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Children and racism

(39 Posts)
LuciaRose Tue 12-Dec-06 10:19:37

Have you or your children experienced racism and what for did it take? Do you think it really is worse than run of the mill bullying that any child can experience ie. for being fat or wearing glasses.

Thank you.

Tortington Tue 12-Dec-06 10:21:55

my children have been racist.

my children have been on the recieving end of racism as have i

at school my personal opinion is that its another insult along with other heinus things. which should not be tolerated.

LuciaRose Tue 12-Dec-06 12:21:13

What form does the racism take? Is it name-calling or being left out? Or misconceptions? I never quite know what people mean.

JennyLeevesmilkandcookiesforSa Thu 14-Dec-06 11:28:47

yes it is worse as it attacking something that you cannot change and your identity and is more wounding than just calling names as it is setting you up as being inferior. there has never been slavery based on being fat or wearing glasses or murder committed because people are fat or wearing glassess or being burned out of their home for being fat or wearing glasses, it is different because it is so powerful. Racism is the worst it really is. Being called fat would upset me a little and I am fat so I can't argue it really but being called racist names makes me so angry and is the worst thing anyone can do especially to kids. i would say to kids if an asian or spanish kids is annoying you can't you jsut be normal and say leave us alone we can't stand you, why do you have to take it to racism 'piss off p*ki' is just too, much taking it too far and when you get older you can be prosecuted for racism ' But in the end I just keep my son in . you can't explain anything to racist kids it is already too late for them. no offence to anyone that is just an example of what I have said when that comment has been aimed at my son who is a quarter hispanic

JennyLeevesmilkandcookiesforSa Thu 14-Dec-06 11:31:11

it is name calling, being left and misconceptions, preconceptions, violence and ill considered jokes and comments, segregation, slavery, abuse. there is nothing complicated about what is racism. it is all of the above and more

LuciaRose Fri 15-Dec-06 10:07:28

Would you say things are getting better? There are more people of different colours in positions of authority now. I would like to think that things could never be reversed now to the days of suppression.

I think children have more role models of mixed races who have been successful, which must give them more confidence.

Am I just being optimistic?

blueshoes Fri 15-Dec-06 10:22:14

My dh is mixed race as are our children.

A few years ago, we were contemplated moving out of London to one of the home counties for better schools, more house space etc. We eventually binned the idea. One of the main reasons was the cultural and ethnic diversity London offered.

We have not encountered overt racism. But sometimes the subtle racism (like not being the first choice for promotions, mentors at work) is more insiduous. My children are too young to comment, but so long as there is a mix of children of different races, I think there will be niches that they can carve out for themselves.

drosophila Fri 15-Dec-06 10:32:47

My DS is mixed race and is very pale but to me he is clearly mixed race. Most kids in his school are black or asian and he was tormented because he was 'accused' of being white and 'my mom says all white people are horrible'. Hasn't happened for a while now but he was very upset by it.

JennyLeevesmilkandcookiesforSa Fri 15-Dec-06 14:48:24

things are not as bad for my son as they were for me but we live in Scotland which is not as multi cultural outside the main cities, and racism is alive and well among children who get it from their parents. My son realised from a young age that he was at a disadvantage and he wished he would 'turn white like his Dad' and my son is not even that dark but just a little bit diffrent enough that the kids notice, it is a constant battle to instill pride in him about who he is and how it cannot be changed so he must be proud of himself and never feel inferior. I think if we were Asian at least we would have a community to be part of but we are basically Scottish but don't look Scottish and that makes it harder as tey are not always accepting. it also depends who you are with and where you are , i never had any problems with racism at uni but in F.e college and school I did. Also me and my ds don't get stared at at the shopping centre if it is just us but if with my Spanish Mother we do get looks and stares. It is always there and I guess thats all I can say, it may improve but it is always there

blueshoes Sat 16-Dec-06 10:41:11

Jenny, it is so sad that your ds says he wants to be white like his dad. It is probably a response to being different from his peers - which is something I know my children will also struggle with.

My SIL (half Asian, half English) is one of the most strikingly beautiful women I know, with her light skin and dark hair. But she has always wanted to be the conventional blond haired blue-eyed princess and married a man who did give her a lovely dd like that!

I know what you mean about belonging to a community. But being mixed race, I think there is really no community that would not see them as being different. Which is why I decided to not stop at one and have 2 - at least dd and ds will have each other.

JennyLeevesmilkandcookiesforSa Sat 16-Dec-06 13:54:39

thanks blueshoes, I often wish i had had more babies too so that there would be a few of them the same, but he is 7 now and dh does not really warm to the idea of having more.

When we went to mexico it was immediate acceptance people just assumed we were Mexican and talked to us.
I understand where my ds is coming from having been through it myself, but there is also a downside to having another baby my little brother came out white looking although he has darkened up now and my Mum always preferred him and made a fuss of her 'little snowball' and always alluded to it and so that made it worse as I felt inferior to him and jelous that he got no hassle at school or outside.

I think though if you are half Asian fro want of a better phrase, you at least have all the Asian tv channels , radio stations, religious places of worship, shops and family members around and people that will talk to you and play with your kids, whereas there is nothing like that for me and my ds s o we only have scottish culture and have always lived here from birth and have scottish family yet we are not completely accepted as Scotttish.

But life is generally good this is just a little part of things not the most important part to me, it just comes up every so often to cause problems and make things harder, but everyone has problems i try to not focus on it too much as when I was a teenager I did all that angst and feeling bad and won't spend time doing that if I can help it now.

PeachyIsNowAChristmasFruit Sat 16-Dec-06 13:59:59

my kids get mild racism (based on being English in Wales)although we've been relatively lucky compared to some I know.

i've also experienced my eldest making comments about skin colours, now to an extent he can't help it as it is a classic part of his Aspergers Syndrome- he also comments on weight, hair, anything really. However, I have found loads of really excellent books that deal nicely with the issue on Amazon and he has a few amongst his collection, which he pulls ut by choice from time to time. I think its good to get the issue into neutral territory like that he also has a great one about people who use wheelchairs called Mama Zooms, they're just there amongst the hairy McLary and dinosaur books).

JennyLeevesmilkandcookiesforSa Sat 16-Dec-06 14:07:46

that is good that you are open about talking about differences, I don't mind people commenting and noticing as it good to be curious as a child and ask questions, it is when it is outright nasty that I have a problem, i try to explain it and if the children are open they just listen and ask questions and thats it, but not all children wait for the explanation.

I also got it for my accent up here as we lived in Cyprus for 2 years when I was a child in the army life, and somehow I have an English accent. doubly cursed , brown and with a clipped English accent (at the time) lol

PeachyIsNowAChristmasFruit Sat 16-Dec-06 14:40:04

they have this series of books, he likes trhe disability one (don't call me special) from his own perspective; the rest seem to fit. We also found the Is it right to fight one good for him!!!! Its nice to have the resources that he might find useful ready.

The accent one is an issue here; they ahev braod Somerset accents. In the nativity DS2 was xcast with the sole lines 'oo ar oo ar ooar' and I noticed in every year group the Asian kids got King roles . decided not to, as Dh puts it, 'create' but wish they culd be mroe theoughtful.

blueshoes Sat 16-Dec-06 15:02:29

Jenny, it must have been difficult for you to come from a culture and be to all intents and purposes the same yet not feel totally accepted because of skin colour - which is not something you or ds can help. Particularly in teenage years when you are finding your own identity.

I am oriental and grew up in a country where we were the ethnic majority and had no such angst. But I had to adjust when I came to UK to work 10 years ago.

I guess it would really hurt if my dd/ds feel they want to be more white because it would seem like a personal rejection of me and, erm, half of dh. Could you teach your ds about Spanish culture and the language, He might not appreciate it now, but I think he will later. I am trying to teach my dcs mandarin but I am pretty bad at it!

I agree that children are naturally curious and it is right for them to ask questions. It is when their minds close and attitudes harden that is more a reflection of those of their parents IMO.

JennyLeevesmilkandcookiesforSa Sat 16-Dec-06 23:59:43

blue shoes that is what I have tried to do from when he was a baby, even thoguh he is only really a quarter spanish he has always been talked to and taught as much about spanish and Hispanic culture and as much Spanish as I can teach him considering my Mum did nto teach me , I had to learn at college/uni and I'm still not really fluent. My MUm used to just tell me I was white as my Dad is and I was quite confused about it untill about the age of 13 or 14 and learned stuff myself although we did go to Belize/Mexico every few years I did not properly get it until then. My son is already better than me he already knows where his granny is from and as much about the history, language , culture as I get him to understand and he is not racist to anyone. unlike my mum I don't hide it or pretend it does not matter so at least he won't be confused. We have people from china living upstairs and he tries to talk to their 3 children even thoguht they don;t understand him they just smile , but he talks away to them and tries to play when we see them

MKGnearlyimmaculateconception Sun 17-Dec-06 02:03:28

My dh is Mexican and when we first started dating (when I was in high school) people said all kinds of nasty, racist things to me.

We have ds and is very light skinned. My inlaws all call him "guerito-the little white one". I know that they mean it like a term of endearment, but when he grows up I don't want them to make him feel different from everyone. When he's around fair skinned white people he looks latino, and when he's around latinos he looks totally white. I'm afraid he might grow up feeling like he doesn't really belong anywhere.

JennyLeevesmilkandcookiesforSa Sun 17-Dec-06 02:18:47

that is so like my family but they mean it in a nice way my ds is not very dark for a mexican he is like your ds quite light but has almost black hair and dark brown eyes and goes moreno in summer like me. He felt totally at home in Mexico and Belize last year though, he fit right in loved the food didn;t get sunburnt or ill and was going about with bare feet like some of his cousins at one point.

My dh loves his 'brown wife and child' some of his friends were a bit off with me when we first started dating many years ago but he does nto know tham any more .

His parents are lovely too, my fil mistakenly once showed my ds a native american ornament he had (likes the whole wild west thing) and said look Lewis this is like your granny a native american, which i thought was highly amusing, i mean ther emust be some Maya indian in us somewhere, my mum however was offended lol.

i think a lot of hispanic familes refer to colour a lot anyway it is always a big deal if some of our kids are born with light hair or eyes or 'clear skin' all that colonial stuff, my family in Belize /mexico have the whole spectrum of colours from very Mayan looking to dark and light spanish to white spanish and some afro -carribean latinos and there is even racism within our family over there although it is covert related to these colour variations such as saying that the lighter kids are beautiful regardless of whether they really are or not and that they are more so than the darker ones. it drives me mad

Chandra Sun 17-Dec-06 02:21:00

If it helps, I'm dark and Mexican and people calls me Guerita when I visit Mexico city . My skin has been described here in England as... caffe latte.

They also say DS looks Spanish even when he is the spitting image of my Mexican father who Spanish say looks like a German!

Chandra Sun 17-Dec-06 02:22:10

Jenny, I was already thinking we have many things in common and then I find this thread? were are you based? American Southwest?

JennyLeevesmilkandcookiesforSa Sun 17-Dec-06 02:25:08

wonderfull knew there must be some of us somewhere! one kids in my family who is dark gets called cannello or something, not sure what it means, my mum was mortifed when my spansih teacher at uni who was a german brought up in spain called me a morena, does nto bother me though,

am waitng on an order or masa harina on monday from an online mexican deli so can make tortillas and eat myself to death, maybe get my Mum to make panades

JennyLeevesmilkandcookiesforSa Sun 17-Dec-06 02:26:23

Oh are you in america? was hoping was U'k as am in Scotland of all places lol, there is a mexican deli in glasgow and ediburgh unfortunaely they don't sell horchata though

MKGnearlyimmaculateconception Sun 17-Dec-06 02:27:48

The funny thing is that my family doesn't seem to make a big deal of his mixed heritage (funny because I always think of racism as being white against people of color), but my dh's does. I'm pregnant now and the inlaws can't wait to see what this one is going to look like, will it be darker or lighter, with brown eyes or blue.

MKGnearlyimmaculateconception Sun 17-Dec-06 02:28:57

I'm in the US. I live in New Jersey. We have a huge Latino population in our area, which is good for dh and ds.

MKGnearlyimmaculateconception Sun 17-Dec-06 02:31:14

It is hard to find good horchata. I tried to make it but it just doesn't taste the same. I am trying to master mole at the moment.

My dh has a joke about me because he says I'm white on the outside but brown on the inside. I think he's amazed that I've accepted his culture full on.

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