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Comments Made By Older People About Children

(54 Posts)
OldMcDonald Thu 07-Dec-17 17:00:43

I volunteer in a couple of roles where I come into contact with primary school children during school hours. Many of the other volunteers are retired. I'm in my thirties.

I frequently find myself raising an eyebrow at comments made by other volunteers relating to race or disability that it wouldn't cross my mind to think let alone say. This is privately and not to the children or anything. For example commenting on how many black faces there were and how that's a big change from how it used to be (matter of factly not in a tone that suggests it's a negative thing) or hypothesising on what medical condition might be behind mobility or speech issues.

I appreciate that they most likely didn't grow up in a time and place where diversity was common and certainly not one where it was celebrated but AIBU to be surprised that a more modern view point hasn't rubbed off on them? Also AIBU to think that if they are thinking these things, they shouldn't be saying them out loud? Finally AIBU to be petrified of turning into one of them in 30 or 40 years time, possibly not in relation to the same issues, but something new?

WorraLiberty Thu 07-Dec-17 17:19:34

Blimey, I honestly thought you were describing my workplace until you mentioned what the volunteers were saying. Our volunteers (yes, even the elderly ones!) are very used to the diversity here in London/Essex.

AIBU to be surprised that a more modern view point hasn't rubbed off on them? - It's hard to say really as you haven't said roughly how long your area has been that diverse. For example, some areas can become very mixed in the space of just a year or so.

Also AIBU to think that if they are thinking these things, they shouldn't be saying them out loud? - Yes, you're being very unreasonable. They're simply discussing these things amongst themselves, out of interest. They're not saying anything bad or insulting are they?

Finally AIBU to be petrified of turning into one of them in 30 or 40 years time, possibly not in relation to the same issues, but something new? - Strange question, which only you can answer confused

ferntwist Thu 07-Dec-17 17:24:47

YABU and very judgemental. It’s true in many places that society is changing. Do you know that they have malicious motives in commenting?

5foot5 Thu 07-Dec-17 17:25:40

For example commenting on how many black faces there were and how that's a big change from how it used to be (matter of factly not in a tone that suggests it's a negative thing)

So what is your issue with this? If they were saying this in a negative way or were making any racist comments then I can see your point. But this just sounds like an observation. The area you live in probably is more culturally diverse than it was years ago when these people were last coming in to contact with young children so it is very likely an accurate observation. Again - if it is not being said in a negative way I don't understand why you have an issue with it.

As to hypothesising about medical conditions - I am not saying this is right but how many times on Mumsnet do you see people diagnosing various additional needs with very little evidence to go on? So this is not something exclusive to people of "that generation".

It sounds to me like you are just looking for a reason to be disparaging about older people.

OldMcDonald Thu 07-Dec-17 17:29:26

It's a medium sized city that's been ethnically diverse, at least in some areas, for decades and we're dealing with kids from all over it.

WorraLiberty Thu 07-Dec-17 17:33:27

Ok but I still don't get your issue.

They're volunteering so they obviously enjoy the children and they're discussing the changes, with each other.

Can you explain a bit more about why you think they shouldn't speak of these things?

headinhands Thu 07-Dec-17 17:45:45

My husband always says it's a good job that humans don't live forever. Humans find it hard to adapt to new ways of life and new attitudes. That's not to say we shouldn't challenge prejudice where and when we see it.

TeenTimesTwo Thu 07-Dec-17 17:47:07

This reads to me of being afraid to even talk about skin colour in case it offends.
Can you go and give this ice-cream to Jake/Eve/James please.
Who is Jake? The boy over there with the spikey blond hair.
Who is Eve? The girl over there with the black skin.
Who is James? The boy over there in the wheelchair.
I think all 3 are acceptable. But I don't think everyone would agree with me.

WorraLiberty Thu 07-Dec-17 17:51:07

I agree headinhands but equally (as in the OP) people need to stop trying hard to find it when it's clearly not there.

OldMcDonald Thu 07-Dec-17 17:52:07

I'm not even sure if they shouldn't, to be honest, hence this thread. It's not the racist etc comments I encountered at my last job. I guess I barely notice skin colour nowadays. Hypothesising on someone's medical condition just seems intrusive. Take them at face value/deal with the issues they have. What does it matter what actual label they have?

Domani Thu 07-Dec-17 17:52:10

OP, either you feel uncomfortable about them discussing changes (if so, why?) or you're trying to stir things a bit (on here and at job), Which is it?

phoenix1973 Thu 07-Dec-17 17:52:36

I like the older people. They call a spade a spade and are not suffocated by political correctness.
My in-laws are the same, to be fair, they've got a point.

paxillin Thu 07-Dec-17 17:53:27

"Aren't old people horrid and racist"- I can't answer this. Aren't you ageist? Probably. Are you trying to censor them? Certainly on here. As you say, they talk matter of factly not in a tone that suggest it's a negative thing.

LadyinCement Thu 07-Dec-17 17:53:36

In response to your last question - yes, you probably will turn into one of them. Many people of my age simply can't understand the "trans" thing and my teens suck their teeth in and look disapproving when I say that I don't want any man to be able to enter a women's toilet or compete in women's sport.

Auvergne Thu 07-Dec-17 17:53:44

I don’t think observing that there are more black people around than there’s used to be is racist in itself, to be honest, although I suppose it depends on the tone it is said in.

I don’t think it’s linked to age, it’s more to do with exposure to different places and experiences. I probably would have said stupid stuff like that myself once.

WorraLiberty Thu 07-Dec-17 17:55:34

What does it matter what actual label they have?

Why does it matter what other Mumsnetters are having for tea tonight?

It doesn't matter but that doesn't stop people wanting to discuss it.

Honestly, I don't understand why you're trying to hard to make this an issue.

If this sort of attitude carries on, no-one's going to feel comfortable chatting about anything.

OldMcDonald Thu 07-Dec-17 17:56:45

Teen I would, and have, used such descriptions.

Not stirring. Haven't said anything at work. Just wondering why it feels a bit uncomfortable to listen to. Maybe I am trying a bit too hard to be PC. I guess that's what I'm getting at. Where is that happy middle ground?

overnightangel Thu 07-Dec-17 17:57:33

Nothing hmuntoward has been said and as you say yourself it’s been all matter of factly.

If the above comments had been said by anyone 30/40 years younger you wouldn’t have started this thread so you probably should have a look at yourself first and foremost

RestingGrinchFace Thu 07-Dec-17 18:00:01

You sound very backwards yourself. Really, people shouldn't speak their mind? It's like something straight out of Stalinist Russia. But then again I am younger than you so maybe my views in this respect are more modern.

It's quite clear that they do not mean offence, perhaps they are even trying to celebrate diversity by commenting on it. It looks to me as if you are looking for reasons to be offended here.

Eltonjohnssyrup Thu 07-Dec-17 18:05:41

Honestly, no matter how broad minded you are in 30 years the world will have changed in ways you find shocking and remarkable. It's what younger generations do.

WorraLiberty Thu 07-Dec-17 18:08:00

Well I'm 48 and I'll be fucked if I can understand it grin

The OP doesn't say if she's black or disabled (or both)

But I do know a lot of black and Asian people (not so many disabled), who get mightily pissed off at white people taking offence on their behalf, to just about anything and everything.

It does absolutely nothing to promote harmonious living. In fact, it's in danger of setting it back if people become too nervous to open their mouths about anything, that's not offensive, racist or disablist.

StealthNinjaMum Thu 07-Dec-17 18:15:45

Unless you can come up with better examples yabu. Discussing things in a non judgemental way is ok.

Last night I had dinner with a friend. We have same age daughters and are viewing secondary schools in our area both private and state. I mentioned that the head girl of a private school was black and didn't have to say that I liked that because we live in a very undiverse area. She is on the same wavelength as me.

I would hate to think the people on the next table would think I was being racist.

OldMcDonald Thu 07-Dec-17 18:20:36

I stand corrected! I guess I err on the trying to be too PC side.

FuzzyCustard Thu 07-Dec-17 18:23:59

So you dislike people making matter of fact comments about ethnicity or disability, but you don't seem to mind making generalisations about age?
YABU and ageist.

SilverySurfer Thu 07-Dec-17 18:24:08

Well you've dissed the oldies and demonstrated how right on and PC you are. Assume that's what you were trying to achieve?

There's no point being petrified of turning into one of 'them' in 30 years because you will. There will be new things you probably won't realise may be un-pc and there will be bright young things just waiting for you to say the wrong thing so they can start a thread on MN showing how PC and right on they are. grin

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