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"you can't play because you have brown skin and black hair"

(19 Posts)
nuru Mon 07-Sep-09 22:21:30

dd1 is 6 and just starting yr 2. She is mixed race (white British and Indian). She is a bright popular little girl, really sociable. Recently she has been talking a lot about the fact that she is different to her friends and wants to have white skin like them.

She came home from school today really upset because two of her good friends were playing a game where they were sisters. dd1 asked if she could play too and was told she couldn't because "you have brown skin and black hair".

Help - how do I deal with this?

Hulababy Mon 07-Sep-09 22:23:53

Speak to the teacher. S/he can then do some extra work on differences and fairness, as well as friendship, in circle time.

Nomoretears Mon 07-Sep-09 22:29:18

I had this with DD at nursery (then 4 yrs) - exactly the same comment from two very good friends who had literally grown up with her at nursery.

I didn't make a big deal about it to her but had a quiet non-accusatory word with the nursery manager. She then played a game with the kids (they all placed their hands within a circle and discussed varying skin tones) and had a word with the parents just letting them know what was said.

It worked perfectly and I would do as Hulababy suggested and have a word with the teacher - she may have even come across this problem before and have ideas as to how to approach it with the children.

Don't fret - these things will come and go in your DD's life but as long as she feels secure about who she is, all will be well smile

nuru Mon 07-Sep-09 22:38:29

Thanks for the reassurance and ideas.

Would normally have no problem speaking to the teacher, but unfortunately, their teacher has gone off on (probably) long term sick after the first day back, so we have supply teachers in at the moment. Added into the mix is the fact that the little girl concerned is the daughter of the Head. I know this shouldn't make any difference, but it does when it comes to how I raise the issue!

Nomoretears Mon 07-Sep-09 22:48:32

In that case I might have a word with the Head - you're cutting out the middle man so to speak!

If you're not feeling that confrontational, is there a school welfare officer you could have a word with? Or maybe have a chat with the school secretary about who the best person is to speak to.

MarsLady Mon 07-Sep-09 22:52:22

I would speak to the Head. Head teachers are people too and the Head will probably be glad that you brought it up.

Small children often say things like this and there is no intent. They just say it as they see it, they "know" that sisters look the same.

Nomoretears Mon 07-Sep-09 22:58:58

Totally agree with Mars that there is no intent at this age - DD's friends were just picking up one of the many differences and just needed a gentle PC push!

<waves at Marsy - how's the studying going?>

Nomoretears Mon 07-Sep-09 22:59:46

Whoops I've just realised I namechanged for another thread so you won't know who on earth I am blush

frogs Mon 07-Sep-09 23:03:29

Agree with Mars -- dd2 and one of her classmates are convinced that they are actually twins because they both have bunches and glasses. grin The fact that the friend is quite a dark-skinned east asian child while dd2 has standard UK-issue blondy-mouse colouring doesn't seem to factor into this equation, which I think is quite sweet.

nuru Mon 07-Sep-09 23:05:43

Thanks again for the reassurance.

I guess I know that it most likely has no "intent", but it always hurts to see your little one upset - am feeling quite emotional anyway at the mo as dd2 who has special needs is starting school nursery on Wed. Just need to pull myself together and be a strong Mum

nuru Mon 07-Sep-09 23:06:22

That's cute, frogs!

Nomoretears Mon 07-Sep-09 23:09:33

You're doing a great job honestly Nuru - you wouldn't be normal if this kind of stuff didn't bring a tear to your eye. Lucky DDs for having such a thoughtful loving Mummy. Good luck with DD2's first day at pre-school - I bet she has such a blast she forgets all about you 'til hometime smile

lilacpink Mon 07-Sep-09 23:25:59

I don't think the other DCs meant to be cruel, rather they're not appreciative and understanding of differences. I would go to the Head, not as the Head, but as the other Mum here. She may also have ideas to help across the school afterwards.

My first schools had children from a wide variety of ethnicities and I made friends based on who I liked to play with, then I moved to Devon (at 8), and wondered why everyone was suddenly white (I'm British white). I still 'see' people before their appearance now and think this is also due to my parents reinforcement that all people are individuals. I'm guessing you're in a mainly white area, and so your DD is questioning appearance differences herself. I wonder if there are other children in your area of a mixed race or Indian ethnicity (perhaps older children) who DD could gain some confidence from? i.e. to see that black hair, brown skin and eyes is great and something to be proud of. I have seen interviews where minority white children want to be Black/Asian depending on the majority within a school, so I think children ultimately all want to fit in. I have to add, when I was 6 I was jeolous of my friend's long sleek black hair (she was Indian), I hope your DD can see and enjoy the benefits from her genes as she grows.

MarsLady Tue 08-Sep-09 00:42:53

nomoretears... whoever you are. I am now the proud holder of a BA (Hons) English Literature. I got a 2:1 grin

Now I'm studying for my Lactation Consultant exam next July. grin

Nomoretears Tue 08-Sep-09 21:38:02

Nuru - how did you get on today? Hope it went well and you managed to get it sorted smile

Hurrah for MarsLady getting a 2:1 - that really is great news (it's CnC by the way if you remember me!) - good luck with the new course - you must be a glutton for punishment grin

<humble apologies to Nuru for slight hijack!>

nuru Tue 08-Sep-09 21:47:24

Thanks for the kind and helpful comments.

Yet another different teacher in the classroom today (four in four days!!) so went for it and spoke to the Head. She said she would address it, and dd1 said after school that the little girl had apologised for hurting her feelings.

All part of the steep learning curve that is parenthood

Nomoretears Tue 08-Sep-09 21:54:13

That's really great news Nuru - I'm so glad you managed to get it sorted out so quickly and relatively easily. Hope your DD1 has recovered and DD2 is suitably excited about tomorrow!

nuru Tue 08-Sep-09 21:58:16

Thanks!

dd1 seemed fine this evening and is getting fired up to plan an exciting Diwali party (do this every year but takes on a new meaning this year given yesterday), all sparkly and exciting.

dd2 alternates between being excited and shouting 'NO' when I talk about school - don't think she completely understands, but am sure she'll be fine tomorrow!

Nomoretears Tue 08-Sep-09 22:09:57

Blimey - planning Diwali already? That is organised!! LOL at your DD2 - she sounds very sweet smile

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