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I absolutely wasn't, was I?

(66 Posts)
hazleweatherfieldgirldetective Tue 11-Dec-12 16:52:47

I recently volunteered to help out with my local girl guide group and last night was my first meeting with them. At the start they all played a game where one leader would call out a statement followed by an instruction such as 'if you have brown hair, move four chairs to the left'.

This went on for a while and in the end, the other leader was running out of suggestions, so the girls got a bit silly and started shouting out their own. One girl shouted 'Move one chair right if you're American!' to which the leader laughed and said 'No one here is American X!'. Another little girl, with a strong north-easter accent piped up 'I'm American!'.

'Yeah right! And I'm Japanese!' Responded the leader, placing her fingers at the corners of her eyes and pulling them tight cue much raucous laughing from the girls and the leader.

At this point I interjected, and told the girls it wasn't very nice to laugh at an entire ethnic group because of a physical feature. The girls went quiet, the other leader glared at me viciously, there was a short pause and the game continued.

I doubt very much I will be allowed back. But I wasn't being unreasonable, was I?

hettie Tue 11-Dec-12 16:53:55


MadSleighLady Tue 11-Dec-12 16:54:44

Nope. Well done for saying something, I'd have been too shock

firawla Tue 11-Dec-12 16:54:58

no you're weren't, thats quite bad

Chelvis Tue 11-Dec-12 16:55:55

Did you say you went to a girl guide group or 1910? because that was about the last time that sort of thing was socially acceptable. My God!

JamieandtheMagiTorch Tue 11-Dec-12 16:56:32


You were quite right to challenge it, many would not have done so. I suspect it will not have gone down well because the leader will have felt embarrassed, but then if you'd raised it with her later - would she have apologised to the troupe and explained why it was wrong? Possible I suppose but maybe not.

hazleweatherfieldgirldetective Tue 11-Dec-12 16:56:59

I know, I couldn't believe it. This is supposed to be a nice, Christian group. I assumed those in charge of the girls would be a teensy bit more sensitive. I don't for a second think she intended to cause any offence, however, that doesn't stop it from being horribly offensive.

peeriebear Tue 11-Dec-12 16:59:05

I'd find that a bit uncomfortable too!
I kept DD1 off Brownies once when they were supposed to dress as homeless people for "a tramps' party" hmm It wasn't even in a Dickensian way.
Brown Owl even suggested that they could 'cut up old clothes' yes, because homeless people walk around in tattered rags...

Purple2012 Tue 11-Dec-12 17:09:40

Good on you for challenging it. That's pretty bad behaviour, especially in front of impressionable kids that could then go on to repeat it somewhere else.

CheeseandPickledOnion Tue 11-Dec-12 17:15:12

Awful. And then leaves some poor parent wondering where on earth their child got such awful ideas from.

meboo Tue 11-Dec-12 17:26:05

Your first night and you challenge the Leader in front of the girls???? I personally don't think that is acceptable and that you should have spoken to the leader separately. Somehow I don't think you will be going back.

MadSleighLady Tue 11-Dec-12 17:31:03

There are some things that should always be publicly challenged no matter how much of an authority figure they come from.

In fact if anything it's more important to publicly challenge an authority figure on stuff like this. The people they're in charge of will follow their lead.

Sallyingforth Tue 11-Dec-12 17:33:54

You certainly weren't. Well done!

Narked Tue 11-Dec-12 17:34:51

Well done.

Groovee Tue 11-Dec-12 17:36:10

:-( I'd be horrified if another guider did this!

BerryChristmas Tue 11-Dec-12 17:37:18

Oh FFS - the sooner we all look the same, talk the same, and act the same the better.........then no-one will have anything to moan about !!!

Brodicea Tue 11-Dec-12 17:39:15

Well done you for speaking out! Here here MadSleighLady

phantomnamechanger Tue 11-Dec-12 17:40:28

Hmm, tricky.
She was bang out of order, and I speak both as a guider and parent in thinking that should not have happened, or be seen in any way as acceptable.
But how to handle it is tricker - you have created an uncomfortable atmosphere now, so it is unlikely that she will welcome you back, apologise and publicly tell the girls she was in the wrong. More likely that they will be laughing about you behind your back - do you remember that helper we had once....
Whereas by simply not laughing, and then explaining if/when someone asked you, you could have stayed involved with the group and offering another adult POV in situations like this, showing a better example - maybe even some of it rubbing off on the other leader.
Depending on how you feel about making waves and how keen you really are to volunteer, you might consider contacting the division commissioner about it - but then again this person is a known, and may have many friends in guiding who will back her against a newbie. Difficult sad
On the plus side, maybe one of the girls took to heart what you said, and was only going along with the laughing to fit in?

pregnantpause Tue 11-Dec-12 17:40:47

NU at all! I don't care of she was the leader and it was your first time- that is irrelevant, racist behavior should be challenged wherever possibleangry good for you for setting a good example to the children in your care!smile

BoffinMum Tue 11-Dec-12 17:41:02

No, something needed saying. I think that leader is stuck in the 1970s.

pingu2209 Tue 11-Dec-12 17:42:49

Well done you for speaking out!

SledYuleCated Tue 11-Dec-12 17:43:25

BerryChristmas Would you like to elaborate on your comment?

TheCortanaThatStoleChristmas Tue 11-Dec-12 17:51:09

YY MadSleighLady!

YADNBU and well done. Takes some courage to challenge someone like that with an audience when they are in a perceived role of authority. Good on you.

SageStuffingYourOrifice Tue 11-Dec-12 17:55:15

I think you were right to challenge & publicly because to not say anything makes you complicit. Just because something might make waves & leave you feeling uncomfortable, it shouldn't put you off doing it. Yes you're possibly not going to be welcomed back but would you want to work alongside a guider who holds such dated (and racist) views? I wouldn't want my daughter to be in her pack!

goralka Tue 11-Dec-12 17:57:57

well done OP thanks there is too much of this .....behaviour....that goes unchallenged.

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