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DD called someone 'brown'

(40 Posts)
ameliarose2012 Fri 01-Aug-14 19:21:32

I'm not going to say what I actually did, as I don't want to influence responses.

So... yesterday on the train DD (2.1, but VERY verbal!) was chatting away and said 'look mummy, a brown girl. Oh, and a brown lady'

The woman and child in question were within earshot, and DEFINITELY heard her. I didn't know where to put myself, or what to say!


CunfuddledAlways Fri 01-Aug-14 19:26:12

yes i can see, people come in lots of shapes and sizes and different colours too...oh look at that (insert something vaguely distracting)

ameliarose2012 Sat 02-Aug-14 11:16:24

Anyone else?

idontlikealdi Sat 02-Aug-14 11:31:05

What confuddled said. Mine are going through a very literal descriptive phase at the moment.

GingerRodgers Sat 02-Aug-14 11:35:49

Exactly as pp said. They have no idea about 'social skills' and are just very literal at that age.
Dd pointed out someone the other day who had bandages on their face. I just said something along the lines of 'oh yes, so he does. Please don't point at people though' which I'm sure confused her as we point at ducks, trees, every other thing we can see

BaronVonShush Sat 02-Aug-14 11:37:02

If I ask who a particular person is at school dd might well describe then as having a brown face. I have no idea what to say either! I think in your case what confuddled said is good.

commonorgarden Sat 02-Aug-14 11:38:03

Mine have done this. One was hair obsessed. I handled it like 'yes, their skin is brown and your skin is pinky colour' (assuming you are white). 'Mummy's skin is a bit different to yours too-we all look a bit different.'

lljkk Sat 02-Aug-14 11:42:11

"Yes people have different skin colours. Wouldn't it be boring if we all looked the same?"

But it backfired a few yrs later. sad 5yo DS2 called a boy at school "brown-head". DS2 thought he was just being factual and trying to get attention, but the lad he called that name* was incensed and thought it was very racist & stopped being friends with DS1 after that, insisting that we were obviously all a racist family.

It's true I am hopeless at explaining racism to small children in a completely non-multi-cultural area. Black people on telly are about as real as Superman to DC.

I've read it's a common mistake white families make, thinking that if we ignore race kids won't pick up on it, but they are actually very instinctively tribal & in naivety can be very racist. So we have to tackle it head on after all at the youngest possible age.

*Polynesian/Oceanic in origin, only very slightly browner than the rest.

Singsongmama Sat 02-Aug-14 11:49:20

What did you say Ameliarose? Did the woman look insulted?

Singsongmama Sat 02-Aug-14 11:50:05

Posted too soon. Was going to agree with other posts, good suggestions for future!

Branleuse Sat 02-Aug-14 11:51:59

im not sure what the problem is?

mineallmine Sat 02-Aug-14 11:57:31

I'm white so maybe I'm not seeing things the way a black /Asian person would but I don't see the problem with what she said. I can't see how anyone would take exception to that? My ds used to say this when he was small too and he described his own skin as beige. As PPs suggested, I'd just say 'Yes, we're all different etc.' The difficulty comes when your dd will say 'Mummy that lady is very fat' and THEN you will be embarrassed because while it may be true, it will be hard to hear.

sebsmummy1 Sat 02-Aug-14 12:01:20

Would it be incorrect to go down the - it's not polite to talk about other people or stare at other people etc? ie 'look Mummy a brown girl and a brown lady', 'oh yes that's right, we all come in different shapes and sizes, you have pale skin and brown hair, that lady has dark skin and black hair, but darling it is rude to point and stare at other people, it's not nice so let's look at something else distract distract

Surely the same if a young child comments on a disability. Yes that's right that lady has hurt her arm/leg, or yes that child is in a wheelchair but darling it's rude to talk about people .......

CeliaBowen Sat 02-Aug-14 12:09:55

We have just said yes, some people have brown skin, just like some people have brown hair, or red hair, or blonde hair. The DDs have accepted that perfectly happily.

ameliarose2012 Sat 02-Aug-14 18:24:40

I pretty much said what you guys have recommended - 'oh yes, so there is. Where is your dinosaur? distract'

I'm glad people think that's the appropriate course of action. She gets very forceful if I don't acknowledge EVERYTHING she says, and just repeats herself louder and louder.

The woman didn't look offended at all. We never spoke, but I didn't want to appear rude to her! In hindsight, if I was referred to as 'the pink lady' I wouldn't be in the least offended, and would probably think it was quite cute coming from a 2yo!

Thanks for making me feel better about it smile

LondonRocks Sat 02-Aug-14 18:28:59

Was she brown though?

I'm not sure why calling a brown person brown is offensive.

BertieBotts Sat 02-Aug-14 18:30:07

Yep I would go with "Yes that's right but it's not nice to point" and then later have a conversation where you tell her that it's not usually polite to call somebody brown and that the word we use is black, and then when she's older you can explain that some silly, nasty people aren't very nice to people who have a different skin colour, and because of this it might upset somebody to have their skin colour pointed out.

LondonRocks Sat 02-Aug-14 20:09:02

What's wrong with brown?!

Has the world gone mad?

Yes, explain about pointing. And maybe go to more multicultural places now and then, so this isn't a 'thing'.

ameliarose2012 Sat 02-Aug-14 21:18:58

We live in a very multicultural area. I don't think it's a lack of life experience. Maybe just the first time she's noticed?

Personally, I don't think there's anything wrong with brown, but the woman she said it about might've. It's so easy to offend in this day and age!

rumtumtugger Sat 02-Aug-14 21:27:36

I am brown. I wouldn't have been offended by the child saying that, but may have been offended by how the parent reacted, depending on what they said and/or how they said it. I personally prefer the, "yes, everyone is different, isn't it wonderful" approach, and that's what I use with my 3.5yo dd.

Interestingly, she is entirely colour-blind, which I attribute to the fact we live in inner London. We haven't pointed any differences in skin tones out to her, but there's massive variation around - lots of brown, black, pinky and yellowy toned skins. She once referred to a volunteer at her nursery as 'the white lady' but on further questioning it turned out she had been wearing a white top. There was also a green lady smile

R4roger Sat 02-Aug-14 21:28:36

my neice said a man was chocolate, now thats embarrassing.

rumtumtugger Sat 02-Aug-14 21:28:40

DH is white, if that makes a difference. So she is beige grin

SweepTheHalls Sat 02-Aug-14 21:31:00

My son thinks he's peach as that is the colour he selects when colouring in a picture of himself smile

LondonRocks Sat 02-Aug-14 21:36:53

It absolutely depends on whether it's couched in "shhh, s/he's brown" or "yep, so she is, how lovely that we are all different" kind of thing.

grandmainmypocket Sat 02-Aug-14 21:36:55

I'm black and don't see any reason to be embarrassed. Kids are so innocent at a young age. My son still can't get his head around brown coloured people being called black.
It's funny.

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