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Teacher's remark

(22 Posts)
Mutlu Sat 27-Apr-13 11:07:39

My nephew is 14, is of British Pakistani and British heritage. While at school his teacher referred to him as 'that Asian boy'. While being comfortable with his identity ,and apart from a silly remark from a child in primary school, this hasn't occurred before but it does sound racist, moreover, a terrible example from a teacher- luckily my nephew's friends were annoyed on his behalf! . My sister has always been keen not to use the 'racist' label and is very level headed but I do think this matter needs to be treated seriously by the school.

mumandboys123 Sat 27-Apr-13 13:39:26

what is the context? it sounds dreadful on it's own but context might explain it?

Mutlu Mon 29-Apr-13 02:09:06

My nephew wasn't in class, the supply teacher must have forgotten his name.

GoblinGranny Mon 29-Apr-13 02:15:53

So it wasn't his usual teacher, it was a supply? Does the school have a uniform, and she was clumsily trying to identify one male child in a class for some reason?
That is why many supply teachers ask the children to wear a label with their name on it.

Thumbwitch Mon 29-Apr-13 02:48:39

I'm a bit torn over this - I don't think, from what you've said, that it was a racist comment, more a descriptor used to identify the boy quickly. However, context is everything...

claraschu Mon 29-Apr-13 04:11:27

How is this racist? I know you should not define someone by their race, but this is pretty mild, as there's nothing wrong with"Asian". She was just trying to remember his name.

complexnumber Mon 29-Apr-13 10:35:05

"a terrible example from a teacher"

I really do not think this was a terrible example of anything, nor was it racist.

As was previously stated, 'Asian' was being used as a descriptor, there is nothing sinister about that.

Startail Mon 29-Apr-13 10:44:36

I'm sure DDs Thai friend goes by many descriptors as she has one name on the register and a totally different NN. I can't imagine she minds as long as they aren't unkindly meant.

BackforGood Mon 29-Apr-13 10:45:12

From what you say it was being used as a description. In which case I can't see what the problem is. I think it's ridiculous if there is one white person in the group, and people are trying to avoid saying it for fear of being accused of racism, so they start saying "She has her hair in a ponytail" or "yesterday she was wearing a blue top" when trying to point them out to someone, rather than saying - 'she's the white girl'. It's the same thing - it's a way of describing someone whose name she can't remember.

Mutlu Tue 30-Apr-13 14:59:51

I myself have taught for years in many countries and have never needed to use a 'label' Maybe i didn't add enough context- the teacher mistakenly thought my nephew was late, in fact he was in the Headteacher's class being commended for outdtanding work, and was angry with him. My nephew is English and i use English not British
With considerstion and political free will. My nephew iş not Asian but this iş to stray from the point made, under no context could 'That Asian boy' be acceptable and futhermore because my nephew had understood a scientific theory and he hadn't he had a gripe with him. The supply has been teaching him for 2 months, the headteacher contacted my sister to speak about it and not the reverse.

Mutlu Tue 30-Apr-13 15:06:23

Sorry message not clear. Would 'That boy' have offended anyone? Descrptors being used in a class of teenagers in my opinion isn't a good example to set. Of course it does not make the teacher a 'racist' just naive.

Mutlu Tue 30-Apr-13 15:07:57

P.s there are 10 children in the class who are non-white.

complexnumber Wed 01-May-13 06:51:44

In your OP you stated that the comment 'sounded racist'. You have been told by several posters that it does not sound racist. Do you still hold to that view?

I too have taught in several countries, when in Africa I was regularly called 'that white man', it never worried me in the slightest.

lougle Wed 01-May-13 07:41:47

Actually, if there were 10 children who were non-white, I'd start wondering if it was racist.

complexnumber Wed 01-May-13 08:24:39

To me, being racist means you are judging someone by their race, I have not seen any evidence in what the OP has written that the teacher was making any judgments.

Mutlu Wed 01-May-13 10:37:20

Unfortunately my sister was called into school this morning at 8.15 yesterday at 3pm my was nephew was called 'a paki' by a child in his class! I have discussed this with a friend of mine who is a consultant disciplinary policy maker for universities and agrees that this comment was ill-judged and furthermore they would take issue with a child being referred to as 'that ....anything' Labelling is something we teach our daughter not to use. Also, at the outset I made it clear that it 'sounded' racist not that it was racist and in an impressionable classroom of teenagers a better example should be set. Is the English language so limited that that was the only descriptor available to a teacher! Ironically, my nephew would not have identified with this descriptor. His father, with whom he has no contact and is British, lives in a different part of the country. We are white working class English.

Mutlu Wed 01-May-13 10:46:19

I have re read some of your comments and feel that one of the main points was overlooked. This happened in a classroom where our teachers are role models and are supposed to set the examples. After reading complexnumber's post I feel more concerned. You were an adult, a guest in another country of course you were not offended you do not identify yourself as an African. I was referring to the fact that I had never needed to use a descriptor/label in the classroom

complexnumber Wed 01-May-13 16:00:22

I'm going to back down here Mutlu. TBH, I wonder if there is a part of me that is playing the devil's advocate.

When I ask myself if I would use that phrase in the classroom, an honest answer would probably be no. But then I also feel that I should be allowed to say that without recrimination. (Of course context, as you have stated, is all important)

I teach in an international school where everyone wears their nationality with pride, and pupils rib each other all the time about their background. It is a very healthy and happy environment. That may well not describe a UK classroom.

When you say that the teacher was perhaps rather naiive, I think that you are probably correct.

It saddens me that your nephew was called a 'paki', that is nothing but nasty.

When I was at school in the 70's we had one teacher who tore into a pupil and shouted 'It is people like you that make others vote National Front'. The only consequence as far as I remember was that he was made to apologise to the pupil concerned.

sashh Mon 06-May-13 06:25:13

I once took a register and said, "there seems to be a few people missing"

A few members of the class said, it's because 'he' isn't here, pointing at an empty chair, 'you know, the dark one'

I very unprofessionally got the giggles as I was the only white person in the room, my students were a mixture of Caribbean and African.

I did appologise to my students, who said there was no reason to and started to compare their own skin colour as to who was lighter or darker.

It's one of the phrases that can be racist, but also can be not racist.

Branleuse Mon 06-May-13 06:38:28

not racist. just descriptive

Phoebe47 Wed 08-May-13 20:22:21

Why did the supply teacher not use this pupils name when speaking of him? If she has been teaching the class for 2 months she should know all the pupils names.

BoneyBackJefferson Sat 11-May-13 18:55:50

"Why did the supply teacher not use this pupils name when speaking of him?"

Because they teach more than 1 class

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