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to think DD is a bit racist?

(58 Posts)
msjones80 Tue 26-Mar-13 12:48:38

Since she was 3, approx and started going to nursery, she started saying that she didn't like black girls etc. Wouldn't say why - just that she didn't like them, in general. I though it was weird and upsetting but didn't know what to do. So I made sure she knew I have friends of all colours and backgrounds, etc. Now she's 5, and still refers to my friend "X" as "my black friend", which I correct everytime. She doesn't want to hang around with black children in her class or in the playground, although she's polite. Seems to be ok with Asians though, has told me she wants to be Chinese. I am really puzzled, don't know where she gets it from. We don't have a TV and my family is absolutely not racist.

As with many crazy things kids say, I try not to make a huge deal out of it and just explain things calmly. But just yesterday night I ordered her a doll and I told her this morning, and the first thing she asked was if it was black. Gah. "Little Hitler", I thought. "No, it's blonde with blue eyes, completely Aryan...".

Maybe that's the problem, maybe I should get her a black doll?
How can children be naturally racist? Have you got any tips, and by the way AIBU or is this a normal thing?

Iseeall Tue 26-Mar-13 13:06:24

I don't think anyone is born naturally racist. This is learned behaviour, she has heard adults or friends at nursery/school talking like this. Children imitate their parents and I would bet her best friends talk the same way and so do their parents/adults (although probably in private).
You are doing the right thing by not making a big issue about it and any positive reinforcement is good, a black doll, books with many ethnic characters etc, What about a playdate with a little black friend?
One further thought, was she hit or bullied at nursery by a black child, I know its too late to check with her nursery now but maybe she has an unpleasent memory, with kids it can be the slightest little thing that they remember, something you may of ignored as being so silly at the time?

squeakytoy Tue 26-Mar-13 13:08:56

I would find out if she is being influenced in any way by a friend at school.

Children are naturally inquisitive about peers who have a different appearance to them, but it shouldnt be so "anti" as your daughter appears to be.

ditavonteesed Tue 26-Mar-13 13:09:10

my dd went through a phase of saying racist things, I think she was about 3, I told nursery immediatly and they did circle time, we also had nicey nicey discussions about it. That didnt work so i told her it was unkind and unacceptable and she would be punished if I ever heard her say that again, she stopped.

Kewcumber Tue 26-Mar-13 13:10:29

no I don't beleive that children are racist at 3 unless they are spouting things they've heard their parentns say.

It seems possible that either she has had a bad experience with a child at nursery.

Eitehr way you need to be a little firmer with her about her use of language. if you thinkits inappropriate - it isn;t always, sometimes it just observational but it sounds ot me like you think it more than that.

Kewcumber Tue 26-Mar-13 13:11:00

yes what Dita said too...

Itsjustafleshwound Tue 26-Mar-13 13:13:39

But then again also acknowledge the differences in skin colour, hair colour etc.

The fact that she is reticent to play and is making disparaging comments should be questioned.

msjones80 Tue 26-Mar-13 13:17:18

Thanks guys. Yes think I'm definitely getting her a black doll too (I got her a lottie doll yesterday, and there's only one with dark skin), but I'll get it too so it can be friends with the blonde one.

Iseeall there were a couple of boys at nursery that weren't very nice to her (but I wouldn't go as far as to say she had been bullied, they were just a bit rude not wanting to play with "girls"). And anyway, one was black but the other one was Indian, so not sure... Also, there have been many little black girls who have been lovely to her or who I see want to interact with her in class and she doesn't give a chance. I think a playdate is an excellent idea... do you know any good books or stories for children on the subject too?

dancemom Tue 26-Mar-13 13:20:43

I wouldnt call it racist, you wouldnt give her a label if she said she preferred to play with the blonde girl or she didnt like to play with the taller girl. I would just encourage tolerance and continue having disucssions about it, also think the doll is a good idea.

Kewcumber Tue 26-Mar-13 13:21:52

Personally I think you are wasting your time with the doll if she doesn't want it. Children don;t play with stuff becuase we paretns think its a good idea!

How amenable would your black friend be to having a word with her?

Are you sure that she has a problme with black/brown skin? Are you sure she's just not particularly friendly with the black girls in her class?

DeWe Tue 26-Mar-13 13:23:58

I would wonder if there had been something going on at nursery. Dd2 went through a stage at age about 5-6yo.

What happened was we were going home in the dark along a path which is lines with trees and a chap came up behind us silently, and made dd2 jump as she hadn't seen him. For ages she was just mega shy round anyone with the same colouring as him.
I found it really embarassing, and still find it strange that incident seemed to set off such an extreme reaction. Thankfully she grew out of it, after many talks about us all being the same inside, and she never expressed it out loud, which helped.

msjones80 Tue 26-Mar-13 13:28:04

No, I'm pretty sure she has a problem with black people. Not brown skin, she is friends with one of my friends son who is Asian and they have very brown skin. Also, the black girls in her class are very nice.

I would also say she can see it upsets me.

msjones80 Tue 26-Mar-13 13:29:09

Thanks DeWe, it's good to know she got over it.

Iseeall Tue 26-Mar-13 13:37:04

A quick look on amazon under childrens books-education brings up quite a selection of books that might be suitable. Am not techy so cannot link but these sound like they are worth a try.
The skin i'm in by Pat Thomas
It's okay to be different by Todd Parr
Come and eat with us by Annie Publer.


Shelly32 Tue 26-Mar-13 13:57:23

msjones When my DD was 3, she was cuddled up in bed with me and a black newsreader came on the TV. She quietly informed me that she didn't like black people. I'm brown skinned and so is half of one side of her family so I couldn't help but laugh. I asked her why and she said she didn't know. She's never said it since and loves her white/black/brown friends and dolls alike. I always wonder whether she was trying to see what I thought by saying that. I'm sure your daughter has just had a bad experience with a child who happens to be black. I wouldn't worry about it.

ComposHat Tue 26-Mar-13 13:57:27

Surely at 3, she would be unaware of the cultural meanings and history attached to skin colour and race? I don't think she is racist as such.

propertyNIGHTmareBEFOREXMAS Tue 26-Mar-13 14:04:24

I think you need to tell her straight that it is unacceptable to decide whether she likes someone based solely on the colour of their skin.

familyfun Tue 26-Mar-13 14:06:27

my dd is 5 and the girls she likes to play with have long blonde hair and blue eyes, like she does. She picks friends who look similar to herself. i dont think thats rascist at 5, she has white/brown and black skinned teachers and likes them all. she also picks dolls that look like herself.
my dd2 had darker hair and brown eyes and loves dora dolls as they look like her. i think they identify with similar looking people.

Kaida Tue 26-Mar-13 14:13:41

Kids around her age start noticing differences and automatically ascribe positive attributes to "like me" and negative/less positive attributes to "not like me". The book Nurture Shock has a great chapter on it emphasizing that we need to actively teach children it's okay to be friends with people of all colours/genders/abilities/etc, as tribalism is natural. There was an experiment where they took a group of little children and for one day put half in blue shirts and half in red. They then had a period of time where they weren't colour-coded any more and there was no reference made to the blue or red shirts. Then they asked questions about the two groups, and the children consistently rated their group as better on a range of measures.

msjones80 Tue 26-Mar-13 14:15:04

shelly that's hilarious!

propertyNIGHTmare the problem if I tell her like that, she might stop saying those things, but I want her to be able to open herself to me, so I'd rather explain to her why it isn't acceptable than forbid.

Forgot to mention I took her to the london museum in the docklands a few weeks ago and we saw all the footage and exhibition about the people from Africa who were enslaved. I explained to her about race, discrimination, etc. So she knows!!! I wish she could empathize more. She's only 5 I know sad

Booyhoo Tue 26-Mar-13 14:18:27

tbh i'd be inclined to speak with her teacher and find out if there is an issue in school between her and another child/children or if there is a problem with racism in general in the class. the teacher will have noticed if there is a division in the class based on colour and will be able to tell you what steps they have taken/are taking to resolve it. if your DD is voicing these opinions at home they are likely to to have been voiced in school aswell and the teacher will be aware.

propertyNIGHTmareBEFOREXMAS Tue 26-Mar-13 14:33:07

Explain why it is unacceptable then! Put it in simple turns. Say we can none of us 'help' or 'influence' what we are born looking like so to pick on a physical aspect of a person and decide you don't like it is wrong, cruel and unkind. If your dd has curly hair or blue eyes ask her would she feel upset and hurt if another child in her class refused to play with her 'just because' of her having blue eyes/curly hair. At 5 your dd is old enough to understand that she should be mindful of other people's feelings

MsAkimbo Tue 26-Mar-13 14:50:47

I'd agree that dialogue is key. By 5 you can ask her to verbalize why she says/thinks these things, how she came to these conclusions, and then explain to her why these things are wrong.

As she gets older she'll be able to better recognize that people will be different, but she'll be better able to respect differences once she understands how hurtful it is to judge others.

MilfRocket Tue 26-Mar-13 15:04:31

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

propertyNIGHTmareBEFOREXMAS Tue 26-Mar-13 15:06:47


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