Have a concern with nearly 5 years old dd. We have recently moved from an almost exclusively white enclave of the country to an area that's more ethnically diverse. DD is worrying the pants off me by saying she doesn't like people with brown/black skin or curly (ie afro) hair because they're "scary".
Obviously I want to nip this one smartly and don't know whether the best strategy is to not make a big issue of it, for all the reasons that making a deal out of something doesn't generally work well, OR, make a big fuss to show that it's unacceptable. I certainly don't want any of this madness coming out at school where, oddly, I thought she'd actually made friends with some children of Indian parents.
The ridiculous thing is that she has a black auntie and mixed race cousins, so colour really shouldn't matter to her, but she says they're scary too. The cousins are big boys and live in the part of the country we've just moved from, so lots of extra contact with them isn't an option. It's so sad apart from anything as the aforementioned auntie doesn't have daughters of her own and couldn't dote on mine more.
It's pretty common for children to show a preference for people "like them". You don't need to make a big deal of it, but don't ignore it either - she has obviously noticed the physical differences between people so talk to her about what they mean, how everyone is the same underneath etc. And emphasise that racism and discrimination isn't acceptable.
I don't know whay you are making an issue out of it TBH any child would naturally be anxious around people who are different if they havn't had much contact with them. It does not mean that she is turning into a racist, it just means that she needs differences explained to her calmly and sensitively and get her out there, mixiing with people of all ethnicities!
I come from a small island where as a child I didn't even see a black person before I was a teen and yes they scared me too but that was nothing to do with racism, just unfamiliarity. As I grew up and saw more of the world I got used to different skin colours/accents/attitudes etc.
She is 5 and has lived a 'sheltered' life. Allow her to mix and just explain to her about differences!
My dd went through a phase like this, I ignored it and now doesn't seem to be a problem. There is probably a book by todd (unhelpfully forgotton his surname) called everyone is different or something - hang on a min <off to amazon to investigate>
I don't think its particularly ususual in young children to be scared of those different to themselves. What you do need to do is talk to her about it.
Ask her why she finds them scary
Talk about how people are different (different skin colour, hair colour, eye colour, tall/short, fat/thin, curly/straight hair). You can also do cat a is tabby while cat b is ginger type stuff as well, or how fish are all different colours.
Talk about why people have different skin colour (only needs basic information) and how we all started in Africa.
I wouldn't tell her off or get cross because that will backfire but you can't ignore it or brush it off, you need to tackle it head on.