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Doesnt like brown people

(26 Posts)
Starxx Wed 29-Jun-11 12:41:45

My son told me the other day (he is only 5) that he only loves people with his colour skin.

I am mortified that he would even think it and I know he is only 5 but I dont want this to get out of hand.

Im also concerned that my reaction might be more damaging cos its making it more obvious that I dont like it and that could just encourage him to say it even more....

Any suggestions about a good book I can read with him??

Octaviapink Wed 29-Jun-11 12:43:41

Do you think he's come up with this by himself or might he have got it from a friend? Racism in children is rare - they generally don't notice skin colour - unless it's something that's mentioned at home.

colditz Wed 29-Jun-11 12:45:46

I wouldn't be too shocked, kids can be quite xenophobic if they live in a monoculture. Have a gentle tease of him, ask him if he dislikes people with different colour hair to his (he will probably say yes, then you can remind him of someone he LOVES who has different colour hair, such as a grandparent). Then explain that different hair colour is the same as different skin colour.

Starxx Wed 29-Jun-11 12:47:33

When I asked him why he said this, he says it just came from his head...

We dont discuss this sort of this at home and even if he had of overheard a family member talking about colour of skin etc we dont use the word brown and he also used the word 'peach' for his skin colour.

friendcat Wed 29-Jun-11 12:50:35

Think of it as a genuine, innocent statement and give examples of 'good' people with different colour skin.
He's just beginning to see differences and his own skin colour is what is familiar and 'nice' to himself. Don't worry!

needanewname Wed 29-Jun-11 12:50:54

I like Colditz's idea, but try not to give him a big reaction

mrsruffallo Wed 29-Jun-11 12:52:05

I don't think a book is the answer. Are you in a multicultural area

friendcat Wed 29-Jun-11 12:55:47

Ps. My DS2 used to be fascinated with peoples physical differences and would loudly point them out to me on the bus. I would say, "Yes, and I'm wearing blue trousers and you have a hat on" etc etc.

Pagwatch Wed 29-Jun-11 13:04:52

It is nothing to do with racism. It is just childish awareness of the differences in people around him and his own ability to like different things.

When my dd was 5 she informed me that she didn't like one little girl because she had curly hair hmm.

We just talked about it. How what people are like on the outside isn't the important thing and all the different shapes and sizes and colours and abilities are what make it interesting.

Assuming it is racism is actually adults layering their own issues on to a child. The idea that this is a learned behaviour and the sign of someone influencing him with racist attitudes is, in the absence of any actually racist behaviour, a complete over reaction and a misunderstanding of what he has said. He could just as easily said 'i don't like yellow hair or freckles" and there would be no hand wringing.

Don't worry about how you discuss it because it is not an issue around racism

Starxx Wed 29-Jun-11 13:09:09

Thanks for all the replies .... :D

We live in a large city and his school is very multicultural ..and I guess thats what Im concerned about, is that he will say something that someone will deem inappropriate and not just a 5 year old noticing differences etc.

Pagwatch - I agree completely and in fact, once or twice he has said something about not liking someone on telly cos they had the wrong colour trousers on or something and I didnt bat an eye then!

Oblomov Wed 29-Jun-11 13:29:44

My friend had the same issue in reception. she was mortified. her ds said he didn't like the colour of one of the girls. a half-cast little girl, with the loveliest colour of light brown skin. and when she asked him why, he said he didn't know. My friend and i didn't know what to say. out of 60 children, predominantly white, there are about 5 half caste children, most quite dark, quite a few malay, and quite a few indian . so why any child would say this, my friend and i could not phathom.
I think she played it down and said not to much about it. And then he became best friends with one of the indian boys.
so why his skin was o.k., we have no idea.
maybe this needs to just be played down. not sure.

friendcat Wed 29-Jun-11 14:56:58

the term these days is 'dual heritage' rather than 'half-caste'

Oblomov Wed 29-Jun-11 15:09:04

very sorry. didn't mean to offend. i like the word , i think its lovely. sorry if its not the right word.

friendcat Wed 29-Jun-11 15:19:40

oh no, none taken!

was just pointing it out smile - that phrase will probably be superseded by something new next week

Primafacie Wed 29-Jun-11 15:35:43

Eurgh, as a mother of two Indian/Caucasian kids, I must say I really don't like the term "half cast" and would not want anyone calling them that! To me it is as bad as Paki or Chinky. But your apology is noted and accepted!

snicker Wed 29-Jun-11 15:48:02

Its not racism. Its just identifying yourself with a particular group and children almost always do this along race and gender lines because its the most obvious. Adults are often reluctant to talk to children (esp white children) about race except along a vague "everybody is equal/nice/friends" line which doesn't always work because they don't regard everyone as equal, they think of themselves, their family and close friends as better, they don't have any hatred towards people outside the group, they just prefer their group. Children are not colourblind and they are prone to in-group favouritism. Tests on 6 month old babies have shown they notice ethnicity, its just not true that they don't notice.

I would recommend nurtureshock for you to read.

NotJustKangaskhan Wed 29-Jun-11 16:51:56

I completely agree with snicker. Kids notice these things, far more and far earlier than most people would like to think. Very young children are prone to in-group favouritism and it's the treatment of these differences by the people, world, and media around them that will shape how they will (hopefully) grow out of this phase and into a more open mindset. I would greatly suggest talking about it more as we tend to avoid talking about things that we see as bad, and kids pick up on that. And if we don't talk about race and culture, how are they to know the difference between the truth and fallacies all around us?

I would recommend loveisntenough.com as they have great stories, resources, and tips on these dealing with these issues with children.

lobatteries Wed 29-Jun-11 16:59:15

Am amazed re dual heritage/half caste and delighted. Have never liked the term half caste and I am love the term dual heritage so thank you at last I can feel happier with what I am. Even wrote half caste on a form for my dd recently and again felt unhappy about doing so. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU.

Back to OP I am once again very shocked by this attitude in children, having experienced it and always assumed it was down to the parents or family members when such young children come out with similar remarks. Like at lot of the suggestions and don't have any others but had to comment because of the dual heritage comment. So thank you for raising this problem on here because if nothing else it has helped me smile

fifitrixibell Wed 29-Jun-11 17:02:16

Don't worry - It's just a normal young child's reaction to difference. My DD1 went from a predominantly white nursrey to a predominantly asian school and spent the first term telling me she didn't like the 'brown' children because they weren't the same as her. I would cringe and try not to show my panic in my responses to her! We talked about it whenever she brought it up, but I did try not to make a big deal of it. I pointed out to her that one of her best friends (pre-school) was asian and she likes her. Eventually it just wasn't an issue anymore, and now most of her closer friends at school are asian.

Woodlands Wed 29-Jun-11 19:30:16

crikey I remember 'half-caste' was a massive no-no at primary school, over 20 years ago - can't believe some people still don't know it's not an acceptable term!

Some good advice here, hope it resolves quickly.

yearningforthesun Wed 29-Jun-11 19:58:16

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

marytuda Wed 29-Jun-11 21:53:55

Wow am I glad this has come up! I know from personal experience how much this happens but I thought that it was an almost-unmentionable in nice (white) circles. I speak as white mother of half-African DS just about to start at (predominantly black) primary. Round here virtually all the white kids go private. I can't help suspect that this deliberate segregation effectively from birth contributes to increased racial prejudice on all sides.
I grew up in all-white environment myself; never saw a black or brown person till landing for a year in a mixed school in 1960s Berkeley, California aged 9 (I’m that old) – and I remember being scared of “them”, as well as relieved I wasn’t one.
All my DS's first cousins (on my side) are now being brought up similarly monoculturally. One of them, aged nearly 8, has already used racist abuse when my 3 year old pissed him off at his house, by, I don't know, messing up his Lego. My sister (his mum) was of course mortified but part of me thought, well, what did you expect?
She deliberately moved her son from a racially mixed area (like ours) into very white suburb before he started (state) school. Her justification at the time: “Everybody likes to be with people like themselves.”
She had no idea at the time that I was about to give birth to a brown kid, but that’s no excuse, really.
Kids aren't stupid. They understand why they are being moved away from the inner cities, or sent to different schools from all the local riffraff; they also think they understand why their parents never mix with these (mostly black) people and why all their own schoolmates at their superior schools (bar the odd exception) are white.
So honestly, don’t be surprised. And don’t blame your kids. What do you f**king expect?
There. Needed to get it off my chest.

MissHonkover Wed 29-Jun-11 22:07:53

I haven't heard 'dual heritage' before and use 'mixed race', have I been saying the wrong thing?

marytuda, I live in a very very white part of the country and do wonder about exactly the issues you describe, and the impact on my DD of only meeting people whose skin is the same colour as hers.

marytuda Wed 29-Jun-11 22:08:21

I note of course that the OP hasn't moved her child to posh/all-white school, on the contrary, so of course I don't mean you personally Starxx, sorry if it looks like that. And I agree that it is just kids' way of identifying themselves as one thing, and other kids as something else, and that this is bound to involve appearance first of all. But unless it is challenged intelligently, in ourselves as well, that is where racism starts.

Starxx Wed 29-Jun-11 22:27:07

Once again thank you for all your replies, some really interesting comments and opinions on this and of course I havent taken anything personally.

I will be talking to my son about all of this at some point but it will be when he brings it up again himself rather than me starting a conversation about it. When we do talk, I will remind him (not really just making a point here) that the two times he has been told off for kissing at school were with one little girl who was black (or brown as he calls her) and the other little girl was indian so thinking about it, perhaps it is just that he had a 'row' with someone who happened to be a different colour and this was the only way he could describe it to me.

I want him to be respectful of other cultures, for instance I am not religious and just because I dont agree with other religions doesnt mean that I think he should be be disrespectful about them and the same applied to skin colour.

Dont you just love being a mum .... something new every day smile x

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