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explaining race to a nearly 4 year old

(10 Posts)
homicidalmummymaniac Thu 05-Nov-09 19:33:13

dd (nearly 4) has started to show an increasing awareness in differences in those around her, specifically race. We live in a largely white community and her new best friend at nursery is black, so need some advice on how to answer questions like 'is that xxxx's daddy/mummy' (every black adult hmm'why are we not the same etc'

Don't really want to make a big deal of it as I didn't really think I would need to explain anything, thought the 'everyone is different' line would suffice but dd is curious and demnading fuller answers! Anyone?

Thanks in advance!

shallishanti Thu 05-Nov-09 19:43:14

your dd looks more or less like you and her df

her friend looks more or less like her dps

there are different people all over the place. Round here most people look more or less like you and your dp (pinky colour skin)
in other places there are more different kinds of people, and that's great.
Make sur she has some books that feature children and adults of different ethnicities. Talk about them positively. I don't know why people think kids won't notice something as blindingly obvious as skin colour- what's important is that they learn to see it as in interesting, positive difference. IMO.

idontbelieveitifitsinthemail Thu 05-Nov-09 19:45:22

this makes for interesting reading.

salbysea Thu 05-Nov-09 19:45:25

you could relate skin color to eye/hair color? a bit simplistic but they are hereditary traits?

chegirl Thu 05-Nov-09 20:39:40

I would answer her questions as they arise rather than attempt to explain race IYSWIM.
She is very young and her interest is more likely to be in the obvious rather than anything more complex.

So when she asks 'why are we different' (shalli makes a good suggestion) say 'we look like our mummies and daddies your friend looks like her mummy.

'Why mummy?' 'Because people are different in lots of ways, your hair is curly and nannies hair is straight' etc etc.

She probably will be perfectly satisfied and wont bother asking anything else for quite a while. When she does answer that question until the next one comes up.

Hassled Thu 05-Nov-09 20:42:31

Just point out how some people have blue eyes, some brown, some green, some people have red hair, some have yellow hair etc - and some people have darker skin than others. It's as uncomplicated as that.

shallishanti Thu 05-Nov-09 21:11:15

idontbelieve, that is VERY interesting, thanks for posting that....to everyone else, do have a look, it explains I think persuasively that we (by which I mean white parents) do our children a big disservice by not mentioning race and hoping they grow up without noticing difference...or absorbing society's views on race. Something I suspect black parents could have told us.

NoseyNooNoo Thu 05-Nov-09 21:30:24

Interesting article 'Idon'tbelieve...'

It's a shame it doesn't include the conversation topics that the parents were supposed to mention.

kreecherlivesupstairs Fri 06-Nov-09 10:11:15

When our dd first noticed this we were living in Oman, I just told her that people were the same inside, it was just outside that they were different. Same as brown eggs and white eggs. I am proud to say she used this analogy when we lived in Thailand.

JoeyBettany Fri 06-Nov-09 13:14:31

nice analogy kreecher, I'm going to use that one.

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