Racist at 8

When a mother turns up at your doorstep saying ‘can i have a word’, you immediately think ‘uh-oh’. But in this case it was about a child in school who has not only been causing problems in class but creating racial tension on the school bus. We live in a rural community with a few children from other ethnicities in addition to white British. In the four years my daughter has been at school, i have never heard a racist mark and she has been completely unaware that racism even exists in society, treating everyone as an equal, which is as it should be – its just adults that balls things up.

So when she hears this particular child call her black friends ‘brownies’, she is instantly offended because she doesnt like name-calling at all, least of all when it is regarding someone’s appearance. I am sad that an 8 year old child already holds these views and has obviously been influenced by ignorant parents.

But how do you undo bad views? The saying goes, ‘show me a boy at 7 and I will show you the man’. This child is 8 and his prospects are frightening. The best intentions of the Headmaster cannot undo years of negative behaviour from parents. If he becomes too much, what next? Where does he go?

I am already panicking about the implications on my daughter’s year group as they progress to the local comp….

Oh to be the mum of a toddler again…..

This blog is for Unicef. Thanks for reading.



3 thoughts on “Racist at 8

  1. I believe at age 8, kids are still discovering our complex social norms, usually the hard, awkward way. Very, very few 8 year olds are genuinely racist. By this standard, my whole, ethnically-diverse first grade class was full of bigots. At that time, I genuinely believe we had no hurtful intentions in our appearance-aware speech, nor did we ever take it as such. Of course, this is not to say that they should not be corrected swiftly.

    Now much older, I see ethnicity as deeper than skin color. Ethnicity is to be celebrated, flaunted even. Our diversity is beautiful, just as it was as a child. Then we were unaware of the historical, political, and social injustices/tragedies associated with “race”/skin color. Carrying that around with you, making that part of your identity is unfair to yourself. Once we do this for ourselves, maybe racism can finally die peacefully.

    1. Good points well made. The headteacher told me next term they will be studying black history to start to increase their awareness of different cultures, but from what i understood from your 2nd paragraph, this may not be such a good idea.

  2. I may have poorly communicated those last thoughts. My intention was that we do not blindly adopt labels in place of developing an original identity for ourselves. History is crucial to learn in order to not repeat its faults. Ignorance is never the answer. Understanding leads to love and wisdom. Just an opinion on a touchy, touchy subject.

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