrong reasons, but i think we've already had this debate!).

motherinferior Wed 05-Nov-08 14:40:30

It was about far more than his skin colour. I never voted for Thatcher, despite being a lifelong feminist..but then she said, I think quite explicitly, that being a woman wasn't relevant to her success.

But part of Obama's victory is about his skin colour. About the fact of having a black person at the very top.

motherinferior Wed 05-Nov-08 14:42:07

He's referred to as black because that is his skin colour. I'm referred to as white because that's my skin colour; ethnically, I - and my white daughters - are half Asian, and we tick (proudly) the 'mixed race' box for ethnicity, but we are not perceived as anything but white.

motherinferior Wed 05-Nov-08 14:43:41

We purchase - albeit fraudulently - white privilege. Obama doesn't.

ilovemydogandPresidentObama Wed 05-Nov-08 14:44:42

Ah mother inferor - my grandmother put me in my place when I said that I supported Hillary as a feminist..'

She said, 'shame on you. Being a feminist just means the ability to choose not based on sex...' blush

Rhubarb Wed 05-Nov-08 14:45:53

Shame that he has to be anything other than just a person, an individual.
Shame there has to be so much emphasis on his skin colour.
Shame that the OP thinks we need to explain his race to our children.

If you make it into an issue it becomes one.

Fennel Wed 05-Nov-08 14:47:11

I don't see a problem in supporting Hillary as a feminist, she is explicitly a feminist and so it would make sense to vote for her as a feminist. Margaret Thatcher was not a feminist. You don't automatically vote for a woman as a feminist, you might however vote for a feminist woman (or a pro-feminist man).

kizzie Wed 05-Nov-08 14:48:37

re. the mixed race issue.

My children are mixed race. Me white, DH black (afro caribbean).

They are mixed race and have always known they are mixed race. It is very importnat for me that they acknowledge both the 'white' and 'black' part of their heritage.

But for the purposes of this election Barrack Obama is black and that is the most improtnat thing. To think that in very recent history black people were so segrated in american society - and today he is president elect is amazing. Regardless of your political views this is a major social shift.

(by the way earthpixie - my mother has asked me exactly the saem question re. this election. She is very indignant at the thought that her grandchildren would not have their 'whiteness' acknowledged.)

motherinferior Wed 05-Nov-08 14:48:55

We didn't make it into an issue. The issue is there. We're acknowledging his triumph - and equally importantly, the triumph of millions of voters who decided that a black man could be in charge. I imagine that it was quite a struggle for many of them - given the kind of assumptions about black people that pervaded the US until very recently.

skidaddleMcCainHereComesOBAMA Wed 05-Nov-08 14:52:34

well exactly fennel - look at Angela Merkel...

I completely disagree with this idea that you shouldn't introduce the idea of Obama being black to children because they don;t see it as an issue yet. Surely no-one would suggest that you don't talk about ethnicity to a non-white child - tell them about their heritage etc so they are proud of it. What is the difference with a white child?

skidaddleMcCainHereComesOBAMA Wed 05-Nov-08 14:56:11

Rhubarb - it is already an issue - would you rather we didn't tell our children about slavery and aparteid? Surely it is our duty as parents to educate our children to try and eradicate racism

Blu Wed 05-Nov-08 14:57:30

"If you make it into an issue it becomes one. "

Nope - there is discussion about it because this is the turning point between it having been an issue in the past, and now, it seems, is no longer an issue. that is something to celebrate, not carp on about.

Of course voters voted on things other htan race - his portfolio of election issues ad promises, presumably. The point is that in the past, whatever that portfolio contained he would NOT have been voted in. That is why his race is a notable, tangible, milestone in the history of America.

Why is it bad to comment on that, or disuss it?

Rhubarb Wed 05-Nov-08 14:57:51

Oh I know it's an issue and I know we have to educate our children. I'm just saying that it's a shame it has to be so.

Fillyjonk Wed 05-Nov-08 14:58:46

"If you make it into an issue it becomes one."

No. 400 years of slavery and oppression made it into an issue.

He has done astoundingly well. America has done astoundingly well. That is something to celebrate.

Which I intend to do thusly

Fillyjonk Wed 05-Nov-08 14:59:28

sorry rhubarb, x posts

agree its crappy that it matters

but its also wonderful that, bit by bit, it is mattering less

Rhubarb Wed 05-Nov-08 15:00:54


The black people have a lot to be proud of, but when people cannot see the person beyond the colour of their skin then yes, it's a shame ok?

Rhubarb Wed 05-Nov-08 15:01:13

And now I've x posted with filly!

skidaddleMcCainHereComesOBAMA Wed 05-Nov-08 15:02:45

filly- that looks like a very tame kind of celebration
this is more what I had in mind

ilovemydogandPresidentObama Wed 05-Nov-08 15:05:02

Fennel, you're absolutely right, and that was the point my grandmother was making... smile.

motherinferior Wed 05-Nov-08 15:12:17

Well, Rhubes, let's turn it round: having Obama in post is a major step forward to the time when it isn't an issue grin

ruddynoraaaaaaggggggghhhhh Wed 05-Nov-08 15:19:26

i was totally i expecting him to win.

i was totally not expecting to cry like a baby when he did win.

KerryMum Wed 05-Nov-08 15:45:28

I agree with rhubs

yentil Wed 05-Nov-08 15:52:16

as a black women this is a momentous day. my dd and in fact every member of my family have been rejoicing today. racism is a daily reality for many black people in this country and very little progression has occured for us ordinary folk. and seeing obama and a black women as the first lady of the most powerful nation in the world is on par with the emancipation of slaves. europe is so far behind the US i just hope we don't have to be here for over 300 years before we get the same progress........

MrsNormanMaine Wed 05-Nov-08 15:54:38

I have just talked to my 5 year old about it. She learned about Rosa Parks at school as part of Black history month and was very interested although can't really understand why it's an issue since she has black friends and a couple of her 'uncles' are black.

I guess her approach is the like the one Rhubarb is talking about. I think it is extremely important to learn about history but I hope a generation grows up without race being an ongoing issue - and a black president will help that.

There was an interesting interview with Toni Morrison on Newsnight where she talked about the context of slavery and how many non-black people were also bought and sold - skin colour wasn't always relevant - children, women, poor whites. It's important to remember that slavery wasn't only about race and that humans are still used as a commodity especially women in the sex trade.

MrsNormanMaine Wed 05-Nov-08 16:00:32

I was wondering how many parents also point out triumphs in our country - like Patricia Scotland - first female black QC, the Attorney General - first woman of any colour to hold the position - and from a working class area - up Walthamstow! Not as glamorous as the showbiz of US politics but not to be ignored while the presidential success is celebrated.

LadyG Wed 05-Nov-08 16:06:04

Completely failed at explaining this to my DS aged 3. He is mixed Indian/white British race but is pale-skinned so I'm not actually sure how he sees himself. Although I am 'brown' of Indian origin I sort of hesitated to emphasise the race aspect as he has little friends of all colours at nursery and didn't want to upset him too much really. So we explained about red and blue places and how people had chosen him as the 'leader' because he is clever and kind and brave-DS 'but I like red mummy not blue' May have another go this w/e. We have been singing 'Go Obama go' to the tune of Go Diego go for a few months now. Didn't watch the acceptance speech with him either as I blub every time....

Mercy Wed 05-Nov-08 16:08:49

Some of my dh's (black) colleagues who are normally uninterested or feel excluded from politics, stayed up all night to watch the election. That in itself says a lot imo.

Our local shops were full of people talking excitedly about it too - fantastic!

Blu Wed 05-Nov-08 16:09:50

But of course (to athenaNocturn below) some of his success in the election is down largely to race. If previous elections have been remarkable for the very small turnout of African Americans, this one was marked by a huge turnout.

Which tells us something about the extent to which African Americans have felt represented by previous candidates ands presidents. (except Clinton - who I gather was very popular with black voters / citizens.

If race was an issue in the result, it's because it was an issue for American citizens.

Blu Wed 05-Nov-08 16:10:36

x-posted with Mercy smile

LadyG Wed 05-Nov-08 16:10:49

Fillyjonk we are doing peanut butter chocchip cookies to celebrate!

Fillyjonk Wed 05-Nov-08 16:15:02

well i have made the muffins

I adjusted the recipe slightly to better meet my chocolate needs

my god I recommend it

enjoy the peanut butter cookies ladyG

mabanana Wed 05-Nov-08 16:17:40

It is a huge issue partly because for so many people it wasn't an issue! He was a black man named Barack Hussein Obama - and now he's President! He didn't get there with black votes alone.
I don't think I'm at all old, yet American was an Apartheid state in MY LIFETIME. My mind boggles at that.
I disagree that Europe is 'behind' on this issue though. Europe has always been far less racist than America ie we did not make black people sit at the back of the bus. Plenty of 20th Century black celebrities came to Europe because of this. But we have a different black population in the UK because we don't have the massive,long-established black middle class that the US has.

Blu Wed 05-Nov-08 16:20:43

I agree Mabanana.

Blu Wed 05-Nov-08 16:24:38

It's important for those for whom it is all about race...and important because of all those for whom race was not an issue!

And historical because the two have co-incided.

wasabipeanut Wed 05-Nov-08 16:25:02

It is all very exciting. I think I said on another thread that I feel like something historical has happenned and feel very happy to be around for it as all the historical firsts seemed to happen long before I was born (1973 seeing as you ask).

It is an issue and I agree that where appropiate it should be discussed. I can't actually decide what is more significant - Obama himself and his achievement or the people that voted for him.

Lol at stories of various posters lo's beign happily oblivious and wanting to watch their normal programs! grin

And I think peanut butter cookie baking is a superb way to celebrate.

Rhubarb Wed 05-Nov-08 16:26:05

I don't know about that, I think it has been an issue. They've been banging on and on over here about the fact that he's black and how having a white Grandmother might help over in America and so on. In fact, in the press coverage I've seen, his skin colour has come before any of his policies.

It's a great day for America that they've been able to see the man and the policies before his colour.

When do you think that will happen in this country? We're so hellbent on being pc, yet how many black MPs do you know?

Mercy Wed 05-Nov-08 16:30:32

Our local MP is black!

pinkmagic1 Wed 05-Nov-08 17:17:22

I didn't know his middle name was Hussein. Is he Muslim? I thought he might be as his first name is similar to an Arab word meaning 'Blessing'.

MannyMoeAndJack Wed 05-Nov-08 17:34:32

I agree that race shouldn't be an issue in an ideal world but progress is a step-by-step process - it's not easy to skip a step. So, for example, if Obama's victory had been announced without any reference to his skin colour/ethnicity, then it would've sat there like the proverbial elephant in the room. The fact that Obama's victory is an historical first (and just how many 'firsts' are really left in the world on this kind of scale?) means that his race/skin colour has had to be/got to be discussed. In the future, when there have been more black presidents as well as Native American, Latin-American, Chinese-American (etc) presidents, then I'm guessing that a person's race will not be the issue that it is today.

I think Obama is a Christian.

Fennel Wed 05-Nov-08 17:36:54

His father was born into a Moslem family, so was his stepfather. He's not Moslem.

Barack means peace, doesn't it?

(have been googling. he has an impressive feminist anthropologist mother too)

reikimarie Wed 05-Nov-08 17:40:12

My son is only 3 and a half so no point trying to explain yeet but because he has dual heritage i.e. his father is Jamaican, I have bought the Guardian and Independent papers today to keep for posterity and show to him when he is big enough!

snigger Wed 05-Nov-08 17:42:50

I was unsure how to wade in this morning - we were watching the news over breakfast and she exclaimed

"I'm so glad the young guy won, not the really really old one, he could die or something."

Replacing one prejudice for another, thereby lies my parental legacy <wry> smile

snigger Wed 05-Nov-08 17:43:15

'she' being DD1, not the cat's mother blush

christywhisty Wed 05-Nov-08 17:46:21

I don't think anyone should be celebrating that a black man one, they should be celebrating that the right man one, if that is the case, we have yet to see.
Voting for someone for his colour is just as bad as voting against someone for their colour.
Didn't bother telling my children, race or colour has never been an issue for them, they never don't see people for their colour they see them for themselves. creating a fuss will just make an issue of something that doesn't exist for them

werewabbit Wed 05-Nov-08 18:03:39

I live in a predominantly black country and i have never intentionally mentioned race to ds1 4yo (we're white), and describing people has always been in terms of their size or shirt colour.

Yesterday I said to him that I was excited that America, one of the most powerful countries in the world, was going to have a new President, 'Man in Charge', and that he seemed to be a really nice man who we hoped would be better than the last one, who really liked fighting wars.

I think I lost him as soon as I put on that 'here's a learning moment' voice.

I know that he will become aware of race at some point but right now he sees no differences - however I look forward to answering the questions when they come.

My dd is only three, she is far too young to understand anything on this topic.

What I want to be able to say to her when she is older is that Obama is the best President. I want him to do so well at everything and really make America a place to be proud of, with good honest and fair policies.

When he finishes his term, I want to be able to say to her "it is sad, because he does such a wonderful job".

disneystar Wed 05-Nov-08 18:35:10

christy very valid point end of thread really

bananabrain Wed 05-Nov-08 18:45:18

We just explained to ds1, 4.5, as simply as we could about Obama and why it's such a great thing that he has been elected. After telling him about how black people were treated so badly, and trying to use an analogy he would understand involving a black friend of his not being allowed sweets when he was, he said "If xxxx wasn't given any sweets I would share mine with her!" [proud mummy emoticon] although he did then say he wouldn't share his new garage!!
It IS great news.

Mercy Wed 05-Nov-08 19:04:46

Christy, I know what you are getting at but it isn't as simple as that.

I'm quite taken aback that so many of you have children who do not notice or comment on skin colour difference.

LadyLaGore Wed 05-Nov-08 19:06:16

"he has an impressive feminist anthropologist mother too"

i am impressed by this. it was clearly damn good parenting on the mothers part that won this election yesterday, yay for clever mums! gringrin

tortoiseshellWasMusicaYearsAgo Wed 05-Nov-08 19:15:07

I explained it to my kids - and it is an issue about race, because it shows how much has changed in just 40 years - not that 'someone can become president, despite being black' but that we are now in a time where the US people can elect a person irrespective of their colour. That is why it's an issue imo.

Anyway, I told my kids - ds1 who is 7 very gratifyingly said 'you mean like when Nelson Mandela was released from prison and then became president in S Africa?' so I beamed in his political knowledge.

Dd (5) said 'I know, I know, we were told in assembly - the new president didn't like King James so he thought of a plot and dug lots of tunnels and then a man in black told King James, and the man had his head cut off and stuck on a stick to teach him not to do it again.' I said 'you're sure this is the new president you're talking about?' and she said 'yes, Mr Guy Fawkes...'

She has a way to go in the study of history and politics I feel...

LadyLaGore Wed 05-Nov-08 19:20:30

re seeing race;
im from hackney, so grew up in v multicultural community. i saw that people had all sorts of heritages but it never occured to me for a second that that could be a negative thing. it wasnt that i didnt see colour/race, but that colour and race were never associated with relative worth or value. now thats a v lucky way to grow up imo. i was stunned at 14yo to hear the first overtly racist comment anyone ever said to me, as tho i would agree. gobsmacked that it went on. sadly, that is SO not the case for any child of any colour or skin colour other than 'white'. and thats not ok.
my dad is irish and i grew up feeling a strong sense of injustice at the treatment of ireland through history by Britain. in fact, i was pretty indignant and embarrased to appear to be from a country which has resoundingly shat on people across the world throughout history as we know it.

my dc and i now live in a little village in Hampshire. most people are 'white'. therefore they dont see so many people of any colour but they do know some, obv family members and friends in london, and a couple of kids at preschool and now school. they are all v fond of a little boy who happens to be multi racial, his mother is black and his father white. they, although they are 2, 4 and 5, have noticed his skin is darker, of course they have. they have asked why he is brown. i said skin was like other bits of your body, like hair and eyes in that it could be different colours, as people can be different sizes or have curly hair etc. what you look like gets handed down from your parents and lo, there was a lovely mixture of ways people could look.

i agree with filly; living in a bubble where its not an issue is not going to help create a world where it really isnt. and is not a luxury we can all afford. and our kids are more than capable of understanding what become complex issues for adults and, like someone said 'cut the crap'. thank goodness for that, i say smile

SoupDragon Wed 05-Nov-08 19:55:36

Did chat with the SmallDragons abut this in the car as it came up on the radio and they'd talked about it as school. DS1 (9) said he didn't understand what all the fuss was about just because his skin is black as it's only a different colour, it doesn't make him different or anything. I could have hugged him.

SoupDragon Wed 05-Nov-08 19:56:21

(I did explain how not everyone sees coloured skin that way and how different America used to be)

twentypence Wed 05-Nov-08 19:58:02

I told ds that there was a new president and showed him a picture. He asked if Flat Stanley would have to go and meet him.

popsycal Wed 05-Nov-08 20:03:40

i started talking to ds1 (6) and said 'you know how the person in charge of america is the president....' then he launchedinto a speech about how they had a new presidents today called 'owen bamma' wink and every one was very happy and he had two girls and was going to change the world. i asked if he had been told about it at school but no - he read the bbc news homepagee before going on the cbbc website on my laptop while i was making dinner shock

note to self: get a password

dh began to mention the race issue to him very vaguely and he was upset as he has an afro-caribbean aunty and mixed race cousins so we quickly got back to owen bamma and how he mifght 'change the world (beimng allowed 4 maesghmallows in hot chocolate on bonfire night is what ds1 would change....hmm

ilovemydogandPresidentObama Wed 05-Nov-08 20:29:07

popsy - that is soo sweet. Maybe he'll grow up color blind.... smile

chisigirl Wed 05-Nov-08 20:57:23

mabanana, you say that "Europe has always been far less racist than America".

I'm really surprised you believe that. Do you think it at all conceivable that in, say, France, a man with Obama's background would be elected President? I think not.

KerryMum Wed 05-Nov-08 21:03:30

lol you have no idea whatsoever what you are talking about.

Racism in America is RIFE and I can't imagine for a second that it is less prevalent ANYWHERE in the world.

But the times they are a changing. Whites will soon be a minority in the States. Maybe even in our lifetime.

Hulababy Wed 05-Nov-08 21:07:55

We told 6y DD a bit about it this morning. We have already discussed race issues with her - we saw the musical Hairspray on TV which was a good starting point for her on her level. TBH race and colour has beend iscussed a few times with DD under various scenarios asisues may have been experienced by her and we have felt it appropriate.

VeraDuckworthsHandbag Wed 05-Nov-08 21:11:10

I told my children that today they saw history...A black man in the white house who was not Morgan Freeman grin.

I watched a lot of the news today, and I was saddened that the fact he is black seemed to be the main point. Yes it is history, but if he was voted in for being black then they have the wrong man for the job, it is as wrong to pro black vote as it is to anti black vote, and the fact he is black should be 2nd to the fact he is the best man for the job, he is a good would be president who happens to be black.

I think he has a long and hard road ahead but I think he could just be a tuning point to fixing so much that is wrong in the States and the wider world.

And who knows now the glass ceiling has been shattered we may even see a woman running the States from the driving seat and not from behind her husband...Hillary I mean you!

chisigirl Wed 05-Nov-08 21:11:36

KerryMum: "you have no idea whatsoever what you are talking about..." uh, was that directed at me? A bit harsh, no? These are opinions we're expressing here, not facts. Perception is everything.

I have been to/lived in at least three countries that I would say are more racist than the US. I'm NOT saying that there aren't huge problems in the US that stem from racism.

VeraDuckworthsHandbag Wed 05-Nov-08 21:11:39

Oh and he is not even black, he is mixed race

notsoseriousanymore Wed 05-Nov-08 21:14:19

DS is too young to understand, but I do believe that this is one of those 'where were you when' moments...

We will all remember where we were when we knew the US would have a black president.

And, FWIW, I think he will be a mighty fine president.

AMamaForObama Wed 05-Nov-08 21:17:48

dd is just 6 and as we always watch and discuss news as a family ( I'm obsessive attimes) and our displeasure at bush policies have been noted by dd ( unknown to us)

She knew Obama was African American ages ago and appeared to understand vague historical implications ( god am I a thrilling fun parent or what hmm)
Today when I said he had won dd said- that's good news mummy
Then she said a girl in yr4 was African English and from Nigeria. And she had cool hair braids with beads
What part of Africa was Obama from and why did he have boring hair?
Kids grin

tortoiseshellWasMusicaYearsAgo Wed 05-Nov-08 21:21:49

The point about being black though isn't in the news because that was why he was elected - it's just such an extraordinary day when you look at US history. Looking at Jesse Jackson weeping, I wondered what Martin LK would be feeling if he could see the events of today - when 40 years a black person couldn't sit down on a bus, and now they can be president, that really is progress.

Saying it 'isn't about race' is a bit like saying an East German crossing into West Berlin to buy a newspaper when the wall came down was notable, firstly because of which newspaper they bought, and secondly where they bought it.

Obviously we all hope Obama will be a fantastic president, and that will be nothing to do with race. But the fact is, that last boundary has been crossed, and I am SO happy. He does also seem a rather special person, and so I have very high hopes of his presidency.

I find explaining that he's black no problem, explaining that he's intelligent - that's such a break from tradition, I don't know how the little ones will accept it! hmm

notsoseriousanymore Wed 05-Nov-08 21:29:58

And charismatic that's something the last president lacked too...

ilovemydogandPresidentObama Wed 05-Nov-08 21:31:10

wmmc only past 8 years has there been a blip...

notsoseriousanymore Wed 05-Nov-08 21:32:42

Kerrymum - I feel sad for you. Just because racism is rife does not make it right.

I feel that people have voted for Obama because they feel he can do good. Not because of the colour of his skin.

And that is how it should be. We should ever judge a person from the colour of their skin.

If I had been a US citizen I'd have voted for Obama - not necessarily for his policies but because the other side is fucking scary. shock

I was frankly surprised that the McCain/Palin coven didn't start campaigning for the reintroduction of chain gangs.

ilovemydogandPresidentObama Wed 05-Nov-08 21:40:05

Actually, I don't think that McCain was that bad (from the viewpoint of hindsight and having voted for Obama).

Sarah Palin was horrible and hope she finds the rock she crawled out under from - she who believes in creationism and who clearly hasn't evolved... smile

twinsetandpearls Wed 05-Nov-08 21:43:33

I tried to explain about racism but it seemed to just not occur to dd that people would be racist. So I did the old blue eyes routine at which point dd (7) announced she had green eyes. I started again with green eyes to which she said lots of people don't like eyes! But I think she got it.

I was crying at the speech and dd asked me to explain again and I was more successful this time, explained how it was not just great because Obama was black but also because some bad people had been in charge of America and I hoped it would change now. I said how Obama was a very clever man and had worked very hard and if she worked hard she would one day be able to do whatever she wanted. I also said i hoped that one day a woman would be president.

On our way home this evening we lit a candle in church to ask God to help Obama do a good job as there are lots of problems he needs to sort out. DD then said it is just as well he can drive fast car so he can get round everyone.

stitch Wed 05-Nov-08 21:44:37

i cried lots of times. and explained to ds1 in graphic detail. but then heis 11. the younger dc werent really that interested.

midnightexpress Wed 05-Nov-08 21:51:05

V interesting thread, with lots of thought-provoking comments.

I find the Clinton/Obama thing quite interesting. Many countries have now got or had a female leader and yet despite today's momentous events, I find myself wondering whether Hillary C would have got in if she'd been selected. It's almost as if the US is more 'ready' (hate the expression) for a black President than a female one.

'I feel that people have voted for Obama because they feel he can do good. Not because of the colour of his skin.' I disagree. I think many many people have voted for him because of the colour of his skin. That's one of the reasons there has been a record turnout, I should imagine. People who have felt that perhaps in the past they didn't have a voice feeling that Obama represents them. And many more have voted for him because they didn't like McCain and/or Palin.

TheOldestCat Wed 05-Nov-08 21:53:03

DD isn't yet 2 so I didn't feel the need to explain much to her, apart from tell her it was a momentous and very happy day. She did her happy dance, but that was probably more to do with Cbeebies than my proclamation!

This thread is making me think of something on Radio 4 earlier today on 'All in the mind' - all about research from the US showing people avoid the subject of race and suggesting it's a misguided attempt to show they're not racist. Did anyone else hear it? Very interesting.

mabanana Wed 05-Nov-08 22:20:45

chisi, no doubt. there has been no history of racist laws in the UK as there has been in the US. No separate doors or seats on buses.
LadyLaGore - oh yes, so agree. It was his mum what won it grin

chisigirl Wed 05-Nov-08 22:41:43

... but in the rest of Europe... many race laws in Germany in the 1930s and 1940s.

Still serious race issues in France. I believe (could be wrong, have never lived there) that many, many French people don't view non-whites as being 'real' French. That opinion is just based on a few throwaway comments that French people have made to me, people who I view as quite liberal in other ways. In that way, I think the UK is less racist than many other European countries.

KerryMum Wed 05-Nov-08 23:08:47

who the hell said racism was right? Did I say racism was right? hmm


Please do not deign to tell me how racist the u.s. is or is not until you've been born and raised and spent most of your life there.

Zahrah Wed 05-Nov-08 23:15:33

Blimey - By spokette on Wed 05-Nov-08 08:29:06

We must be living in the same house - check your cupboards!wink


I always listen to LBC (dont laugh) every evening. Anyway, last night I wanted to leave it on all night to hear his victory and I woke up to hear it. I remember feeling all excited inside but fell alsleep way too quickly when I knew he had done it (the sleep monser got me)- so only heard part of his speech. This morning we were listening to snippets on Radio 4 at 8am and my god I was in tears - that man can make you listen and learn. Both children could tell it was an important day.

Anyway, I had already prepared my children by talking about the civil rights movement in the USA - including Martin Luther King & Malcolm X - during the campaign with Hilary Clinton. And by playing Sam Cookes " A change is gonna come" made it a little easier especially when I showed them videos on youtube which included footage of the civil rights movement. This also helped to introduce them to Nelson Mandelas plight and his rise to success as well.

Fabulous day, fabulous news and definately a change is gonna come.

Panfriedpumpkin Wed 05-Nov-08 23:21:29

my dd says to me tonight on the way to a bonfire unbidden,"It's a special day today for two reasons. ONe, it's bonfire night and two a black man has been elected prime minister". <<Wow!>>
She knew the significance was large, at 8, and living in an almost total white area, going to a white school. And being 'white'. If she picks it up, then I do feel pretty hopeful for our next generation who get used to seeing a 'person of colour' in a power position.

AbricotsSecs Wed 05-Nov-08 23:22:59

Of my 3 DC, only ds1, seven next week, was old enough to ask why dh and I were so emotional this morning. I didn't need to mention Obama's race, because being mixed race himself, ds said immediately: 'he's the same colour as me', very casually. It means so, so much to me that my kids will grow up in a future where this momentous day has happened, and can hopefully take it as read that character not melanin should matter most in getting a job - and whatever may come, nobody can take this day away.

dds birthday today, i said what a special thing to happen on her special day, mentioned how badly black people were treated sometimes in america, how some of them (this was more to dd2 aged 11 - had grannies mothers who were slaves - this was spike lee - and asked if they could imagine having a black prime minster or if the queen were black and disucssed that there were only 2 black children in their schools.

dd3 wasnt suprised as there was a black president in a film on tv the other day apparently hmm not sure if he was actually meant to be the president but sitll

Zahrah Wed 05-Nov-08 23:39:25

Hoochie - last sentence - amen!

soapbox Wed 05-Nov-08 23:40:47

DD 10 yo has just been studying slavery at school. She made a poster at the weekend about Martin Luther King. She gets the struggles, the wrongs that had been perpetrated, why it is important. Why Americans had to get to this point before they could move on to a point where race truly doesn't matter.

There is a continuum and this is a point on that line to an end point where race is irrelevant - but an important and significant point was reached yesterday and I for one am celebrating that

AbricotsSecs Wed 05-Nov-08 23:42:32

[inane grin, like I have been wearing all day]

expatinscotland Wed 05-Nov-08 23:43:18

in that voter turnout was the highest it's ever been and the people have spoken.

his race is irrelevant to me and i don't mention it. my children are bi-racial, too.

to me, it's about who you are, not what you are.

he is a man, a bright, clever human being with his own ideas about his country that i agree with in many ways.

i'm so proud of voter turnout. worked hard to get US citizens here to exercise their right to vote because people died for us to have that. it meant so much to them and should for us, too.

AbricotsSecs Wed 05-Nov-08 23:45:45

OldestCat - I heard that R4 programme. Very interesting, and intuitively correct!

Gingerbear Wed 05-Nov-08 23:46:38

DD is 6. She just about grasped what an election meant, said Obama had big ears, and please can I watch cbbc? (which had a Newsround report about it too!)DS at 17 mths was more interested in having a clean nappy and some breastmilk!

Gingerbear Wed 05-Nov-08 23:50:58

I on the other hand think it is amazing. I am very hopeful for the future, despite the economic woes of the world.

beforesunrise Thu 06-Nov-08 12:51:04

we went to the newsagent this morning with dds and i pointed the wall of newspapers all with Barack Obama's face on the front page to dd1 and i said to her Look, this is Barack Obama, he is a great man. she's not yet 3 but i don't think it is too soon to start talking about this.

of course- i can hear what everyone says- he has yet to prove himself as president- and yet and yet, i still think he is a great man, even if he shouldn't turn out to be a great president. he has shattered a million barriers and thanks to him, and all of those who came before him and paved the way, hopefully when our dcs have children they will not have to explain to them why a black man as president is a momentous day. who knows, there may even be a woman next :-)

ginger, i feel hopeful too. he is clearly a great leader with a capacity to inspire and a clear vision. just what the world needs right now!!

Rhubarb Thu 06-Nov-08 13:45:37

There was an interesting experiment done on Radio 4 recently with children and the game 'Guess Who'. A group of white primary school aged children were given guess who to play, the characters are mixed, whites and blacks. At no point, even when it was really obvious to say so, did the children describe any of them as 'black' - so they'd ask if they had a beard, or curly hair etc but they wouldn't ask if the character was black, they avoided that description entirely. But when playing alongside a black child, once that black child mentioned the word 'black' this was their cue to use it too. They then had no problem in asking if the character was black.

Which just kinda goes to show that our children are unsure what is correct and what is not, even at that tender age they are afraid of being labelled as racist.

Rhubarb Thu 06-Nov-08 13:46:25

Aha OldestCat - I see we may be talking about the same programme here!

BarbadosMama Thu 06-Nov-08 17:17:38

Linking in with Rhubarb's post, Gary Young who writes for the Guardian and is black of Caribbean descent, relates the story of someone looking for him and asking his colleagues to describe him so that they could find him. His colleagues mentioned his weight, his ear-ring, his hair length etc but no-one mentioned the most obvious feature in a predominantly white office - his skin colour. White people in the UK will generally do anything to avoid mentioning either colour or a disability when referring to other people for fear of being politically incorrect. In Barbados people are generally the opposite!

my dd was in disbelieve about how people could be racist.. you should have seen her!. how could they not like someone just because they have a different colour? shock
lovely innocence of youth smile

harpomarx Thu 06-Nov-08 21:57:12

Dd (4) knows who Obama is. I told her he is the first black president of the USA. I have not explained to her why that is so important. She is mixed race and well aware of colour (as, ime, are most of her friends) but not yet, thank god, of racism.

MelanieLiv Fri 07-Nov-08 16:16:14

I told my daughter that it was a great day because a good man had been elected to be president of the most powerful country in the World. It didn't occur to me to mention that he was the first black president. Just that he's clever & so much better than the incumbent or other option. We looked at pictures & she was most interested in his two little girls & which of the windows in the White House would be their bedrooms. It is a momentous event but for me as much to do with an intelligent, perceptive, decent individual doing the job.

nymphadora Fri 07-Nov-08 18:19:14

dd2 (7)was very excited cos she didn't like bad John but why wasn't it on the news the day before when she was off sick.

onthewarpath Mon 10-Nov-08 13:17:14

I did not mention race as I do not want them to think it is extraordinary that he is a black president. Well, it is extraordinary for our generation but I sincely hope the day will soon come where colour is just so not going to be an issue at all.

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