Will my white children will be better off without a brown mum?

(85 Posts)
minervasmom Thu 28-Mar-13 15:37:55

Sorry for the dramatic headline but I do feel that way today.

Both my babies DD (4) and DS (1.5) are white, my son is even blond. I'm Bengali (and brown) and their Dad's English. DD is attending a very good school and there's a mix of family backgrounds among the kids in her class.

I find I'm constantly being "blanked" or snubbed by some mums both in and out of school. I've been trying to make friends/arrange playdates/have coffee mornings - I find it has helped the kids' friendships to ripen in the past if their parents socialise too. We don't have to like each other but at least make an effort.

I'm a friendly person, pretty extrovert and normally dress fairly nicely (you'll see why I'm saying this in a mo) so I'm starting to wonder if this is a race thing? I've never faced (or maybe never noticed) overt racism before (I used to work in Publishing so perhaps ivory tower etc.) So maybe I'm misreading this? and its not racism. Maybe it's just me? Really? How come I've not faced this sort of unfriendliness before? DD went to another state school briefly and I made loads of friends (of all ethnicities) and I was pretty popular at school/uni/work.

When we've had a babysitter take the kids out and she's white, the response they get is so different. Its as if the moment I appear on the scene, and claim them as mine, it sours everything. People's expressions change, they seem to turn cold. Of course there's the proverbial "are you the childminder" sort of shit I face everyday. I just ignore that.

Soon, DCs will be old enough to notice their mum being treated differently. And how it affects their social lives. And they will hate me and perhaps even avoid having me around because of it.

What other shit am I going to have to face because of this kind of prejudice, I wonder? It's a whole, new, ugly world to me.

littlehalo Thu 28-Mar-13 15:41:48

The short answer is no, from your OP alone you strike me as a bright, passionate and articulate person. Your children will feel nothing but pride for their Mum.

Sunnywithshowers Thu 28-Mar-13 15:46:09

Of course not - you're their mum and they love you. I'm sorry you're going through this, it's really shit.

catballou Thu 28-Mar-13 15:50:49

The kids love you because you're their mother. Anybody who blanks or snubs you because you are a different shade to them is not worth bothering about anyway. Genuine goodhearted people would never behave like this. You sound like a lovely person-try to overlook the ignorant clods!

ChunkyPickle Thu 28-Mar-13 15:56:06

This is a big supposition, but could it be them clamming up because they're uncomfortable about who you are? I didn't put that well, but in my experience Brits faced with what could be an awkward social position try to avoid it - so perhaps they're blanking you because they don't realise that you're just a normal mum from a normal family and they're inventing all kinds of exotic reasons that your kids look different to you?

They could also just be cliquey awful people..

I would generally judge myself to be friendly and outgoing, but DS has been going to nursery for 3 terms now, and I'm only just having an actual conversation with one of the mums (who I'd also bumped into in Tescos and Hospital so we had a few things we could chat about) - still only at the 'nodding hello' stage with the others, and no-where near a 'meeting for coffee' stage with any of them!

RubyrooUK Thu 28-Mar-13 15:57:12

No, of course your children won't be better off without you. You are their mum and that is what you will always be to them, not a skin colour.

I look 100% English Rose although my background is entirely mixed in all sorts of ways. We all came out different in my family. It's just how things are and certainly doesn't affect how much I love anyone. I'm very proud of my family.

Hopefully the parents at your child's new school are not horrible racists but simply too busy to make new friends and you are reading too much into it. If they are at all prejudiced, let's face it, you wouldn't want them as friends anyway.

Sorry you're feeling so shit. Hopefully someone will be along with more constructive advice soon.

TheGoatThatGotAway Thu 28-Mar-13 16:05:27

Posting in haste, but I just wanted to say I'm really sorry you're experiencing this. You sound great and your DCs can only be lucky to have you. They will be so much richer for having both backgrounds. Be proud smile

Blu Thu 28-Mar-13 16:06:08

How extremely upsetting!

I wonder what on earth is going on? Whether it is a mixture of total ignorance (that it is actually not un-common for dark skinned parents to have light skinned children) and snobbery, and they do assume, as you say, that you are not the mother. Perhaps they don't even 'see' you because they are assuming there is a white mum somewhere? And you are a random person not connected with their child's classmate? But I presume they have had plenty of opportunity to see you interact as the parent of your children.

Some particular vibe at this particular school?

What happens if you assertively introduuce yourself and say 'hello I'm XX's Mum, how did YY enjoy the football match / fire of london project?' or whatever? Do they still blank you?

To be honest, I would think you will always experience the odd uninformed comment - as the more predicatble combination of white mother of a half asian child I have heard a good range of comments that I bet people were kicking themselves for later. But basically people need to get with the plot: mixed race children is the fastest growing demography in my area of London, so there will be more kids who have the light skin gene in a multi-racial family.

I have no idea what to advise. But just wanted to say of course you are the best mum for your kids.

You need a poster called MotherInferior - I will see if i can summon her smile

drfayray Thu 28-Mar-13 16:11:37

I am Indian ( dark brown - see my pix) and ex was blond with blue eyes. My Dd was pink when she was born. Olive skin now though. When I was BFing her, one awful woman said, is that your baby?!angry

Just continue to be yourself. Of course your children will be proud of you - you sound great!

Moominsarehippos Thu 28-Mar-13 16:18:27

They assume that you are the childminder? Some people are a bit shitty to nannies/childminder - not necessarity a race thing.

One friend of mine (Indian, from India, and the dad Indian from France with a very 'English' son) was often asked by the kids if she was the nanny. Probably because the son had a very plumy english accent and she had a strong Indian one (plus she schlepped around in jeans and jumpers, whilst the other mums were dripping Gucci).

Another friend of mine (very dark of Indian origin) has two very blonde girls - she used to tell people that she's stolen them.

Don't change yourself for goodness sake to try to please these twits.

minervasmom Thu 28-Mar-13 16:32:48

Thank you for all your supportive responses so far, I'm feeling a little better already smile coming back to post some replies DS wants an orange.....

juneau Thu 28-Mar-13 16:35:26

It sounds to me like they're assuming that you're the nanny. Do they know that you're the DC's mother?

motherinferior Thu 28-Mar-13 16:37:14

Reporting as summoned!grin

OP, I am that child - my mum is Tamil, my dad is Anglo/Scandinavian and I am white. Really, really white. I will PM you with links to stuff I've written and you'll see how white - I look like I've stepped out of a poster for the Irish tourist boardgrin.

No, your children would NOT be better off with a white mum.

frogs Thu 28-Mar-13 16:43:02

Arf at MI stepping out of a poster for the Irish Tourist Board! She's not wrong, though. And can I just point out what a delightful and well-adjusted person she is, and a fabulous mum to her lovely kids? smile

motherinferior Thu 28-Mar-13 16:43:43

I hate this ignorance towards families like ours. My DP is half Bengali half English and he looks the way people expect - but our two daughters who are also ethnically half-Asian are white and one is blonde (and they are knock your socks off beautiful - I've got a list of hangups as long as your arm for being such a hideous white klutz but even I can see how lovely they are).

OP, stay strong for your kids too. Don't let them feel like something in a zoo. I do have hangups but they're about not being brown enough!

enormouse Thu 28-Mar-13 16:55:41

I think you sound like a fantastic mum op. My partner is white/Irish and I'm Indian and I can completely understand where you're coming from (the confused looks when we're with DS). Just stand proud next to your adorable, beautiful kids. Xx

VioletStar Thu 28-Mar-13 17:04:45

Another one here. My DD is an English rose and I and my DS are brown. DH is white, so we get a mixed bag in terms of who is Mum or Dad depending on which child we are with.
Ignore the ignorant. Enjoy your beautiful kids and keep talking to people. You'll soon be known as your XX's Mum and be moaning that you don't have a real name of your own! wink No way are your white kids better off without the brown you!

minervasmom Thu 28-Mar-13 17:12:13

@Chunkypickle - I didn't think of that, DH often tries to point out that a fear of "awkward social situations" can cause nice Brits to behave oddly. Your example of nursery non-socialising is quite illuminating, as well, difficult as it may be for you.

@Rubyroouk - I wish it was so! But they can't be simply too busy to say hello or be inclusive when I'm standing next to them and/or waiting to say something to them (and they blank me)

@Blu - you're right, I'm amazed at how much ignorance there is sad - fair-skinned children with darker parents are not a rarity anymore, certainly not in London.

@drfayray oh no how awful angry luckily no one dared say that while I BF DS (his blond head looking incongruous next to my brown skin probably smile )

@moominsarehippos - lol at "dripping Gucci" there may be some of that going on here.

@motherinferior - Hello there!! Yes please do tell me more, at the moment I'm not convinced at all that my children won't be ashamed of me in a few years time sad

Oh I am quite extrovert and have already introduced myself and/or started chatting in my best dinner party manner :D so yes these women do know I'm the Mom . We know each other' s names and everything. If this was a work situation, there would be a scandal, instead we're a bunch of SAHM's so it's ok to behave like this….?

I feel awful, because its becoming obvious that its me who is the problem, since they know I'm not the CM/nanny sad

motherinferior Thu 28-Mar-13 17:12:35

I'm writing a book about a lot of all this. We're the future, I tell yougrin

motherinferior Thu 28-Mar-13 17:14:07

I will PM you when I am not poleaxef with the period from hell!

louisianablue2000 Thu 28-Mar-13 17:21:04

I have a Spanish friend who is married to a Pole and has the blondest child in the world (she's the spit of her Dad). She doesn't have issues in the UK (she lives in a University city that is very multicultural) but when she goes back to Spain everyone assumes she's the nanny, she's given up telling people she's the Mum because no-one believes her!

Moknicker Thu 28-Mar-13 17:21:25

Absolutely no way. My kids have a brown mum (Im from Kerala) and a white dad so I talk from experience. There will always be the odd racist who will try to bring you down but it is important for your family that you treat it with the disdain that it deserves.

Be proud of who you are, your heritage and your children will be as well. That pride will let them (and you) deal with any bigots you come across.

Re the practical issue of the school - there are many many threads on here about people being blanked at school gates - most of them not because of race but just because it is an odd place. Keep smiling and making an effort and give it time - things will settle down and you will find friends among the nicer people at the school and there certainly will be some.

Im sorry you have to face this.

minervasmom Thu 28-Mar-13 17:27:40

@Moknicker yes, I've got to work on the Pride, you're right, thank you! Am off to go do a search on Mumsnet on school gate syndrome.

motherinferior Thu 28-Mar-13 17:34:21

I do think, from my own experience, that it's important to face down the people who treat your child like a freak (I've had them - oh yes how I've had them). Don't let your children feel confused or weirdly guilty about the way they look. Tell the people who prod and point and then say "but I was only interested" to stick it where the sun doesn't shine. Be open and honest about colour in the family.

I do wish my parents, both of them, had done that.

spottyparrot Thu 28-Mar-13 17:36:22

I think there are a small number of racist people around but it would not account for constant blanking/snubbing.

The only thing I can suggest from your op is that maybe some of the shy people are intimidated by you being an extrovert.

My dd is in reception and I have done a play date with her very best friend only. A couple of other people have mentioned play dates but I find play dates quite hard work and am busy etc so would prefer to restrict it to her best friend. I fond socialising quite an effort as well. This may also be part of your problem - you may have had the misfortune to ask someone like me! I do the same with my ds - best friend only for play dates.

motherinferior Thu 28-Mar-13 17:37:10

Because we talk a lot in our culture of enabling mixed race children to be proud of their brown heritage but we also need to let the non-brown ones be part of that heritage and be comfortable in their own skinsgrin

minervasmom Thu 28-Mar-13 17:59:53

@MI I will make a new effort to be honest and open about colour with my children, we need it too, DH's family is a bit on the "ignorant" side

spottyparrot you may have a point there, that would be the something wrong with this whole picture. Over-cheery, overbearing, over-extrovert coloured Mum sails into crowd of shy English mums.... hmm

WishIdbeenatigermum Thu 28-Mar-13 18:27:31

Are you in the countryside? London and some other big cities are very different from the rest of the UK sad

RealityQuake Thu 28-Mar-13 19:43:30

No, they would't be better off, but I hear where you're coming from. I'm Metis, My DH is White going back as far as we can find and our children are very White passing, and it has caused several problems and many other situations where I can't help but think it's a major factor (like when every other parent gets contacted about detail changes to trips except us so DD1 is left out...more than once...). And I'm in a city (and haven't found things all that different in other locations from when we lived in a village, the worst was when we lived in the posh side of the city and it was obvious they expected that I should be living elsewhere).

I don't have much advice for dealing with adults beyond MI's great words on dealing with any who think their curiosity beats our/our DCs' feelings and right to privacy. But beyond that, I haven't figured out much else to do, though I've found that many kids, particularly once they're socializing more without parents, make friends regardless of how much we parents fit in (I still have no mummy friends, my older kids are social butterflies who are also quite outspoken and proud about their background when it comes up).

For our kids, connected to all sides of family identity, creating a family narrative, and talking about it does wonders. My father and sister still call themselves tan because my grandparents (who are White and adopted my father) wouldn't talk about it and allowed others to make comments. My kids are the exact opposite because we talk about it and celebrate it and regularly discuss differences in the positive. Wishing you the best.

Surrealistrhinoceros Thu 28-Mar-13 20:18:24

Hello. I experience this situation from a different angle as I'm white adoptive mum to two children of different mixed ethnicities who both 'look white'.

I can't help feeling that people have incredibly narrow minded ideas of what a child of mixed heritage 'should' look like and how their appearance should relate to the parents'. If I had a quid for every time I've been asked 'are you SURE hes mixed race' about DS I would be very rich! Yes thank you we are smile

My further experience as an adoptive mum is that some people's tiny minds fuse when confronted with stuff outside their preconceptions. Eg one mum at school plainly has huge trouble with me because I am a nice middle class professional parent but nevertheless have this badly behaved delayed child (DS has borderline ASD and special needs). You can almost see the steam rising as she tries to work it out.

I wonder whether whats happening is people seeing something outside their experience and just giving up on trying to understand. In which case you could either give up on them (reasonable) or do a bit of educating by taking the initiative in saying yes genes are very funny things aren't they and etc etc etc. I do similar in explaining about DS at times.

Good luck. I hope I've explained what I mean. My friend who is half Indian has the most gorgeous blond blue eyed daughter, with a white British but dark haired father. Actually the spitting image of her mother as I expect your kids are in many aspects smile

MTSgroupie Thu 28-Mar-13 20:24:22

At DC's private school there is a significant proportion of non white parents. At parent socials everybody mingles and I can honestly say that we are colour blind. So if it is a racism thing it isn't found at all schools that have affluent parents.

While at primary school we employed a (blonde, white Eastern European) nanny to take our kids to school. She found the mums a bit distant as well. And this was at a school where the mums were M&S rather than Gucci.

I mention the above because I think that it is a snobbery thing as opposed to a colour thing. Because of the difference in appearance it is assumed that you are the nanny. Like my blonde, white nanny, you are probably being blanked for that reason. Not that it's much of a consolation.

I think that once you establish yourself as the parent you should find things changing.

Blu Fri 29-Mar-13 08:33:14

Loads of issues here, all playing their part. The school gate clique can be a very powerful thing, with people terrified to be seen to be developing a satellite friendship outside the clique in case the clique see her as less bonded to the centre. Since play dates and party invites and PTA status can all depend on clique membership , it has the gravity pull of a black hole.

And if you are also subject to stupidity and ignorance about your identity and connection to your child, and experiencing a little undermining of confidence due to that, AND new, it adds up to a v alienating experience.

I completely relate to the intrusive questions issue, DS was born with a non-standard leg, and I became ferocious in protection of his self esteem wondering what effect it has on a child when every single new person they encounter in public begins with 'what's WRONG with him? '. People are incredibly frustrating sometimes. I used to prepare a handful of phrases in advance so that I could give a breezy but very assertive riposte.

juneau Fri 29-Mar-13 08:44:49

I'm really shocked by the stories in this thread - and saddened. I thought Britain these days was ethnically mixed enough that race has become a non-issue in a lot of areas. I've lived in London/South-East for so long that I genuinely don't really notice the colour of someone's skin any more. When I first read this thread I had to have a think about the mix in my DS's class at school - and there is a racial mix - just not one I'd really thought about because it's so normal. Clearly other areas of the country are very different in this respect.

Could it just be the dynamics of the group. My 2 younger children are at the same school. The elder boys class are all very friendly and inclusive. Nights out are arranged & everyone is invited, including the people who never come. They still get an invitation every time.

The younger class are very different. I only found out the mum's had even been going out when DH was invited out 'as the mums have been getting together a lot it's now out turn' hmm And a number of them have my phone number, and they've managed to send stuff they wanted me to do via the book bag so there's no reason for me to have been missed out. Repeatedly. We do have something that makes us a bit different - but I honestly don't think it's that, I think they're just not very inclusive & happy in their cliques. I don't even think it's me really, I think they're just busy amongst themselves and thoughtless.

Anyway you sound like the sort of person lots of people would want to be friends with, so take confidence it's not you, it's them.

As for society's expectations - that does happen for all sorts of differences & in some ways you have to develop rhino hide and not let the ignorant get to you. You can challenge them if you want to, but you don't have to. It's not your job to educate the ignorant unless you want to. Incidentally my own very-white-burns-in-the-sun - blue eyed father had a father who was of mixed race. This was post war years so you can imagine the disbelief.

ImTooHecsyForYourParty Fri 29-Mar-13 09:09:58

There is no way your children would be better off without you so they could fit in with other people. That's just bonkers!

People have sometimes assumed I am not my children's mum because I am not the same colour as them.

I once had a doctor ask me "how long has he (my youngest, it was his appt) been with you?"

I was baffled for a moment and then I realised! grin and I said "since birth. I had him. He's mine." then for clarity, I think I may have added that I gave birth to him. but by this time I was waffling grin

However. I think you are wrong to assume that your colour is making everyone you encounter not want to befriend you. It is very unlikely that it is your colour! Unless your children go to school in 1950s rural britain wink

It is likely to be either that you're a newcomer - it can be harder to 'get in' as a newcomer at the school gate than to carve your name into a boulder with the tickly end of a feather!

Or you're a lot louder than you think you are and are coming across as overbearing. It is important to not rule that out, just because you don't want to believe you could appear that way to others.

Just carry on being friendly, but take it slow. A hi and how are you is better as first contact than leaping into their space and forcing an indepth conversation and constantly trying to get them to have coffee with you. People generally like to go slowly when they meet someone. Hi, how are you, I'm Xs mum, let's have coffee tomorrow and your child should come for a playdate and why don't we... no. just.. nooooooo. People don't normally like that.

motherinferior Fri 29-Mar-13 09:46:57

Oh, people do notice skin colour. Nice 'colour blind' liberals most of all. They just notice it in a different way. Believe me. I have lost count of the number of nice white liberals who don't like to acknowledge that I - apparently another nice white liberal - challenge their stereotype of what 'mixed' looks like.

RealityQuake Fri 29-Mar-13 11:06:30

Thank you MotherInferior. "Colour blindness" or "not seeing race" perpetuates racist stereotypes and is not the answer. We face these problems now, everywhere in the UK, not just in the 1950s or out of cities. It would be better if people stopped ignoring this.

ImTooHecsyForYourParty Fri 29-Mar-13 11:07:56

Of course people notice. They'd have to be really stupid to be actually saying that they could not look at someone and tell you what colour they were. grin In the same way that you notice hair colour, height, weight... People just mean that they don't give a shit, not that they actually cannot identify what colour someone is.

That's always been my interpretation of it, anyway. "I don't notice colour" = I don't give a shit what colour someone is, it doesn't factor into anything for me.

Although, really and truly not giving a shit about colour is also normally done by not even thinking to mention it cos it doesn't occur to you. grin

Masai Fri 29-Mar-13 11:19:40

In same boat as OP.

Im pakistani but have a younger dd that looks almost irish with her alabaster skin and black eyes.

It pissed me off beyond belief when people used to ask if she was mine.

juneau Fri 29-Mar-13 11:21:53

I don't notice colour = I don't give a shit what colour someone is, it doesn't factor into anything for me.

I'm sorry, but I fail to see what the problem is with not really caring what colour someone's skin is. My skin is white. So what? It doesn't define me, what I think, what my values are. People are people, whatever the colour of their skin. My husband is a mixture of different nationalities, but they're all white European. Does this mix of different nationalities in his blood define him? No. It's absolutely irrelevant in his day-to-day life.

motherinferior Fri 29-Mar-13 11:25:48

My skin is white and in many ways that does define me, because it becomes the freak-show object of so many people's regard. Including that of many nice white liberals.

ImTooHecsyForYourParty Fri 29-Mar-13 11:27:50

did you think I was saying it was a problem, juneau?

motherinferior Fri 29-Mar-13 11:31:12

The day people genuinely stop noticing colour will be the day I stop gritting my teeth and feeling my stomach lurch every time I tell someone new about my ethnic origins (of which I am enormously proud - I am half Asian and hate having that invalidated) and wait for their look of horrified incredulity.

juneau Fri 29-Mar-13 11:44:57

No Hecsy - but several other posts were clearly saying that, so it was just using your rather handy little sentence to illustrate that.

I dunno - I lived in a very racially mixed part of the US for six years and after that I found my ability notice who looked 'different' pretty much switched off, because everyone did and they all looked different to one another too. I was actually unusual because I'm not a racial mix - so I was the oddity for being so plain vanilla - and people remarked on that with surprise. So it works both ways, depending on where you are.

ImTooHecsyForYourParty Fri 29-Mar-13 11:47:32

ok, ta. I thought because you quoted me that there was a different interpretation of my words than how I had meant them.

QuintEggSensuality Fri 29-Mar-13 11:56:43

Do you think that they believe you are not their mum, but a step mum? That the children have a mum somewhere, but you have moved in with their dad and "usurped" the family? That you are a wicked evil husband snatcher?

There is a woman like you in our church. She has very dark skin and a very white child, dad is white. You are not the only one!

Do you think it would help to make light of it, next time somebody looks shocked to see you just say something like "Pretty surprising huh, my kids are so blonde people never expect them to have a black mum! It is interesting, I can tell." And just change the topic?

Blu Fri 29-Mar-13 12:15:14

Oh, and of course there may be one or two who are actually, you know, racist. People can say what they like but it's still out there,on different levels. Not necessarily NF thugs, just a level of unconscious prejudice or anxiety.

MTSgroupie Fri 29-Mar-13 12:20:25

I am not naively suggesting that the parents at my school are an enlightened lot.

I accept that some may have negative feelings if their DC brought home a non white BF/GF but as far as casual relationships as concerned I don't think that people really care about colour.

I mean, some of the parents are lefties (don't ask me why they have DCs at a private school). In RL I would avoid such people but this is a bunch of parents that meet up for a few hours a couple of times a year.

It's so easy to reach for the Race excuse everytime but often there are other things in play. In the OP's case it's more of a snobby thing

RealityQuake Fri 29-Mar-13 12:34:42

Really MTS? I think it is far easier for people to ignore race and find any other excuse for why a brown or black person has a problem than deal with the idea that nice people like them might act in racist ways or that society today, even in big cities, is structurally racist and beneficial to white people for no earned reasons. Snobbery has many roots in viewing white people as better and ignoring this is to refuse to improve things.

MTSgroupie Fri 29-Mar-13 23:31:38

IMO it's the other way round ie it's easier for people to blame racism than look for other reasons.

I mean MN is full of threads about school gate politics, cliques and bitchy moms. However, if the mom being blanked is non white then it has to be a racism thing, right?

HollaAtMeBaby Fri 29-Mar-13 23:45:58

Are you the only non-white person at the school gate, OP? If you're in London, I find that unlikely.

Designjunkie Sat 30-Mar-13 00:17:10

I do feel for you as this has clearly upset you, but I don't think you should assume this is a race thing. If it was your children would be snubbed too. It doesn't matter if they look white, the reality is by racist standards they are not white.
You sound like a very articulate woman, you need to ensure that your children are equipped to deal with racism by been made aware of both sides of their culture. My children are older than yours but both look English white whilst I am from the Caribbean. Even though they can pass for white they refer to themselves as mixed and feel comfortable in both cultures, they can only get this from you been positive about your heritage.
I think you have to assume that these women are reserved until you have evidence to the contrary. I had opinions that some of the mums in ds class were cliquey, but completely revised that opinion by year 2. Sometimes it takes time to build these friendships. I think we often forget that we only have the children in common and in the real world probably would never be friends. Give it time. Sorry so long!

RealityQuake Sat 30-Mar-13 00:44:54

In a society where we are systematically socialized from a young age to see White (able bodied, slim, male except for in caring or victim situations) as The Standard and the rest as Not, then, yes.

It's the same racism that means I've imported colouring books and print colouring pages from speciality website so they can have people to colour that aren't White, the same racism where I look at eyewatering prices to find dolls for my kids because I can't find these on the "normal" toy shelves, the same racism where history programmes and books constantly whitewash important groups to make them more White (even artefacts have been whitewashed with plaster to continue this image) and puts White names to important achievement (everyone knows Elvis Presley, almost nobody knows the Black artists who influenced him that started modern rock and roll). Just like everyone knows Newton and hardly anyone hears about Cecilia Payne-Gaposchkin who figured out the composition of stars cause she's a woman.

Racism isn't all active feelings of hate and loathing, it's the framework of society, media, education that makes one group The Example and the rest ignored and scapegoats, lessening us all in the process. Multiple studies showing both the public and the officials think and treat Mothers of Colour as less capable and less real mothers than White Mothers - even in cities, that's the society we live in and ignoring it isn't going to make it go away anymore than ignoring sexism in the workplace makes it go away. White guys fight among themselves all the time, it doesn't mean that the racist, sexist framework that the White guys fought hard to build isn't still there are hurting the rest of us and themselves. Snobbery comes from the same framework, it's all intermixed.

pollypandemonium Sat 30-Mar-13 00:56:32

I think it's the type of school you are in. I was in one school and found that the people I got on with were the 'outsiders' - non-white and/or non-English ones, the ones that weren't overly aspirational. We wouldn't book playdates weeks in advance, we would have impromptu 'want to come over right now' dates or 'I can't make it for pickup' playdates. I think we had a lot more fun and our children had more confidence in their own friendships.

It might be helpful to focus on a couple of parents that you do really like and get on with. Be choosy and don't bother with those that can't be inclusive.

MTSgroupie Sat 30-Mar-13 08:56:54

Reality - Your first sentence immediately labels you as someone who goes looking for examples of racism even when it doesn't exist.

I mean, the media is full of positive images of black people. Ali, Nat King Cole, Aroetha Franklin, Louis Armstrong, Carl Lewis, Usain Bolt, Obama, James Earl Jones, Will Smith. Then there are the black music entrepreneurs/producers, Premiership players, the Olympics track team etc etc.

So it is totally untrue that we are socialised into believing that white is best. In fact the reverse seems to be true with youngsters today. To them the 'cool' people are the black singers and sportsmen/women and not the white kids working in an office.

I am not that naive that I think racism doesn't exist but, like feminism, it harms your message if everything is because of your particular 'ism'.

duchesse Sat 30-Mar-13 09:09:07

OP, of course not! You're their Mother!!

School playgrounds are vicious places. The less assertive fall by the wayside while the cliques get to work rubbishing and savaging other people. And that's just the parents. If you want a really good laugh and some insights into the mentality of the primary school playground, read this thread. You will be aghast, but unfortunately it's pretty normal for primary school.

And find some nice friends to hang out with- there will be some, honest! They're just overshadowed by the alpha females feeling disempowered and desperate to take something out on someone.

PsychoCynic Sat 30-Mar-13 09:22:14

OP - firstly have a hug! I'm part Malaysian and my ex-H was Irish. Our DD is light skinned with dark hair the same as mine. She's 6 now and has started asking questions about skin colour, but more in an inquisitive way, rather than a 'am I different' way.

Your children see their Mother, not a skin colour. You sound outgoing and personable, so please don't let others make you shrink away from the world. Come back at them bigger and brighter, be proud that your family are unique!!

Your not a minority! I am one of two non-white Mum's in the playground, I don't get involved in the cliques and gossip but do find a lot of people want to stop and chat or give me a cheery wave on the school runs. It does take time, but if you're feeling ostracised, it'll show in your body language and others may feel you're not approachable.

The less you care about others' opinions of your situation, the happier you will be. Good luck smilexx

pollypandemonium Sat 30-Mar-13 10:19:47

MTS I find your post simplistic. Having a handful of black role models cannot possibly counterbalance the pain of seeing your mother snubbed in the playground every day because she is different. It is racism pure and simple. These women have decided she's not their type even though, on a socially demographic level she definitely IS their type.

MTSgroupie Sat 30-Mar-13 11:21:06

Polly - going by the various MN threads, there are plenty of presumably white mothers being snubbed in the playground every day.

MTSgroupie Sat 30-Mar-13 11:22:20

... so why elevate it to a race thing?

Moominsarehippos Sat 30-Mar-13 12:25:41

I frequently am snubbed because I am not of the 'majority' country of origin. In the UK! And I am British. The vast majority are from another EU country (nor renouned for its friendliness) and I am the teensy minority of Brits. It wasn't like this when we started at the school. Even some of the mums have moved their kids because of there being 'too many XX kids here' (the mums being from the same country).

Not race, probably more cultural and a bit snobby ('so which major corporation does your husnabd own/run?'). Plus I work which is more than most of these idlewives do! Also, I am quite grumpy-looking and get pissed off at their rudeness (maybe blocking pavements with prams and bikes and standing gossiping en masse in the corridors is ok where they are from). They probably just think I'm a bit mad. I don't care really.

RealityQuake Sat 30-Mar-13 14:01:19

Yay - black people can be entertainers and sports people and have their culture replicated and watered down to a cool stereotypical joke for people's amusement (See Harlem Shake, a 30 year old dance becomes cool in White culture once it's stripped of its Black origins and watered into unrecognisable joke form). That makes up for lack of representation in toy stores, children's books, most TV programmes and movies, and history and everything else a person really builds their identity on. Only 1 of your examples is not the category already built as black stereotypes and have you seen how Obama has treated?

See the Clark Doll Test, 1940s test which was redone in 2009, both showed White and Black children of primary school age are already socialised in preferring Whiteness, in thinking that White is prettier, smarter, nicer, has more friends and, just as importantly, both thinking Black as less than, the mean one, the dumb one, the one with no friends, the one they wouldn't play with. At the end of the test, they ask the kids which one looks like them and less than half Black children were willing to pick to the Black doll (and many who did do so became very upset when choosing it)

It's not about being "cool", it's about having a past, present, and future recognised as important and worthy of recognition. When we begin talking about the empires of Africa, Asia, and the Americas pre-Europe and people from those groups making real impacts in the future. Not those who are popular with a subset for stereotypes that have festered for centuries (see Minstral shows and racist science proving that Black people are physically better at the expense of emotions). Show me when your examples are treated as real people, with real feelings, and real non-stereotypical problems See an actress describe how hard it can be to get the media writers to treat Black actors as something other than a stereotype or prop for White people rather than just snapshot heroes.

And you completely missed all the other races, and seeing as the OP is Bengali and I'm Metis, a list of Black people to show how well represented we are completely misses the mark and makes my point for me (hint, we aren't interchangeable - society just treats us like we are).

I would recommend, for any interested, Uprooting Racism by Paul Kivel, he's an excellent writer on racial issues writing specifically for White and White-passing groups wanting to improve the problems.

MTSgroupie Sat 30-Mar-13 15:22:21

grin at your Obama 'observation'.

Reagan was endlessly lampooned for being a B movie actor, for being old, for being stupid. Clinton was hated by many conservatives for his liberal policies and womanizing. George W Bush is regarded by both sides as being an intellectual light weight who constantly trips over his own tongue.

But from your perspective Obama was treated the way he was/is because he is black? And the reason why his white predecessors were hated was because of ????

And just in case you are so blinded by your 'ism', despite a crap economy and high levels of unemployment, the black guy still beat the white guy with the blonde wife.

pollypandemonium Sat 30-Mar-13 16:02:28

Nevermind Obama and your reasons why black people should think themselves lucky and should have nothing to complain about. This is something that OP has picked up from the people around her. She doesn't understand why in every other walk of life she is accepted for who she is and has not come across any social hurdles.

Suddenly she walks into the school playground environment. People are excluding her and she doesn't understand why. MTS you say it's simply because she's over-reacting and extrovert and is being snubbed for that.

The reason she is being snubbed is the reason that many mothers are snubbed in the playground - because she does not conform to the aspirational norm. It's not a conflict between parents it is the ambition they have for their children. They don't want their precious darling getting too close to your precious darling because you may be some kind of bad influence. To avoid people because they are different is immoral in my book, it's rude, it's arrogant and frankly not civilised behaviour. Social exclusion is a form of self-imposed segregation.

Most people, thankfully, are supporting OP to find ways of dealing with this horrible situation.

MUM2BLESS Sat 30-Mar-13 16:19:58

My answer is no they will not be better off without a brown mum. NO ONE CAN TAKE YOUR PLACE. NO ONE WILL LOVE THEM LIKE YOU WILL ! You are mum and thats all that matters. Do not let other people stop you from being mum.

As your children get older they will notice your feelings. Grow them up to feel proud of both racial backgrounds. They need to be taught to be proud of who they are.

Its a shame that people are so narrow minded in society. All the best. I send you a BIG HUG.

I am a black childminder. Over the years I have childminded kids from different racial backgrounds. I use to get stares from people of all races when I had the white children with me. I CANNOT imagine how you are feeling with this being done to you as MUM to the children.

Keep your head up high and know that the children are YOURS.

MTSgroupie Sat 30-Mar-13 16:20:52

There has been endless threads about school gate politics but as soon as the mom that is being blanked is non-white its - what a bunch of racists.

And by the way, I never said that the OP was being ignored because she was extroverted. I have no idea why she is being ignored. I'm not a school gate smoozer. I drop off and I go so I've no insight into group dynamics at the school gate.

MUM2BLESS Sat 30-Mar-13 16:24:36

I met a white lady who had black kids. I thought she was perhaps their nanny During our conversation I realised that they had been adopted. She said that the kids were hers.

I know your situation is different, but the fact is the lady said they were HERS.

You sound like a lovely mum, do not let other people stop you from enjoying the experience of being mum. Enjoy every stage with YOUR children.

MUM2BLESS Sat 30-Mar-13 16:39:11

spottyparrot what you say is interesting

* I think there are a small number of racist people around but it would not account for constant blanking/snubbing.*

It is possible that its not a racist reaction. As I work from home I have been able to do the school run. I know that certain parents can be cliquey. It can be daunting for new parents do the school run.

Moominsarehippos Sat 30-Mar-13 17:04:06

DH has never every ever assumed 'racism' over any snub, oversight or rudeness. My sisters friend assumes that most things are racism.

Keep your hear up, OP. This really sounds like the usual school gate crap. Some. It's just revert to 'gang' mentality and I will never understand cliques. You will meet a few mums over time that you will click with.

pollypandemonium Sat 30-Mar-13 19:49:52

You will find friends the moment you stop fighting for the attention of those that want to exclude you, and focus on those that really want to talk to you.

By the end of my primary school Mum days I found a great group of friends, we all felt a bit left out at first but came together and actually had a lot in common in term of attitude. We had some of the best late night vodka sessions and extended drunken picnics, were able to enjoy the summer fair without feeling we had to take a week off to get it all ready. We bought ready made cakes for the cake stall and praised each others common sense and went on big, disorganised camping sessions and day trips. But at first I felt left out because I am 'different' and it was hard and I sympathise.

giveitago Sun 31-Mar-13 11:56:09

Minverva - of course they won't.

I'm a middle aged person and my mum is asian. Honest to goodness I dont understand 'multiculturalism' these days. We were a multicultural country once.

Of COURSE I love and need my lovely mummy even though she's now in her mid 70's and her health failing. Just as I still my lovely daddy who's in his mid 70;s and his health failing.

I promise you - kids have no bloody idea of their parents' background. They have parents and they are dependent on them. That's the way it is. I'm married to man from yet another background and ds is so uninteresting in his backgrounds other than he sees that we all look so very different from each other in terms of skin colour.

I'd say what's going on in your school playgrouond is the quite common crap that many mums experience in the school playground.

IIf anything my mum was so horribly popular back then becacuse she looked different to the other mums way back in the mid 70's.

Completely hear what motherinferior is saying. Same position - we've met on this before, no?

giveitago Sun 31-Mar-13 12:07:33

Minerva - I'd also say my dm never thought of me of being 'white' anymore than my df (who is spitting image of the thin white duke david bowie) thinks his daughter looks middle eastern. They, to this day, think of me as their child. A person who has x character, x talents, x faults etc.

I also don't think dm's or df's skin colour or ethnicity. I'm not proud or love them because they give me their varying ethnic and religious roots, but rather because they are my parents who did their best for me inspite of their human failings.

Don't think of your kids as a skin colour because they don't have your colouring. Genetics are more than skin colouring. They need and want their mum.

School playground is another place entirely. A bonkers place for many.

BernadetteRostenkowskiWolowitz Sun 31-Mar-13 12:17:32

as u r in london i find it hard to believe that it is racism. i only get on with ( in a genuinely relaxed way) aboutt en per cent of 'moms'

BernadetteRostenkowskiWolowitz Sun 31-Mar-13 12:20:22

i agree polly. there are a set who will always blank me cos im broke and single! but as it turns out i want witty kindd friends who are quirky and not desperate to conform to a stepford wife thang

Your kids love you regardless of colour/race/shape/size.

This is common playground crap, and it's very probable it bares no meaning to your colour.
I'm white, and i have experienced the same hostile behaviour at my children's school-it's very clickey, people are in groups and I'm just one of many that cant seem to enter that iyswim.
I don't think it's for any particular reason other than, they pick and choose willy nilly who they want as part of that.

You sound lovely op, don't let this bother you.
The school run only makes up a small part of the day.

Moominsarehippos Sun 31-Mar-13 17:44:05

The more you worry about it, the worse it becomes. I went through a period just after ds started school - my mum died suddenly, dh was made redundant, crippling depression, etc etc etc it was bloody awful. I gave up bothering trying to be friendly and just closed myself off - I'm shy to start with.

One sunny day it just seemed to lift - I had eventually got a new job that I really liked (after working in a shit hole and being made redundant), ds was doing really well in school, dh was less stressed... I was crossing the road feeling quite happy and one of the alpha moms was crossing the other way. I shot a smile and she hesitated and smiled back. Ok so we aren't bosom buddies, but I get a civil 'hi' and a snmile. I may not be 'her kind of people' but I don't want to be.

As long as people aren't horrible, and ds has some playdates with sime nice kids, I fee like I'm winning.

Prozacbear Sat 13-Apr-13 16:55:00

It's hard to say whether this is a race issue, particularly if the school is fairly multicultural.

As other posters have said, it might be an awkwardness issue. I am mixed black/white and look mixed and not much like my mum. She is blonde, blue eyes, classic English rose and I am about 5 inches taller. She used to get asked to her face if I was adopted, whose child she was looking after, why she had a 'black' child and worse.

Now I have DS whose dad is white. DS looks very much like me facially but skin and hair are completely caucasian, and at nursery I've had odd reactions from other mums who have 'met' DS previously but not me - they clam up out of confusion - these are black, white, Indian, European parents, not just caucasian.

My policy is to learn their kids' names and go, "Oh you're X's mum aren't you - they get on really well. I'm X's mum." Luckily DS is pretty sociable so does half the work for me!

Good luck to you - it's not what we'd have, but it's what we've got and what we have is amazing, mixed kids who will be part of the movement towards a more multicultural society. she said cheesily

dina75 Mon 20-May-13 12:29:52

Totally understand your viewpoint... I've been asked if I am the nanny. My children are half Welsh/ white and half Bengali (my side). They are gorgeous and very proud of their dual heritage and I am the best person (no, I am the ONLY person) qualified to be their mum. Do not let anyone make you feel inadequate and please don't let their short comings become your problem. Introduce yourself to some of the mums and dads, it could be they are genuinely unsure of your role... Break the ice with something like "I'm so and sos mum, but some people mistake me for the hired help" and laugh loudly. They'll be so relieved that you said it first, they will immediately relax. Best of luck, and feel free to PM me as it sounds like have had very similar experiences.

MangoJuiceAddict Thu 06-Jun-13 11:20:57

Of course they won't be better off without you! My DH is Indian (i'm white) and we've taught our DD to be proud of the fact her mummy and daddy look different but love eachother so much we created a stunning littlle olive skinned girl (despite being 11 years old, my daughter looks like Nicole Scherzinger confused ). Do you encorage your children to embrace Bengali culture? Do you eat Bengali food at home? We eat Indian food most nights and DD loves it so much she proudly takes it to school and says the other children eat 'boring' food as they eat their ham sandwiches and she mops up biryani with a chapati! Encourage your children to be proud of their mixed heritage and to be proud of you, we talk to DD about racism and say how silly racist people are! I've been blanked at the school gates too but it is a strange place! When I sign things as Mrs Singh people are often surprised to see I have green eyes and white skin! They just assume I must be Indian to be married to an Indian hmm. My advice is to ignore the racist comments (even it is heartbreaking and difficult to do so!) and encourage your children to be proud of their mixed heritage!

Xenia Thu 06-Jun-13 11:48:42

Of course they are not better off without you. If the school is multicultural it is strange you are having this problem. Mind you if you work full time you can avoid all this kind of stuff - nothing worse than doing the school run and socialising with othermothers. Avoid it and pursue your career and these problems will disappear. Feminism as ever has the answer.

It is particularly in cultures where women are treated appalling as in much of the Indian subcontinent it is particularly important work pursue good careers and outearn men.

giveitago Mon 01-Jul-13 14:21:50

xenia - do you run and empoyment agency - you are obsessed with bloody work.

Multiculturalism doesn't come from work but rather from PEOPLE.

No and my dm is asian and she is asian whether she works or not- she was not ever treated badly because she was from rich family and also married my english dad who treated her as an equal.

Nothing to do with work - just people.
As I've said to OP - her dkids need her becauses she is their mum. Just as I still my lovely mum.

brass Fri 18-Oct-13 17:09:36

you all need to see Adult Supervision at the Finsbury Park theatre. It's a comedy about 4 mums with 'mixed' families.

Very funny, very current and very appropriate to this debate.

SPBisResisting Fri 18-Oct-13 17:13:13

That was a worrying title!
I struggle to believe this stuff happens (but I do believe you). What is it to them?

brass Fri 18-Oct-13 17:16:37

as u r in london i find it hard to believe that it is racism.

that's pretty naive!

betteroffwithoutme Sun 25-May-14 20:03:44

In an ideal world children need their mum.

In reality, white biracial and multiracial children would be more accepted and fare better in the world with a white parent. This is just reality of things. I've had schools ask that only my child's white father drop him off and pick him up. It's just too shocking and uncomfortable to people for a brown mum to have a white child. Remove mum from the equation and the child has a happy accepted life.

I'm sorry. I've learned my lesson. I've not selfish. My child deserves better than the prejudice I face. My child has an option, a white parent. It killed me and I will spend the rest of my broken hearted days alone but I let my child go to have a better life without the stigma of my presence. White privilege in today's world is more necessary than a brown mother's love.


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