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?

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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!

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

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

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.

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!!

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.

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!

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

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

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 23:42:32

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

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

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

Hoochie - last sentence - amen!

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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

ffs.

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.

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.

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

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.

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