"Because he has white skin and I like people with white skin." - Mothering Forums

Forum Jump: 
 
Thread Tools
Old 01-09-2009, 12:59 PM - Thread Starter
 
*Jessica*'s Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Western NY
Posts: 3,786
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
We've had a bit of an issue starting in our house that needs to be addressed immediately and I could use some advice. Nik has decided that he likes people with white skin better than people with brown skin. Just a few minutes ago he was watching some football thing with Marc. He and Marc have been talking about which teams they like lately an he wanted to know which player on the screen that Marc liked the most. Marc told him he liked number 72, the player on the right. Nik said, "Well I like the guy in the middle." When Marc asked him why he replied, "Because he has white skin and I like people with white skin." It happened to be 4 brown-skinned players and 1 white-skinned player and he picked the only white one.

I'm pretty sure this stems from a couple of incidents at preschool and the fact that where we live there is not very much racial diversity. There is one little boy in Nik's class who has a white mother and an AA father (the rest of the kids are white.). He pushed Nik one time, which is a super huge offense in Nik's eyes. There is also one little AA girl in Nate's class, and she has pushed a lot of the other kids at one time, including Nate on one occasion. I'm afraid that Nik is taking these experiences and becoming predjudiced against children with darker skin.

We talk often about how all people are different with regards to skin color, hair color, eye color, disabilities, clothing choices, religious beliefs, sexual preference (so far it's a "some boys like girls, and some boys like boys" kind of discussion), and probably other differences that aren't coming to mind right now. But we live in a town with a population that is over 96% white. The nearby town is over 95% white. Even the larger cities nearby have populations of 89% white and 75% white citizens. The AA populations of the larger two cities are around 3% and 5%, with hispanic populations of 5% and 20%.

We almost never see people with darker skin in our day-to-day life. So how do I go about this? HELP!

Jessica, wife of Marc and Momma to Nikolai (10) and Nathaniel (9) and Olivia (3).
*Jessica* is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
Old 01-09-2009, 01:14 PM
 
lavieenrose's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Just behind my sanity...
Posts: 134
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Oh dear. This must be so tough for you! When he told you he liked people with white skin better, did you ask him why? I know you have some ideas on where his feelings are coming from, but he might be able to give you more insight himself.

It's obvious you're very conscientious about letting him know that differences are good. Maybe you could try explaining to him that people find all sorts of ways to dislike other people, and that believe it or not some people might not like him because of the color of his eyes, or hair, or whatever. And then ask him if he thinks that is okay? At 5 years old, most kids are still naturally pretty self-centered, which isn't bad or anything...it just is. So of course he will need a little more help to see outside himself and imagine what the other person feels like being disliked for something as unimportant (and unchangeable!) as skin color.

Learning to put ourselves in someone else's shoes is a lifelong journey, I think. You're a wonderful Mom for helping your son start on this path!
lavieenrose is offline  
Old 01-09-2009, 01:55 PM
 
east carolina's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Mitteleuropa
Posts: 476
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
First of all, I have no BTDT experience, but I also live in a very white city.

Could you explain what racism is? Talk about how the darker skinned children might feel like if they knew somebody didn't like them just because of their skin color? Explain to him why you don't judge people by their skin color, but by their behavior toward you. Help him understand that he may not like boy x because boy x pushed him, but not because boy x looks different.
east carolina is offline  
Old 01-09-2009, 02:02 PM - Thread Starter
 
*Jessica*'s Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Western NY
Posts: 3,786
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Thank you both for the ideas!

If anyone has any good childrens book ideas on this subject I would love to hear them. Or just some great stories that show children with different skin colors. Oh, and videos! They love to watch movies so maybe some suggestions for those would help. Not necessarily movies about differences, though those would be welcome as well, but good movies that have main characters that don't have white skin. Any ideas?

Jessica, wife of Marc and Momma to Nikolai (10) and Nathaniel (9) and Olivia (3).
*Jessica* is offline  
Old 01-09-2009, 02:08 PM
 
Keria's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Far far away
Posts: 1,198
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
It could also be be that it is because the guy looks like him, children tend to have more empathy to others that look like them, I bet if there were 4 women playing and one guy he woulf have picked the guy as well, I have notice that when i see litlte girls with curly hair they really catch my attention, also my 2 best friends have curly hair so hmmm something to think about.

Anyways even if it's normal you should adress it just a simple conversation to why it's not nice to say things like that and maybe get more involved with people of other races so he can see that colour of the skin doesnt define a person.

Mommy to our Twin Miracles babygirl.gifbabyboy.gif born on 29/1/12

Keria is offline  
Old 01-09-2009, 02:19 PM
 
Auraji's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Hatfield, PA
Posts: 932
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I never had to deal with anything like this and Im not the most experienced parent. I've been living with my 3 year old stepson for a year, he and my DP are white. Im Dominican and my skin is brown, but I know what you mean. I RARELY see non white people around here. I think that having me in his life and he knowing how much I care for him and love him has given him an acceptance of others. You should see him when we first met, he was fascinated by my hair, would wake me up, by pulling at one of my curls.

If it was me, I would address this in a creative way. I would get a box of crayons and sit down to draw with him, telling him how fun it is that there are so many different colors, because when everything looks the same, it gets kinda boring and I would give him just ONE color and ask him if it would be as fun if he could just color with that one color. Then I would draw some stick people and color them in different colors and tell him, that the world and people are beautiful because of their differences.
Auraji is offline  
Old 01-09-2009, 02:23 PM
 
Lolagirl's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Chicago, IL
Posts: 338
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by *Jessica* View Post
Thank you both for the ideas!

If anyone has any good childrens book ideas on this subject I would love to hear them. Or just some great stories that show children with different skin colors. Oh, and videos! They love to watch movies so maybe some suggestions for those would help. Not necessarily movies about differences, though those would be welcome as well, but good movies that have main characters that don't have white skin. Any ideas?
We try very hard to expose our boys to diverse characters in books and tv as much as possible, a few of our favorites are The Snowy Day and the Little Bill series of books and shows on Noggin.

Hope that helps!

Mom to twin boys (7/15/05), another boy 5/9/10, and our latest addition born 9/13/11!

Lolagirl is offline  
Old 01-09-2009, 02:29 PM
 
Auraji's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Hatfield, PA
Posts: 932
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lolagirl View Post
We try very hard to expose our boys to diverse characters in books and tv as much as possible, a few of our favorites are The Snowy Day and the Little Bill series of books and shows on Noggin.

Hope that helps!

I was going to comment about the shows on Noggin. That's my favorite channel for Jack to watch
Auraji is offline  
Old 01-09-2009, 02:50 PM
 
THANKFULFORFIVE's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: midwestern girl in Texas
Posts: 416
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
It's totally normal for kids his age to identify with "same" things groupings...ie..skin-color, age, size, hair-color etc. He might have just as innocently have mentioned that he likes brunettes better.... No need to make a bigger deal of it at his age right now. My daughter did just the opposite... when she was little, she always picked the dark-skinned barbies and baby dolls...and her first pre-school to elementary crushes were always boys of ethinicity. She simply stated that she thought they were BEAUTIFUL. It doesn't get any simpler than that! So, my house was filled with beautiful black barbies and asian, and hispanic and indian dolls. She's 14 now and we laugh about it as her baby sister picks up her dark-skinned babies and carries them around! Maybe your son just thinks white skin is BEAUTIFUL! We have become such a PC society that we are afraid to actually have preferences.

me-45, DH-46, ds1-23, ds2-18, dd1-17, dd2-14, dd3-4....hoping for #6.....

THANKFULFORFIVE is offline  
Old 01-09-2009, 02:58 PM
 
Lolagirl's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Chicago, IL
Posts: 338
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Auraji View Post
I was going to comment about the shows on Noggin. That's my favorite channel for Jack to watch
OT.

We love, love, love Noggin here too! It's pretty much the only TV I let our kids watch these days. They have some really fantastic programming, without any obnoxious commercials trying to convince my preschool age kiddos to buy crap they don't need or even really want.

Mom to twin boys (7/15/05), another boy 5/9/10, and our latest addition born 9/13/11!

Lolagirl is offline  
Old 01-09-2009, 03:07 PM
 
Auraji's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Hatfield, PA
Posts: 932
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lolagirl View Post
OT.

We love, love, love Noggin here too! It's pretty much the only TV I let our kids watch these days. They have some really fantastic programming, without any obnoxious commercials trying to convince my preschool age kiddos to buy crap they don't need or even really want.

I know. Im always very annoyed by the commercials in the kid's channels. I feel like they are trying to create mindless consumers and the younger the better.

Noggin is the exception though and their shows I feel are a positive influence in kids. At least the ones I've seen.
Auraji is offline  
Old 01-09-2009, 03:20 PM
 
Miasmamma's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Defying gravity
Posts: 1,313
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Same here. Yesterday Little Bill went swimming and that's all I heard about for hours!!

OP... Have you tried the Todd Parr books? We have one called It's Okay to be Different But he has tons of others and they really appeal to kids!

Erin, mom to Amelia Rose:, 6/15/06 and Lily Grace, 6/7/09; wife to Phil since 10/9/04
Miasmamma is offline  
Old 01-09-2009, 03:35 PM
 
j924's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 507
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Shades Of Black by Sandra L. Pinkney and Myles Pinkney is a great book that shows photographs of different shades of black children. It has a cute narrative/poem that compares different colors within the brown spectrum. My kids are biracial and this book is a favorite over here. The same authors have a lot of photo books. Good luck this is such a tough phase so totally normal but tough.
j924 is offline  
Old 01-09-2009, 03:40 PM - Thread Starter
 
*Jessica*'s Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Western NY
Posts: 3,786
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Thanks for the book recommendation, Erin. None of the three libraries I frequent carries it, but other libraries in our system do so I'm going to check it out via inter-library loan.

Unfortunately, we don't get Noggin. Our kids channels are PBS, Nick Jr, Disney, and The Cartoon Network. We've watched Little Bill a few times when we caught it on Saturday morning cartoons, but I don't see any episodes listed in the near future. Maybe it's only on Noggin now?

Jessica, wife of Marc and Momma to Nikolai (10) and Nathaniel (9) and Olivia (3).
*Jessica* is offline  
Old 01-09-2009, 03:43 PM
JMJ
 
JMJ's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 2,278
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I work in child care (for the moment, until my baby is born in a few months), and we are constantly working on figuring out how to introduce diversity to the kids as a normal part of life and help them see that people of different ethnicities, cultures, religions, abilities, etc are people just like you. Here are some ideas we have come up with:

-Put up pictures/posters, etc around the house that show people with different skin colors enjoying time together, families of different races, children with disabilities, etc. When you talk about these pictures, use the same words that you would use when talking about your own family: "Do you see the little girl? She looks like she is having a lot of fun sledding with her friends." This also helps broaden your child's world so that the people in these pictures are part of his world, people he sees as normal when he's not normally seeing people who look like that.

-In your toy food collection, include food from other cultures.

-Look for toy people with different skin colors. These can also work against gender and disability steriotypes when they depict the African American female lawyer, the white male nurse, the Asian woman in a wheelchair holding a basketball, etc.

-Buy or learn to make foods from different cultures and talk about those cultures. We had a mom come in and make sushi (easy vegetarian rolls) with our preschoolers. Along the same lines, go out to eat at ethnic restaurants, also a good place to encounter people from other cultures.

-Buy CD's with music from other countries, cultures and languages.

-Celebrate holidays from other cultures in addition to your own, or celebrate your own holidays in ways that they would be celebrated in different cultures. One of my coworkers shared with me that the friends' house that she goes to for Christmas each year celebrate Christmas as if in a different country each year, including food, decorations, activities and customs.

-Learn a different language or at least get books that have words in different languages.

-Get dress-up clothes that include clothes from other cultures.

Finally, if these issues are originating at preschool, then you need to talk to the director about possibly taking some of these similar steps to encourage positive views about diversity in that setting. I hope that helps. Good luck.
JMJ is offline  
Old 01-09-2009, 03:49 PM - Thread Starter
 
*Jessica*'s Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Western NY
Posts: 3,786
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by j924 View Post
Shades Of Black by Sandra L. Pinkney and Myles Pinkney is a great book that shows photographs of different shades of black children. It has a cute narrative/poem that compares different colors within the brown spectrum. My kids are biracial and this book is a favorite over here. The same authors have a lot of photo books. Good luck this is such a tough phase so totally normal but tough.
Perfect! I'm going to get that one from inter-library loan as well.

Jessica, wife of Marc and Momma to Nikolai (10) and Nathaniel (9) and Olivia (3).
*Jessica* is offline  
Old 01-09-2009, 03:50 PM
 
KaliShanti's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Lindale,TX
Posts: 2,284
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by THANKFULFORFIVE View Post
It's totally normal for kids his age to identify with "same" things groupings...ie..skin-color, age, size, hair-color etc. He might have just as innocently have mentioned that he likes brunettes better.... No need to make a bigger deal of it at his age right now. My daughter did just the opposite... when she was little, she always picked the dark-skinned barbies and baby dolls...and her first pre-school to elementary crushes were always boys of ethinicity. She simply stated that she thought they were BEAUTIFUL. It doesn't get any simpler than that! So, my house was filled with beautiful black barbies and asian, and hispanic and indian dolls. She's 14 now and we laugh about it as her baby sister picks up her dark-skinned babies and carries them around! Maybe your son just thinks white skin is BEAUTIFUL! We have become such a PC society that we are afraid to actually have preferences.
I agree with this. At this age, it is probably not really a "problem" or racism, it's just that little kids minds think funny ways sometimes. I'd use a few of the suggestions others have mentioned above, but not make a big deal about it.

Jesus-loving Doula/Birth Photographer Mama to Tor 4/2007, Zion 11/2009, Enoch 11/2011, and Zephyr due 12/13/2013

KaliShanti is offline  
Old 01-09-2009, 03:59 PM
 
lolar2's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 6,403
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I think you can get Little Bill DVDs.
lolar2 is offline  
Old 01-09-2009, 04:10 PM - Thread Starter
 
*Jessica*'s Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Western NY
Posts: 3,786
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by JMJ View Post
Finally, if these issues are originating at preschool, then you need to talk to the director about possibly taking some of these similar steps to encourage positive views about diversity in that setting. I hope that helps. Good luck.
Thank you for the wonderful ideas! I just want to clarify that this isn't an issue involving preschool, except that it is the only setting where my children have really encountered children with a different skin color. This is something that has been talked about at home and at school, so perhaps it is a matter of "same" things grouping as a previous poster mentioned. I just want to make sure that we address it in case it isn't such an innocent explanation. And now I have some really great ideas that I hadn't thought of before.

Jessica, wife of Marc and Momma to Nikolai (10) and Nathaniel (9) and Olivia (3).
*Jessica* is offline  
Old 01-09-2009, 11:52 PM
 
MamaKickyPants's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Toronto
Posts: 277
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Check put this amazing website called antiracist parent It is full of good suggestions on how to parent from an anti-racist perspective ie: going deeper than the 'food and festivals' route. They have great suggestions for kids reading material too.

Lindsay, mama to Owen (06.08) and Sadie (05.11) wool.gifpartner to the amazing J. 
MamaKickyPants is offline  
Old 01-09-2009, 11:57 PM
 
Minerva's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Downers Grove, IL USA
Posts: 441
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
It's funny what kids notice. For what it's worth:

We have a multi-racial/multi-ethnic family going here. My (very blonde) daughter has a marked preference for dark-skinned men. So, when her grandfather and her uncle visit, she's thrilled to pieces. She's equally thrilled to see photos of my nephew's little boy who is part Asian. But she also takes great delight in pointing out that she has my mother's same hair colour. She knows people look different, I guess.


I'd say just to talk to him about why her prefers such and such.

2 happy kids makes for a happy mother.

Minerva is offline  
Old 01-10-2009, 12:08 AM
 
Crunchie's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: M to the D
Posts: 501
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
No real suggestions from me (my little one is just 18 months, so we aren't to the discussion phase of this issue yet), but I do have a book recommend to add to your list. We have a beautiful book called What I Be by Michael Franti. It's about differences and self-acceptance. I love the illustrations; our copy was a gift, and it came with a CD of the story set to music, with Michael Franti's son as narrator. It's a big hit around here.

One little guy born 6/17/07 : :
Crunchie is offline  
Old 01-10-2009, 12:40 AM - Thread Starter
 
*Jessica*'s Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Western NY
Posts: 3,786
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by MamaKickyPants View Post
Check put this amazing website called antiracist parent It is full of good suggestions on how to parent from an anti-racist perspective ie: going deeper than the 'food and festivals' route. They have great suggestions for kids reading material too.
Thank you for this link!!!! I found this little tidbit from an essay called "Rubbing Off," by child psychologist Allison Briscoe-Smith.
Quote:
So in and of itself, recognizing racial difference is not a cause for alarm—quite the opposite, in fact. For years, studies have found that children who recognize these kinds of differences from an early age show a stronger general ability to identify subtle differences between categories like color, shape, and size—which, in turn, has been linked to higher performance on intelligence tests. Researcher Francis Aboud has found that children between the ages of four and seven who show this advanced ability to identify and categorize differences are actually less prejudiced. So parents, rest assured: When children notice and ask about racial differences, it's a normal and healthy stage of development.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Crunchie View Post
No real suggestions from me (my little one is just 18 months, so we aren't to the discussion phase of this issue yet), but I do have a book recommend to add to your list. We have a beautiful book called What I Be by Michael Franti. It's about differences and self-acceptance. I love the illustrations; our copy was a gift, and it came with a CD of the story set to music, with Michael Franti's son as narrator. It's a big hit around here.
This looks great! I think I'm going to pick it up for a little Valentine's gift for the boys.

Jessica, wife of Marc and Momma to Nikolai (10) and Nathaniel (9) and Olivia (3).
*Jessica* is offline  
Old 01-10-2009, 01:13 AM
 
Calee's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 241
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Hey-what a tough situation! Kids have a way of pointing things out, or grouping as someone else said, that is not necessarily WRONG for a child, but can come across as inappropriate to others!

For instance, it would be normal for a child to see a disabled person and to wonder and ask why they are different, but it would NOT be ok to say that loud, rudely, or to the person's face.

I think those are social things you can teach him. Yes, he may like boys better, (because he is a boy), but that doesn't mean he says things that might hurt a girls feelings. Similarly, he may like white people better (because he is white). I doubt it is racism here, but you are right to make him aware of being nice, kind, polite, etc. AND to expose him to a broader spectrum.

We live in a very "white" area. My husband is a coach at a college though, and many of his students are black, and I am thankful that my son will be able to grow up with some diversity, even though we are in a small town. Some things you could consider:
1) My son has a black baby doll
2) Books with other race people (Many books by Keats have AA characters)
3) A doctor/dentist of another race

Best wishes!
Calee is offline  
Old 01-10-2009, 02:27 AM
 
hipumpkins's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: NJ
Posts: 5,987
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
People

The first rule of homeschooling: water the plants! :
hipumpkins is offline  
 
User Tag List

Thread Tools


Forum Jump: 

Posting Rules  
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off