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Something disturbing my DD said . . . - Page 2

post #21 of 65
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Flor View Post
I wonder if the OP's child disliked the child first, then generalized. Decided she didn't like all children his color, because she didn't like him.
I have thought about this as well . . .for one, he is a boy. I don't think she disliked him for any other reason, but that is often enough reason for her. DD takes a long time to warm up to boys, and even then, she only tolerates them-- she never chooses to play with them over girls. So, had this child been a girl, DD may never have said anything about skin color.
post #22 of 65
Hmm. This thread is interesting to me. I think it is a rather serious thing- NOT as serious as if an adult had said it, of course, but something that needs to be dealt with nonetheless. I think the OP is doing a wonderful thing, asking advice & getting to the root of the problem.

I can see that maybe the child is reacting to a difference that she has not seen before, but to compare it to bread- yes, that is offensive. Even if you did not mean it to be. I agree with the poster who mentioned maybe comparing types of apples- two good, different things, rather that one good thing & one second rate thing...

And I agree with MitB saying a healthy child will react with curiousity, not disgust. Unfortunately, we do not live in a very racially diverse area, but Joe has had a few chances to play with kids who are not white... However, he has a really good friend (my best friend's dd) who has autism & developmental delays. Because he has been around her his whole life, he does not bat an eye when he meets a kid who is, as they say, "differently abled." He has been exposed to this his whole life & he is comfortable with it.

I see it as kind of the same thing... please someone correct me if I am wrong.

(I know you will! )
post #23 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by joesmom View Post
I see it as kind of the same thing... please someone correct me if I am wrong.

(I know you will! )
Oh, you're wrong.

In all the right ways.

Actually, I agree with you. Differences are differences. I just think everyone is different, but in various stages of denial about how different they might be.
post #24 of 65
:

This is a good one...

We had a scenario play out like this one, when I taught pre-school. The mom was beside herself, because her daughter was saying stuff like this in class in front of her class-mates... 2 of whom were African American, literally... (Twins, the fam had just immigrated from Etheopia); and the little girl says, "I won't sit next to them, they're brown; I don't like brown people, I only like white people; get away BROWNFACE!!" I was teacher assistant at the time and was so shocked I could barely maintain composure... Head teach admonished her in front of the other children that we don't name-call, and there was huge row about it later when we brought it mom...

I don't know how SHE dealt with it, at home...

I can only say that the way it is handled in our community is to share virtues with children... We teach Virtues Classes, openly instructing children in how to adopt more globally minded attitudes... patience, steadfastness, tolerance, acceptance, awareness, kindness, empathy... Ask her to imagine how it would hurt her feelings if someone didn't want to be her friend for no other reason than her hair color, or some such...

"We are flowers in God's garden, each of us different, and perfect, and beautiful, and if all the flowers were exactly the same it would not be such a wonderous garden." (u could substitute a less religious term... The Garden of the World... etc...)
post #25 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by MamaInTheBoonies View Post
I disagree. A healthy child will react with curiousity, not dislike nor distrust.
I dont' know, i just have to disagree with this statement. DD often doesn't like things just because they are new. I then discuss it with her and encourage her to try the new thing or whatever it is that she is unsure of, but definitely her initial response to things she has not encountered before is not always curiosity. I do not think that is a sign of an unhealthy child, but just a personality variance. I beleive it is how I handle that as a parent that will help grow her into a productive adult. It is my responsibility to help her try new things and such, but I dont' think it is abnormal for her to be aprehensive of the unknown.

To the OP -- you've received a lot of good advice. I definitely would keep an open dialogue about it! I'm also wondering, as someone else had mentioned, if someone has said something to her to make her start feeling/thinking these things about her own self.
Amy
post #26 of 65
Quote:
"We are flowers in God's garden, each of us different, and perfect, and beautiful, and if all the flowers were exactly the same it would not be such a wonderous garden."
Wow, I really like this quote, thank you.

Quote:
I can see that maybe the child is reacting to a difference that she has not seen before, but to compare it to bread- yes, that is offensive. Even if you did not mean it to be.
As I said, I can see how that would come across offensive. Again, I totally did not mean it to be... I was sleep deprived and while looking for an example, this was the first thing that popped into my head. Please understand: the example being that children often get uncomfortable with situations they are not used to. That is all I meant. I was so focused on that particular reality that I sort of forgot the racial context, within which the bread analogy was not the greatest. I am very sorry to anyone I offended.

I guess I'm just very sensitive when I hear people assuming the worst of children. There is a lot of this around me in my social circle; misunderstanding of children and intolerance, which just tends to breed the behaviour that these authority figures are trying to curb. Put enough shame in a child and s/he may manifest some ugly habits and behaviours, as a result. I don't really think it's possible for a 4 year old to be RACIST, personally. It is still an age of assimilation and testing out the waters, and as a previous poster said, making and breaking generalizations. That said, if this tiny seed happens to flourish in the child's mind, that would be a pretty big issue. I don't know the OP or her daughter and I don't know how serious it is, as yet. Preventative measures are key, and there are many great suggestions on this thread. Anyway, sorry to have taken this thread off-track. I was just trying to say that it could just be an instinctive reaction based on discomfort just for the fact that it is a new situation, and could have any number of possible associations or reasons, non of which would denote racism. Could. But maybe not. Keep vigilant, but don't assume the worst of your daughter. Good luck!
post #27 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by roseselene View Post
I dont' know, i just have to disagree with this statement. DD often doesn't like things just because they are new.
Then I would say that something is wrong if a child is constantly reacting with dislike or distrust of every new thing. That is not a sign of a healthy child.
post #28 of 65
Maybe not ideal, but not necessarily unhealthy. And, may I ask, what do you mean by "wrong" and "not healthy"?
post #29 of 65
It's just a phase.
I know I was so confused when I transfered to an all white school in kindergarten. I ran into a few special kids that would ask me if I tasted like chocolate....and would take a lick.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GiggleBirds View Post
Maybe not the greatest example, but if a kid is raised on all white bread, the first time they encounter whole wheat, they will probably be grossed out, until they get used to it.
post #30 of 65
Mizelenius, I didn't mean to imply that you have no interaction with non-white people. From our interactions at the Knot (hi, it's Tia, btw ), I know that you're a mama who is progressive, open-minded and you probably have a variety of friends of different backgrounds. I'll be honest, though, my gut reaction was that your DD just isn't used to brown folks -- Asian folks, sure, but brown folks, maybe not so much. I'm wrong about that, thankfully. I don't have any advice to give because frankly, my emotions get too caught up in discussions like this to think as clearly as I'd like, but I do believe it must be hard for you to hear your DD say what she said. I'm not looking forward to the day if/when my DDs say something that is 'off'.

MITB, I wholeheartedly agree with you that healthy children typically respond to new situations with curiosity, not distrust and disdain. A child might choose to reject something/someone after their initial curiosity is piqued, but I don't think immediate distrust of something/someone new is a good sign, at all.

FWIW, I really like the tone of this website. You have to search around to find particular situations that speak to your own life, but overall, I love the idea of approaching the subject of race with children by not using food/flavor distinctions. People are so much more than vanilla/chocolate/wheat/white bread.
post #31 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by GiggleBirds View Post
Please understand: the example being that children often get uncomfortable with situations they are not used to. That is all I meant. I was so focused on that particular reality that I sort of forgot the racial context, within which the bread analogy was not the greatest. I am very sorry to anyone I offended.

I guess I'm just very sensitive when I hear people assuming the worst of children. There is a lot of this around me in my social circle; misunderstanding of children and intolerance, which just tends to breed the behaviour that these authority figures are trying to curb. Put enough shame in a child and s/he may manifest some ugly habits and behaviours, as a result. I don't really think it's possible for a 4 year old to be RACIST, personally.
How did you make the leap from apologizing for saying something offensive to folks believing the worst in a child? I, for one, never thought the worst of Mizelenius' daughter, BUT I do think stuff like that needs to be addressed, as she obviously felt, as well, since she came and posted about it here, asking questions. I don't think anyone feels her DD is a racist.

And 4 years olds can absolutely be taught to be racists.
post #32 of 65
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by FroNuff View Post
. I'll be honest, though, my gut reaction was that your DD just isn't used to brown folks -- Asian folks, sure, but brown folks, maybe not so much.
She does know a lot of Asian people, but not because of my DH. He was adopted by a non-Asian family. Most of the Asian Am. friends are mine, as are the Latino ones. Af. American-- no, I don't have any.

Anyway, I am beginning to resent the implication by some of you that I am doing something wrong-- that I have somehow not exposed DD to "enough" of the "right" color people ('cause you know, Asians and Latinos don't count as people of color, right????? This boy WAS Asian, by the way . . .) , have not had these "open dialogues" (????), etc. that would somehow prevented DD from thinking what she did. I don't even know what DD thinks, TBH. She HAS been around people of color since birth, I mean, her FATHER is NOT WHITE (though maybe not dark enough for some of you) and never said anything like this . . .

Maybe it's because I just haven't had enough sleep, but I find this all very frustrating.
post #33 of 65
I just wanted to say to the OP I think you're handling this the right way. It's important to keep the discussion going and not make it, you will like brown people b/c I said you will. There are deeper issues that need to be understood by your dd.

I have to disagree that it's not a healthy child who is closed off to everything new. DH has now taught basically 3-12 music. This is his first year teaching 3-6. He's been amazed at the 6th graders in comparison to 8th graders. Once 8th graders decide something is not to their liking you can't win them back. You either have to find a completely new approach or do something entirely different. 6th graders have the first reaction of not liking something but DH can usually win them over by pressing on.

So I don't personally think it's unhealthy to have a first reaction of blech to something new. I think it's unhealthy to continue that impression and not give something or someone a chance. I think it's our job as parents to prevent gross generalizations about things and to help kids keep an open mind. Hopefully we then end up with kids who will without hesitation try new foods and like them and who will approach people who are different than them as a way of learning about a new culture. But I'd hate to think we're making a child feel bad about being hesitant at first or scared to approach someone or something new. I think that feeling is natural, it's what we do after that that's important.
post #34 of 65
Quote:
I disagree. A healthy child will react with curiousity, not dislike nor distrust.
I also disagree. I was not an unhealthy or wrong child . . . but I have never liked change. I STILL (as a 33, almost 34, year old woman) resist change. I like my world ordered and I like to recognize things in it. When I see something new or different, or when I am told to do something in a different way than I am used to doing it, it takes me a while to adjust.

when something new or different came my way, I did NOT greet it with open arms and wide eyed wonder. I held back, I was suspicious, I studied it from afar until I became familiar with it and THEN I moved in to experience it.

This included new people -- whether their skin was white, pink, black, brown, yellow, green, purple or sky blue. New people make me nervous until I know them, until I am familiar with them. And yes, quite unintentionally, I do give a sort of "untouchable" air when surrounded by people I don't know. I have been working on this all my life and it is better. But at 34, I don't think it will ever disappear completely.

As an adult, to combat this I now purposely seek out new situations. But even though i seek them out and attempt to embrace change whole heartedly, it is still VERY difficult for me. Change makes me nervous and unsure. As an adult, I can handle this. As a child . . . not so much.

It didn't make me unhealthy or wrong . . . it just made me someone who is cautious and unsure of different people and situations.

ETA: OP, I think you are handling the situation perfectly. Something has made your DD uncomfortable with the differences between her and this particular playmate. I agree she may be simply generalizing or she may have had, herself, been on the receiving end of some sort of racism and may be trying ally herself with what she perceives as the "right" side. For what my opinion as a childless person is worth, I think you are doing very right by having open conversation and helping her deal with these feelings instead of telling her she is "wrong" for having her feelings.
post #35 of 65
OP: I think your doing exactly what you should be doing!!

Racism is a very difficult thing for a child to understand.

I have lived in mostly African American neighborhoods my entire life. And, have experienced lots of racism towards me for being the only "white" person in my school, at my job, on my block, etc.

But what bothered me the most was when I had custody of my nephew, Eric, and he came home crying. He told me that his friend Donte' said Eric couldn't come into his house because his father didn't like "white" people. I tried to explain it to him, tried to get him to understand. He just didn't get it. He couldn't understand why his father didn't like him. He was honestly heartbroken.

Often times, kids just don't get how hurtful it is. And it's such an adult thing that it is hard for them to conceive.
post #36 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by MamaInTheBoonies View Post
I disagree. A healthy child will react with curiousity, not dislike nor distrust.
This strikes me as novelty-resistantist . I think it can be a matter of temperament, personality, developmental stage...how many children hide behind mom's leg in uncharted territory? Both of my kids literally run at life and love novelty - most of the time.

Mizelenius - I think it's great that you're exploring this. I can imagine how complicated and multi-layered the issue is for you.

GiggleBirds - I got where you were trying to go. I'm an analogy fan, but they're pretty limited and can be problematic. I'm also a fan of food analogies, but that's just related to a general food preoccupation .

In our family, we talk a lot about the uniqueness of all individuals and I think that helps set the stage for acceptance. I recently discussed immutable characteristics with DD - that it is just plain wrong to dislike someone or treat them differently because of something over which they have no choice or control (ethnicity; ability; sex; sexual orientation...). And that beyond this, we should embrace diversity (and we explored this in greater detail than just saying it).

Another great book is here:
http://www.amazon.com/World-Were-Vil...e=UTF8&s=books

Unicef made a 30 minute animated version of it. My 4 year old liked both the cartoon and the book, although he didn't get it at the same level as my 7 year old. It's about global distribution of resources, but also about the diversity/similarity of experiences on the planet.
post #37 of 65
OP you did great IMHO.

I would probably tell my child as gently as possilble that her words were hurting my feelings.

I would not dwell on it or make it a huge guilt trip, but I would definitely express my sadness, briefly. (while also doing what the OP did, trying to respectfully understand the child's POV.)
post #38 of 65
Thread Starter 

Little Update

I have forgotten to thank everyone for your replies. . .thank you! You have brought many points to light; even if I don't agree with all of them, I appreciate things that make me think.

So, I talked to DD again . . .I don't want to nag her about this incident but wanted more info. I asked her if X were lighter, would she like him? She said, "Of course not, he's a boy." I helped her come up with a list again of why she does/does not like people-- she did not mention appearance at all (or gender). I pointed this out to her . . .

I gave her this scenario: What if I got her a great present, but it had been wrapped in paper she didn't like. Would she open it? She said, "Of course." I told her people are like presents . . .if you only look at the paper (whether someone is short/tall, boy/girl, light/dark) you will miss the present on the inside. I told her things about this boy that I know she has in common with him. She said, "OK, let's invite him over so that I can get to know him."

So, I am not going to bring this up to her again (this particular incident) but it is certainly something I will continue to be on alert for.
post #39 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mizelenius View Post
I have forgotten to thank everyone for your replies. . .thank you! You have brought many points to light; even if I don't agree with all of them, I appreciate things that make me think.

So, I talked to DD again . . .I don't want to nag her about this incident but wanted more info. I asked her if X were lighter, would she like him? She said, "Of course not, he's a boy." I helped her come up with a list again of why she does/does not like people-- she did not mention appearance at all (or gender). I pointed this out to her . . .

I gave her this scenario: What if I got her a great present, but it had been wrapped in paper she didn't like. Would she open it? She said, "Of course." I told her people are like presents . . .if you only look at the paper (whether someone is short/tall, boy/girl, light/dark) you will miss the present on the inside. I told her things about this boy that I know she has in common with him. She said, "OK, let's invite him over so that I can get to know him."

So, I am not going to bring this up to her again (this particular incident) but it is certainly something I will continue to be on alert for.
That's great!! Good analogy..
post #40 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mizelenius View Post
I told her people are like presents . . .if you only look at the paper (whether someone is short/tall, boy/girl, light/dark) you will miss the present on the inside.

This is so beautiful that I literally just cried when I read it. You are a great mom.
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