Racial ignorance among children

114 posts in this topic

Posted

I know a mother's heart and I am sorry this happened.

 

He will learn to hate Germans all on his own.

 

That was extreme sarcasm. Keep doing what you are doing.

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Posted

Toronto, my sympathies. I can't think of anything worse than to witness or know that your child is getting "picked on". Especially over something so intrinsic and unchangeable 'the way you're made'.

 

First of all, I would say, try Not to make it a really big deal that this is happening.

 

If/when he is upset/you have a chance to open the conversation, I would ty to explain that sometimes people are unkind to those they see as "different". That, especially in olden times, people did not understand about other places and peoples, and would be nervous of that which they didn't understand. Explain that those thoughts can get passed down, even to children, and sometimes people are mean about people they don't understand, maybe it makes them feel bigger and braver. Tell your son that when these children are older, they will probably understand and stop being mean.

 

Tell him that for now, the best thing he can do is to be nice and kind to everyone, as he would like everyone to be nice and kind to him - in time, the other kids will realise that's he's really just like them. Tell him to simply avoid anyone who's unkind or acts like they don't want to talk to him. [This, of course, becomes moot if he starts to experience outright persecution - you can't "keep away from them" if "they" are following you, so keep tabs on the situation, and if that happens, raise merry hell with the kindergarten and do everything you can to get it stopped! It migh be as well to raise your concerns now, early, and ask the teachers to keep an eye on the situation and keep you informed]

 

Meantime, do everything you can to build your son's self esteem and make him see his mixed family as the undoubted benefit that it is. Make him proud to be him!

 

Good luck.

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Posted

 

I made it my purpose to never make a big deal about race to my son.

 

I don't think that was a good idea. Yes it would be lovely if everybody judged people for who and what they are, not for skin colour, sex, religion, height, German speaking ability etc. But they do judge. And it came as a big shock to your little fellow. and he has no idea how to handle it.

 

A remark like "you're just jealous because Kung fu panda doesn't come from your country" might have disarmed the bully. Maybe a bit sophisticated for a 3 year old, but my point is he can't understand, handle, subvert racism if he doesn't know what it is.

 

I'm truly bemused by people who think its good to keep children in ignorance of sex, racism etc to "preserve their innocence"

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Posted

Remember, too, that children make false analogies. "All of my friends speak German. You speak English. Therefore, you are not my friend." Maybe it's time to talk to the kindergarten staff and make them aware that a little group education is necessary.

 

EDIT: Or is that a false syllogism? Whatever it is, it's false.

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Posted

:D Let the little guy be Batman. Awesome!

 

Yep, I think you over-explained it for his age. :) As he gets older, my advice is to encourage HIM to talk about whatever is bothering him, and then you can explain things. I usually have to drag coax emotional stuff out of my son [boys are simply not hardwired to talk!], but he is eventually forthcoming. Wish it were that easy with my husband. :rolleyes:

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Posted

 

Let the little guy be Batman. Awesome!

 

Yep, I think you over-explained it for his age. As he gets older, my advice is to encourage HIM to talk about whatever is bothering him, and then you can explain things. I usually have to drag coax emotional stuff out of my son [boys are simply not hardwired to talk!], but he is eventually forthcoming. Wish it were that easy with my husband.

 

overexplained it and over judged the situation with a six year old. If some kids are idiots to my kids I say "Tell them they're being idiots and go play with someone else". It's worked very well to date.

 

btw:If he didn't use a real dark voice when he said "I'm Batman" then it doesn't count ;-)

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Posted

can you talk to the Kindergarten staff? did you reprimand the 'rude boy'?

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Posted

If it happens again and he is upset by it, tell him that they are just mean and do it because they are different. I had kids make fun of me when I was a kid because I wore glasses, I had a friend that they made fun of because he had red hair. Kids will look for anything different to pick on, have a word with the kindergarten if it happens again, they shouldn't tolerate any sort of bullying, be it racist or otherwise. However, little kid often know that they can get away with it if the adults aren't looking. They might not be aware of the issue and they will have something to look out for then.

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Posted

Perhaps an age appropriate book on the subject could help? Like the classic Dr. Seuss one perhaps. It might be worth looking for a similarly themed book in German that you could suggest to the teacher for the class. Not that it will solve the problem, but it could help a little.

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Posted

The funny thing about this is that my son is racially ambiguous. If I didn't say what culture he was, I don't believe anyone could guess what ethnicity he is.

I think the only reason the kid taunted my son like that was because I was standing near by. But that is what really pissed me off. What about the other 8 full East and South Asian kids? If this kid had the guts to do it in front of me, what does he say to those kids? This kid is 6yrs, but all the other kids, like my son, are 3yrs of age. None with the ability to fully articulate why he would be taunting them or the ability to speak up.

 

I spoke briefly to one of the kindergarten teachers, but with no real resolve. Only a response that she has never heard anyone do that. Oh well, I know it's not the little boy's fault (I blame the parents for not teaching him better), but I wish my son can have at least kindergarten to live a stress-free childhood. (I knew something was going on for a while --- my son's been grinding his teeth in his sleep)

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Posted

Like you said, if the kid's saying that while you're there he could be saying all sorts to the other kids when there are no adults nearby. Maybe a sterner word with the KG staff might be in order? A six-year-old is certainly old enough to understand that it is rude to say hurtful things to others, especially smaller kids - even though he's maybe not old enough to shake off any racist attitudes his parents might be teaching him he should at least be able to control his tongue if he knows that what he's saying is unkind.

 

I want to give your son a hug. I saw my three-year-old daughter trying to process being told to Geh weg by an older kid and my heart was breaking, I can't imagine how it would be if she was being repeatedly taunted for something she can't change.

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Posted

I don't agree a six-year old has the knowledge, sense,and empathy to understand and control all of what he or she says and does all the time, I don't even see this mastered by a lot of adults.

 

They are still learning and especially if they are being bullied in their home, it will carry to the playground unfortunately as they need someone to pick on. They also don't know any better when parents tell them not to play with so and so. Sad fact kids can be terribly cruel.

 

We have to the best we can to teach our kids to try and be nice to everyone, and also let them know there will be possibly be times people will not be nice to us, make fun, laugh,etc. over clothes, glasses, weight, color,etc. We have to give them as best we can, the esteem to deal with what we can't control. Listen to them and try to find out what is happening so they don't have to go it alone. They don't always know what they say, like the "brown man" and it isn't necessarily negative when a kid says it.

I don't know, but TV, movies, internet, etc often indicate ok to the very things parents teach against, and a lot of parents don't actually monitor this much anymore it seems.

 

I once had a friend that had polio as child, and he was very deformed. He never minded kids asking questions because they were honest and straightforward, but it was always interesting to see the parents and how they reacted.

 

We grew up with the saying that was "sticks and stones can break my bones, but words will never hurt me " to say to someone as a defense.

We all know as adults this isn't true.

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Posted

It's weird hearing my son being referred to as Caucasian here, but that's just half of who is. And since I was totally confused about my race growing up, I'm hoping I can make it so that my son understands and is proud of his background, even if Caucasian is only what they see.

 

So your son lowering his head, shows he is ashamed of himself and he shouldn't be. I think at 3 he won't understand what race is, maybe it's too early to try to explain and that 6 year old probably doesn't understand it either. That comment more than likely came from an older kid, maybe an adult, yes and he just repeats it probably without understanding it. So all we can do is hope we can raise them with enough self-confidence that they'll go "yeah, you're right and so what?" Then the bully has nothing left to say.

 

It's no consolation to him now, but in 20 years, he'll be glad he can speak so many languages!

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