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Black working class boy

(51 Posts)
Anthonysmummy1234 Sat 24-Oct-15 13:49:31

In a few schools I've visited it seems as if my son will be the only black child in his class, and part of a working class background, when he starts reception.I worry if this will be a problem. Any parents where there child is from an ethnic minority group and one of the only ones in a class?

Arfarfanarf Sat 24-Oct-15 14:00:21

Me. We live in a very white area in the Derbyshire dales and there is not much diversity.
I can't say whether it will be a problem for you, of course, but it has not been a problem for my children. They have never been called names or bullied.
There have been some things which come from lack of thought or exposure but which are clearly without malice and just need nicely picking up on but never anything hostile or excluding.

Anthonysmummy1234 Sat 24-Oct-15 14:30:13

@Arfarfanarf Do they realise they are different and that nobody else is like them in terms of colour or race. What are the ages of your children if you don't mind me asking. Also how well do you get along with the other parents? Do the children have several play dates etc

Arfarfanarf Sat 24-Oct-15 14:45:30

They're now 15 and 16.
My eldest is now in college and it's in town and a more diverse area. My youngest is in secondary and there are a few other children there who are not white.
When they were like yours, primary age, and in very small, rural schools there was not a lot of diversity. Mostly they were it grin

Everyone is fine. Not met anyone who gives a shit.
In terms of friends, the problem has never been their colour it has been their disabilities. My youngest (asd & adhd) is more severely affected but more accepted by his peers. My eldest has struggled to make friends due to his autism but We have never ever felt or believed there was an issue of race.
We moved into the village about ten years ago now. everyone is absolutely lovely. And far more welcoming than the stereotype of the little village would have you believe grin

Arfarfanarf Sat 24-Oct-15 14:46:29

Oh yes, yes they of course see that their skin is darker than most other people they see but they don't care.

drspouse Sat 24-Oct-15 14:55:54

One of our DC is mixed race (adopted, birth father not known for certain, not Black African but must have been pretty dark skinned as this DC is about the same skin tone as my half-Jamaican adult friend).

From what I've been reading it makes a difference if home and the surrounding area is mainly white, mainly black or a mix - if you don't see anyone like you at home OR school OR anywhere else then some teens especially start to wonder if they are actually deformed in some sense (rather like a child with a disfigurement, who also never sees anyone like them). We know in our area that out of school clubs are mainly White (a lot of the Asian Muslim families don't send their children to clubs) so that leaves school.

Children start to realise what their skin colour is from very early - before 1 year old.

If you want to investigate your selection of schools you can look at the stats on schools in your area.

You can download the School level data here. You can filter the Excel file for your local authority and for primary schools, and then you can sort by the perecentage of White British (or if there are a lot of one other ethnicity, by that ethnicity).

We've had a couple of people ask why we won't consider a 96% White British school for our children but it just seems really unfair to put a child in a class where they will certainly be the only person who looks like them. It is like putting a girl in a class with 29 boys. Sure, she'll make friends, but she'll also start to feel very isolated, even if all the boys are lovely to her.

myotherusernameisbetter Sat 24-Oct-15 14:56:41

I'm from the opposite end of that in that DS2s best friend through most of primary was "the" ethnic diversity in the school. DS2 came home from school on day 1 and said he had a new friend with a brown face and that was the one and only time anything was ever mentioned. The boy was naturally in and out our house a lot when they were young and as far as I and his parents are aware, he didn't have any issues in school. The family moved away when the boys were coming up age 10 and apart from a few sporadic communications at the beginning we haven't heard much from them and nothing at all for the last two years. DS2 was initially devastated but has new friends at high school now. On the counter to that DS1 was bullied at primary . It's usually not about race etc, it's about personality and being quiet - DS1 is borderline aspergers.

I don't recall DS2s friend saying anything about feeling left out or different but who's to know really?

Anthonysmummy1234 Sat 24-Oct-15 15:39:09

Thank you for your replies.
Arfarfanarf- does your eldest prefer being in a more diverse environment now or do you believe it doesn't make much difference.

Drspouse- Thank you for the information on the school level data

Me and my partner are both black and we have black family, we live in London which is extremely diverse. But like yourself I'm not comfortable with him being in a school where the school is 96% anything(white,females, black) especially in an area that is so diverse. He may be fine but I'm not sure if he will have identity issues or feel different and left out(as he is aware of his colour).

Myotherusernameisbetter yeah my boy is a very likeable character so i do believe he would make friends but I don't feel he would be bullied for being different but more if he'd feel left out or uncomfortable at times or whether he'd develop identity issues.

Also I feel it's not just the colour/race issue but also the issue of class that could be an extra added problem.
I know people say we are all different people are colour blind and shouldn't make it a big deal, but people are not! Colour exists! so do class differences/divides.
My schools were all very mixed so my best friends throughout my school years were English, half English-Pakistani, Iraqi, Caribbean, Iranian so it was never an issue for me coming from schools that were extremely mixed and quite working class(inner city vibe) I'd say.

minimalist000001 Sat 24-Oct-15 15:44:46

Our school has one Asian girl and black boy in a class of 30. I'm so glad they attend as I dislike how white the area is

Anthonysmummy1234 Sat 24-Oct-15 16:19:49

@Minimalist000001 how are they getting on? How do the teachers and children respond to them?

drspouse Sat 24-Oct-15 16:28:32

You are so right that it's impossible to be colour blind. People who say they are, are the ones who think race/colour is a dirty word so never talk about it. But my take on that is, if we don't talk about it, we're leaving it to racists.

It's a bit odd that there's a school like this in London! I thought you were going to say you were in a rural area.

Though oddly where we live there are 2 schools within half a mile and three within a mile. One is 96% white, but the other two are about 30% ethnic minorities, and I suspect it's partly because of location but also a self-sustaining thing, if the school is mainly white, some people will choose the other schools that aren't.

Boleh Sat 24-Oct-15 16:45:32

I was a child in a school where we had 2 black children and one Asian in a year of 100+. Honestly from my perspective as one of the majority white kids there was maybe a day or two of vague interest that they looked a bit different and that was it.
I obviously don't know what the experience of those children was but I didn't observe them getting treated any differently by children or staff. Possibly because we were from such a 'white' area as kids we had absolutely no preconceptions or issues with people of other races, your situation might be a bit different.

Arfarfanarf Sat 24-Oct-15 18:17:54

He doesn't care, Anthony'sMummy.

I think that you may have a point about class. I have witnessed far more crap and divisions about so called class in the village than I ever have about ethnicity.

All you can do is be yourselves. Be friendly, take your time. People don't generally fall over themselves to be your best mate in 5 seconds flat, don't take this to mean anything beyond the fact that it takes time to break into established groups.

minimalist000001 Sat 24-Oct-15 18:40:59

All the kids arrived in reception together and just seem to rub along nicely. All the kids were exhausted, accepting, into fairness and wrapped up in the whole new school experience. The teacher would certainly iron out any issues if they arose.

minimalist000001 Sat 24-Oct-15 18:43:07

From a parents point of view it will take a while to feel comfortable regardless background.

lunar1 Sun 25-Oct-15 18:38:16

My children are white/Indian mixed and if they had gone to our local school that was offered they would have been the only non white children there. This was a big deciding factor in the school we chose, the classes at the school we went with are very diverse.

drspouse Sun 25-Oct-15 20:52:53

I'm interested to see the parents of non-white children think it is a bad idea to be the only non-white child in the class, while the parents of white children think it isn't an issue/there's no bullying/everyone has a hard time settling in.

It does make me feel like I'm not mad for taking this seriously. I've had a couple of friends make me question myself and one with the "there's one Indian boy in my daughter's class and he seems fine" line.

The other thing I was very interested to read recently is just how young children are when they hear their first racist comment ("I won't be your friend because you're..."/"your skin must be dirty"/racist word they've heard from older children). These adults were saying that they almost all didn't tell their parents, either because they didn't understand what the other person was saying or because they felt ashamed, maybe they'd done something wrong (your mum tells you to be nice to everyone and they will be your friends, but this person won't be your friend, so you must have done something wrong).

I'm sure this happens with other forms of bullying, but it makes me wonder if teachers really will see all problems, or if some will never be told to an adult, even at very young ages.

Autumnsky Mon 26-Oct-15 11:36:27

We are an ethnic minority group, and DS2 is the only one of his race in his class. However, he is fine, as his school does has some diversity. Allthough majority are white English, there are some children from East Eruope, some from middle east.So DS2 is quite used to this, one of his friends is from Iran, another one is Polish, and one is from France. DS2 feels quite comfortable.

I think it would be hard for DC if he is the only one who is from an ethnic minority group, but all the other children are English White. If the school is good one, there won't be bully issue, but he would feel he is the different one. If there are a few different ones in the class, he would fee this is normal.

Madblondedog Mon 26-Oct-15 11:53:46

My senior school had 3 black and one Indian lad in over 800 pupils. None of us thought about it, they were just our friends/kids we went to school with. I went to a different primary but they would have been in a similar situation then as it's a very white area. They were hugely popular and did well at school (they went to top unis)

The schools with high white populations will never become diverse if other ethnicities avoid them.

drspouse Mon 26-Oct-15 13:51:38

The schools with high white populations will never become diverse if other ethnicities avoid them.

This is very true but either a) a very large ethnic minority community moves into an area within a very very short space of time and sends 5 or 6 children per 30 reception aged children to a single school in a single year or b) some poor child has to be the only ethnic minority child in the year or the school.

Rather like being the only girl in a boys' school, I'm not particularly keen on my DC being the pioneer.

myotherusernameisbetter Mon 26-Oct-15 14:10:42

Yes, we don't like in a very ethnically diverse area although it is becoming slightly less so. A nearby school is a bit better as it is nearer the local University so has the advantage of a number of foreign lecturers.

Actually having said that, it's not quite true that we are not ethnically diverse, only that the other nations represented locally happen to be white (Italian, Canadian, South African , Australian, New Zealand, American)

jeanswithatwist Mon 26-Oct-15 14:38:27

i live in east london and as of late, have heard quite a few tales from white people, of their child being left out and or picked on because they have a different skin colour. it seems that ethnic minorities are just as likely to be racist as other groups. my dd goes to a school where there is a high percentage of asian girls. all her friends are asian and fortunately, she has never had problems (she has never had a white friend) although shame i can't say the same with some of their mothers......

Madblondedog Mon 26-Oct-15 14:56:18

Do you really see it as being a pioneer drspouse? Not trying to be goady, it just made me sad you saying that.

People of any colour can accept anyone else of any colour. They have have friendships regardless or they may not.

People of any colour can be shitty to those of any another colour or their own.

My best friend from primary was Chinese, had her parents felt like you I would have missed out on an amazing friendship. We never thought about race, maybe our parents did but they all got on fine and again it didn't impact their relationship

TeaAddict235 Mon 26-Oct-15 15:15:17

"not Black African but must have been pretty dark skinned as this DC is about the same skin tone as my half-Jamaican adult friend"

God help this child adopted by someone who talks like this. So disgusted by this mindless comment. Serious education needed here.

lunar1 Mon 26-Oct-15 15:35:08

I'm quite happy with my decision not to make my children pioneers in an all white school.

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