Put my mind at rest - dd2 to be one of only 5 white girls in new class of 30

(103 Posts)
Bedward Fri 12-Jul-13 09:24:26

That's it really. dd2 went to her induction at her new school, yesterday. She was v excited - only one from her primary going, but dd1 already there. About half the new school are from different ethnic minorities and dd2 is fine with that - all dd1's friends at the school are from different ethnic backgrounds in fact. But it just so happens that dd2's form is 25/30 non-white. When I met up with dd2 after her induction, she looked slightly nervous and crestfallen - she's very sociable and easy-going, but her current school is virtually totally white (village school).

Please tell me it's going to be ok - I tried to reassure her she'll be fine, but I think the reality of going to a school where she knows no-one and worries she may not fit in, are now becoming real. sad

CurlyFox Tue 16-Jul-13 21:44:19

Well said forehead my Dd is the only "brown" child in her class this was picked up by other children and nasty comments made which upset my Dd but was dealt with by the school and myself.

lainiekazan Tue 16-Jul-13 21:39:08

I did on page 3.

Ds has school friends from varied religions. Their religions may be different, but their class is not. Their parents are all middle-class professionals. The boys all visit each other's houses - sleepovers etc - and in fact we socialise with the parents too.

kitchendiner Tue 16-Jul-13 19:52:14

Surprised nobody has mentioned "class" here.

Evageorge Tue 16-Jul-13 12:05:49

I do understand your anxiety. You just want your DD to have lots of friends. It is the case that if the majority of a class are from one group, say the same religious/ ethnic group, who live locally together, and socialise together, you can be worried your child will be left out. If there is a healthy diversity however, that won't be the case at all. Your DD will get the education you clearly want for them - one where they enjoy and appreciate difference. www.how-to-choose-a-school.org/summary/diversity-and-multi-culturalism.html is good at reassurance in this regard.

wordfactory Tue 16-Jul-13 06:58:30

I think there can be issues with this.

I'm a governor at a school where the cohort aremajority Bangladeshi Muslim and the girls are actively discouraged from doing much socialising. Also, it would be very difficult for a jewish child!

Did they great her at the playground and develop a relationship, or did they look away when she was passing by?

OK, so you've never met me or the other mums at the school, but why on earth would you think this? hmm

tiredaftertwo Mon 15-Jul-13 17:39:34

Absolutely FrauMoose smile

FrauMoose Mon 15-Jul-13 17:14:41

One of the positives about my daughter's school - a high proportion of students are from various 'faith' backgrounds, as well as reflecting the ethnic diversity of a large city, is that there isn't the stress on getting blind drunk at every possible social opportunity that there was at my stepdaughter's school. I really like my daughter's friends!

tiredaftertwo Mon 15-Jul-13 17:12:01

?* And just because your dc1 has friends who aren't allowed to socialise in the way that she chooses, does it automatically mean that dc2's friends will be the same?*

It doesn't mean it will automatically happen but it does mean it is a possibility: it has happened to the OPs dd and to other dc mentioned on this thread. Parents are allowed to worry about possibilities. I know several dc to whom this has happened and while they are happy at school and to some extent their parents are happy they are avoiding the party culture, as they get older there is - think a sense of missing out on independent socialising and what you learnfrom it because that is what some of their peers are doing and it is what is in the films and books they watch and read. Especially if you don't have an extended family around who can substiture to some extent. Not a deal breaker or a disaster bu a reasonable concern.

Dontlikepink Mon 15-Jul-13 16:54:50

NotGood, what you describe might be common, but did you or other parents at your DC school extend equal amounts of the invitations to the Asian girl's mother? Did they great her at the playground and develop a relationship, or did they look away when she was passing by? I am sorry to say that the looking away happens a lot at my ds2 school, so I could imagine that with this looking away the invitations might feel a little less genuine for those families.

OP, I would suggest to wait for your DD to develop some friendships and then to genuinely develop a relationship with your DD friends' families. Invite mothers for a morning coffee, even if means you need to take a day off. Just get to know each-other.

Personally NotGoodNotBad I have found that most (Asian)'children go around houses loads etc; but Asia is a gigantic continent. It depends on religion and nationality (and not just nationality, but where in the country) for their culture and attitudes towards socialising. Many Muslim children might not socialise as much for certain reasons (but many do) and a lot of Muslims are of Asian origin (such as Pakistani) but it really depends on the specific culture, and of course, the specific child.

I would be worried about the social aspect, personally, based on experience. Incidentally, there are not that many Asian kids where we are, and hardly any black kids.

The one Asian origin girl in DD1's class never came to any of the many parties she was invited to, in 7 years of primary school. Every single time there was apparently some family gathering that the girl couldn't miss.

DD2's first best friend at secondary was Asian/Asian origin (never met her, so I can't be specific. DD invited her round a number of times for parties or other things, no success. The girl wasn't allowed to stay late after school for activities or trips as she'd miss her bus - we offered to have her stay so she could take part, no success. I think this was a factor in DD2 switching best friends part way through the year, as DD2 is very sociable and wants friends she can spend time with out of school.

Dontlikepink Mon 15-Jul-13 12:40:34

The OP mind is not "at rest", because for the first time her DD will not be part of a white dominant majority group and will have to adjust to many things she taken for granted before.

Maybe anyone could offer an advice how to deal with being a minority, especially if you didn't grow up with it?

lainiekazan Mon 15-Jul-13 12:15:28

I think the "white" in the title is misleading. What the OP is afraid of on her dd's behalf is that the dominant culture is one of closed unfriendliness.

When people say, "Oh, my dc is the only mixed race child in the class" that is not the same thing. Why on earth wouldn't you be friends with anybody, if that friendship is reciprocated . In the OP's case, the fear is that the majority of the class is not up for being friends full stop.

FrauMoose Mon 15-Jul-13 09:45:56

I feel the concern is as significant as many raised on Mumnet. 'OMG what am I going to do about my son's birthday party/my daughter's friendship group/what face cream shall I buy'.

People agonise in particular over choices of school. The more choices money and privilege afford, the more they agonise.

I felt the sixth form college my stepdaughter attended was fine. It was only after she left two years later, that she told me that most of the white kids and most of the Asian kids never chose to mix in the canteen and that she was one of the relatively small group who had a mixed race friendship group. That several of her classmates said they would vote National Front in the general election. And that a classmate of hers whose parents had given her a mini got consistently bullied by the rich kids whose parents had given them more expensive cars. They thought it was fun to move the car out of a parking space and put it somewhere else.

Jinsei Mon 15-Jul-13 08:17:59

FWIW, there is only one other child in my dc's class with the same ethnic background as her. It has honestly never occurred to me that it might be an issue. It is a very diverse school, and no particular group is "dominant". They all just play together and none of us give it a second thought. They're just kids!

Jinsei Mon 15-Jul-13 08:13:02

Good grief, the world is not divided into white and non white. Have a look at the class you will find there are small groups of different backgrounds.

^^ this. Your child will not be the odd one out if the class is as diverse as you say. There are 25 children who are non-White. How many are non-black? How many are non-Chinese? How many are non-South Asian? And then when you break it down further, how many different sub-groups are there within each group? E.g. different religions, different nationalities, different cultural and linguistic backgrounds etc.

Is you dd really in a minority, or just in a class where there is no overall majority? And just because your dc1 has friends who aren't allowed to socialise in the way that she chooses, does it automatically mean that dc2's friends will be the same?

You are overthinking this, OP. Just relax, your dd will be fine. smile

ImTooHecsyForYourParty Mon 15-Jul-13 07:39:36

My sons are two of fewer than about a dozen non white kids in their rural very white secondary school in a rural very white part of the uk.
They are fine.
It's never caused any problems at all.
Your daughter will be fine being one of a handful of white kids just as my children are fine being two of a handful of non white kids.
After all, there's no difference, is there?

My DD is the only European child at her school.
She has had racist bullying, but it's OK now.
OP, I do think you are worrying unnecessarily.

camilamoran Sun 14-Jul-13 22:55:05

Seriously, noddyholder? Racist drivel? She might be left out, she might not. It's worth talking through, I think. Worth it if she was only white kid, only black kid, only kid who doesn't speak Polish. It's not racist to talk through what the problems might be. Its not the only non-racist response, to pretend there can't possibly be any problems.

forehead Sun 14-Jul-13 16:39:03

One has to remember that there are many black or mixed race children who are the only one of their race in the whole school. They just get on with it.
However, I can understand why the OP may be concerned as no one wants their children to be left out.
I do think that the Op should be positive about the situation.
My dn attends a super selective grammar and is th only white boy. My dsis did have concerns as she did not want my dn to feel left out. He loves the school and has many friends. However, he did find that children from certain backgrounds were not allowed to socialise outside.
There are others that are allowed.

CountingClouds Sun 14-Jul-13 15:39:03

There is a bit of a mix-up between race/culture/religion etc

It probably won't be an issue but my (DC) has been in groups where there was a majority from a different culture. The mothers never talk to you, I was totally excluded and there was no mixing outside the group. It wouldn't be an environment I would want my DC to be in for 7 years.

I dont care what religion, culture, color or race my DC friends are but I do care if its a friendly, open, tolerant, social environment.

geologygirl Sun 14-Jul-13 00:41:39

I was the only non-white person in my entire school.

Im fine!

And sad about anti-Semitic bullying. Have had experience and it's horrible. If there is a wide mix generally then it will be better- but if it's say, JUST Tamil or JUST Pakistani, then it might be more problematic- just like if it was just white Engoish. Good luck to your dd- it's always scary starting secondary school.

She will be fine.

DD2 is 13. She went to a super selective if it matters. Out of a year of 180...she was the only white child. And she was a foreigner- we had only moved to the UK when she was 6! A white child joined a bit later, she was half Greek and had lived in Corfu until 7, so no fully 'white Anglo-Saxon' in her year.

Her friends are Sri Lankan (mainly Tamil), India, Pakistani, Bengali, and a tiny scattering of mixed race, Afro Carribean, Nigerian, Ghanaian, Zambian and Chinese. So what? In Ramadan, they change the timetable and change PE lessons- like this year- and as well as Chrisfmas, they have anDivali show and Eid celebrations. It's just a part of life. It's not amazing, it's not bad. It's just people.

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