Handling racism towards family and children - Mothering Forums
 
Thread Tools
#1 of 21 Old 03-04-2005, 02:42 AM - Thread Starter
 
USAmma's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: Arizona
Posts: 18,562
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3 Post(s)
My dh is from India, I'm a caucasian American. Our two girls are about half way between both of us as far as looks. I'm sure we appear striking to people who haven't seen us before, but I sometimes forget that we are not the norm as a family.

So we have these two families. One I know is racist (or something-- they don't like our family at all). I've tried to be nice and say hello. The father has gone as far as to call his kids into the house and shut the garage door because one of his children dared to come and ask about the baby. The other family- the wife is nice enough to me, we chat on the street sometimes. Her dh won't ever even turn his head when we say hello to him. I don't know what his problem is. They have 3 kids including a 5yo girl that Abi has tried several times to befriend. She's not a shy girl but never wants to speak to Abi. Will totally ignore her. It's so sad to see my 4yo dd calling out "Hey L, L, want to ride bikes with me?" and the girl won't even turn her head towards Abi. If Abi rides close to her the girl will ride faster, even go into the garage, or knock on the door across the street and get that 5yo to come out and play with her instead. Abi has cried tears over it a few times.

At the playground I notice that most of the time the white kids ignore her or won't play. Once in a great while they will, but mostly it's a hispanic or asian kid that will end up playing with Abi. I have several friends with kids of all colors and we set up playdates. I'm not talking about those times, I'm talking about random playground events.

Kids are very aware of color differences at an early age. I think that sometimes they are just afraid of people who don't look like mom and dad or anyone they know. Abi was aware of her color and mine and dh's at age 2.5. I don't blame the kids at all, but I do blame the parents who further instill fear and hate into their children.

I am just so unsure how to handle this all the way around. If I could I would move to some neighborhood where the kids all were just kids. Our neighborhood is somewhat snooty that way. We have a few very nice neighbors, but the ones with kids have made it very clear they don't want their kids playing with our dd.

7yo: "Mom,I know which man is on a quarter and which on is on a nickel. They both have ponytails, but one man has a collar and the other man is naked. The naked man was our first president."
 
USAmma is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
#2 of 21 Old 03-04-2005, 03:56 AM
 
Leatherette's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 1,357
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I am so sorry you are going through this. I am white, and my daughter is African American, and I can see a variation of this scenario in the near future. She is only 15 months now, so it's not yet such an issue. We live in an area that is very welcoming to all sorts of families, so I don't worry so much about the adults influencing the kids, but more the kids feeling more comfortable with others who look like them. Already, other African American kids are much more likely to come running up to her and tell me how cute she is. White kids are polite, but not as ebullient.

So I guess my advice would be, you can't change people you barely know, so reach out to everyone who is positive. If you are bold, you could organize a block party and let people get to know you (but be mentally prepared for possible disappointment). Does your husband work out of the home? Does he have any Indian co-workers? Maybe he can find some more diverse social avenues for your family to head down.

Is it really impossible to move? I think that is what I would do if things didn't get better, if at all possible.

best,
L.
Leatherette is offline  
#3 of 21 Old 03-04-2005, 11:32 AM
 
Copper's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 477
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I'm sorry that is awful I guess I just didn't think people, grown adults would act like that and encourage their kids too.
I don't know what to say to you. Are you new to the neighborhood and they don't really "know you" yet?
That said my dd and myself are as blonde and blue-eyed as they come; but she never hesitates to say hello or want to play with anyone's kid, black, white, purple..... She doesn't notice at all. I have actually wondered sometime if she will ask me why they have a different "coloring" but she doesn't care; too bad you don't live across the street from us. We would love to have her over!
I'm sorry I just don't know what you could do except look elsewhere for friends.

:energ y
Copper is offline  
 
#4 of 21 Old 03-04-2005, 11:46 AM
 
beth568's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Near Boston, MA
Posts: 307
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I'm so sorry. How awful that those people have poisoned their children.

It's such an interesting thing; my DD's preschool teacher and I were just talking about whether little kids notice color differences. My DD hasn't mentioned it, ever, except once recently when she made a distinction between the two boys named Max she knows by referring to one of them as "Max with the brown skin." But I've haven't noticed the kids in her class acting differently to children who look different (the class is mostly white, but there are Asian and African American kids there, and one family has an au pair who is a young, very dark-skinned man - so unusual on both counts - and the kids haven't mentioned it). They read a book about Martin Luther King for MLK Day, and some of the kids painted his picture. They all used brown paint (the usual color choices were available to them), but none of them mentioned his color or asked about it. I suspect most of the families in our school are pretty open to differences of all kinds, though. I bet it would be a problem with some of our neighbors.

I don't see a solution with your neighbors - they're probably not people you really want to befriend anyway. Unless you want to take a crack at embarrassing them and come right out and ask why they seem to be avoiding you and your DD. Sounds like they deserve to squirm a little.

I'm REALLY sad to hear about the playground. I suspect that many of the kids you encounter who are hesitant to play with your DD come from homes where parents talk about race and differences in a negative way. It doesn't seem to me that kids this young really think about race unless the idea is presented to them, directly or indirectly. As the line from the musical South Pacific goes, you've got to be taught how to hate.
beth568 is offline  
#5 of 21 Old 03-04-2005, 01:24 PM
 
Copper's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 477
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I wonder; we don't have a really "diverse" area we live in but my dd has never commented and/or noticed and I have never mentioned it so I guess maybe the kids that do avoid playing with others that are different maybe are told something by their parents?
The only difference dd has really noticed is one day a 26 year old girl (though she looked 16 years old) with Down's syndrome came in to the library and was delighted there was a storytime going on and I just told her to go ahead and take a seat (they were sitting in a circle) if she would like to.
She participated enthusiastically with answering questions about the story and adding comments. I could tell that some of the kids kinda looked at her and noticed she was "different" and I kind of expected dd to maybe ask me but she never did. The girl joined us for snacks afterwards too. Her grandma was the nicest lady too though I think she was embarassed, we didn't care.

:energ y
Copper is offline  
#6 of 21 Old 03-04-2005, 02:07 PM
 
Mama2E&O's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 1,042
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I'm so sorry! My heart is breaking for your sweet children.
My two kids are also blond headed and blue eyed. My dd (almost 4) does not seem to notice people's differences at all, and we do not live in a very culturally diverse area.
At our playgroup there is a little boy who was adopted from India, and no one there (out of maybe 30 kids?) has ever excluded him (to my knowledge). In fact, my dd never said anything about his dark skin until we were reading a book that had someone in it with dark skin and she said: "he looks like A. from playgroup!" but that was it. She has never questioned it, just seems to accept that people are different whether it be brown hair/blond hair, or brown skin/ light skin.
I feel suspicious about a little child who is racist. I do not think it comes naturally, does it? Perhaps her parents are to blame.
I'm sorry I have no advice! I do not know what I would do in this situation. Probably protect my kids as much as I could.
It is so hard for me to understand why there are still racist people out there.
Mama2E&O is offline  
#7 of 21 Old 03-04-2005, 02:08 PM
 
Mama2E&O's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 1,042
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I just wanted to add that I peeked a look at the pictures of your children you linked in your sig~ they are gorgeous! I'm sure you already know that, though!
Mama2E&O is offline  
#8 of 21 Old 03-04-2005, 02:33 PM
 
Leav97's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: MN
Posts: 397
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)


Wow, I followed the links in you sig. Your oldest is gorgeous and the picture of your youngest in her sling is sooo cute.
Leav97 is offline  
#9 of 21 Old 03-04-2005, 03:19 PM
 
huggerwocky's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 5,396
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
It must be the Area you are living in.Before we moved my daughter's best friend was a girl from South India.Whenever they went to the playground together the indian girl was never excluded. I am not american so I am just assuming that there must be some truth in people saying the south is more racist?

I also wanted to add that maybe the children that don't answer don't act the way they do because of racism.My daughter used to be rather shy for some time ...too shy to answer other children who talked to her
huggerwocky is offline  
#10 of 21 Old 03-04-2005, 04:47 PM
 
sweetest's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: closer to fine
Posts: 1,253
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I was so sad reading your post You can do so much for your children, but how can you control your neighbors awfull behavior? We have a similar neighbor - I live on a cul-de-sac and when we have parties at our house we always invite the neighbors along with our friends. At our housewarming party we realized that our next door neighbor left early, about when our friends arrived. Then it happend at another party. We realized (after speaking to him about other things) that it was because most of our friends are not "white" : We dont talk to him much, and our other neighbors are great, but even after living here for 7 years we dont talk to him much.

It sounds like you have found a group of friends for your dd. I dont know if there is much you can do about your neighbors. I live in a small rural town and we have thought about moving because of the increase in racist activities here. My dh ran into a friend of ours last weekend while he was walking downtown - the friend of our wont bring his kids downtown anymore becasue of a comment made to his (African American) son by some "white power" protesters (luckily the 4 year old son didnt hear it) The friends dd is our dd's best friend, I cant imagine anyone being mean to a child


To you and your family
sweetest is offline  
#11 of 21 Old 03-04-2005, 05:43 PM
 
yaM yaM's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 2,117
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)


USAmma,
I am so sorry to hear of your situation. Actaully, sorry does not do it justice. I feel disappointed and embarassed for the people who raise their children with those values..

I have always raised my children to respect differences. EVERYONE is different in their own ways, external and internal. At a very early age, I gave my children Waldorf dolls with different skin colors. They have friends with different skin colors. We also volunteer every week at a local nursing home -- on the stroke ward. So the residents there behave very weirdly and are quite old. My children are learning that these folks were once just like all of us, they just got old. We volunteer for homeless foodservice operations, too. It is all humbling and uniting. My children learn that we are all the same in so many ways, and that it is more fun to celebrate our similarities than to dwell on our differences.

Just keep on searching -- there's many more where we come from.



And, BTW, we're in AZ, too.



yaM yaM is offline  
#12 of 21 Old 03-04-2005, 05:50 PM
 
shishkeberry's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: In Potions class, daydreaming...
Posts: 1,123
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I don't have any advice, really, but I wanted to tell you how cute your daughters are! And such a smile Abi has! Makes me wish I had a girl

DS 8/4/04 "You're my best mommy in the deep blue sea!"
****5****10****15****20****25****30****35****40*
shishkeberry is offline  
#13 of 21 Old 03-04-2005, 06:27 PM
 
Rhonwyn's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: G less in Seattle
Posts: 2,679
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
I am so sorry that you have such jerks for neighbors. I guess I would be one to walk over there and ask them what the deal is. I would do so without the kids there and I would ask them if I had done something wrong. At least then you would know where you stood and it wouldn't be such a mystery.

There is a song in South Pacific about being carefully taught how to hate those who are different. It is one of the things that make it such a great musical.
Rhonwyn is offline  
#14 of 21 Old 03-04-2005, 06:50 PM
 
Kinipela79's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Olympia, Washington
Posts: 973
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I'm sorry you have to deal with a bunch of doorknobs. I have always told Trevor that I don't care about what a person looks like on the outside as long as they are kind on the inside but haven't gone into much more than that. I have friends of all types that he has been around since he was born. He has never said anything about people being different colors or looking "different". In fact, at the church nursery there was a little girl who had been badly burned and had scars and another little boy was telling her that they were ugly and nasty and Trevor said "leave her alone! She's my friend!" I was really proud to hear that and had to share! It REALLY pisses me off to think of people being mean to CHILDREN because they don't fall into a certain "color category". It's bad enough to do it to anyone but it just really zings me when it's a child that is the target of that kind of ignorance and hate. *hugs* mama, your girls are lovely.
Kinipela79 is offline  
#15 of 21 Old 03-04-2005, 08:11 PM
 
khrisday's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: High Desert of California
Posts: 3,913
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I don't knwo, we've had mean neighbors, and lots of kids who have ignored or been mean to my kids- and we're white as can be. Maybe it's not really racially motivated. But it still is difficult to deal with.
khrisday is offline  
#16 of 21 Old 03-05-2005, 01:48 AM
 
urklemama's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2003
Location: Seattle, mold capital of the world
Posts: 666
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Children have to be taught racism; it's not natural. We live in an extremely diverse area and everyone gets along in the playground, except the very occasional child who has clearly been explicitly taught to hate honkies and other minorities (white people are the minority in my area). Not only that, I think without explicit parental teaching racism won't ever develop. My stepchildren have been targeted and bullied for being white in every school they've been in - and you know what? They're still not racist. They know that mean people come in all colors and shapes and mean people pick on differences and they never ever want to make other people feel that way.
urklemama is offline  
#17 of 21 Old 03-05-2005, 01:58 AM - Thread Starter
 
USAmma's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: Arizona
Posts: 18,562
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3 Post(s)
Thanks for the feedback. I would love to give our neighbors the benefit of the doubt, as well as the kids on the playground. As I said before maybe the kids are just being innocent about it. It's natural on the playground to avoid the kids who are different in some way, be it color, weight, disability, etc. I can't prove the neighbors are racist but we just got that impression. They get along fine with the other families in the cul-de-sac.

Oh well, we are going for a playdate tomorrow with a nice family so it's not all bad. I just wish we had more open mindedness on our street.

Well the good news is that today dh got his citizenship and there were so many diverse families that attended the ceremony. Our world is changing for the better. I'll bet my grandchildren won't have much of a problem in this area. At least I'd like to think not.

Darshani

7yo: "Mom,I know which man is on a quarter and which on is on a nickel. They both have ponytails, but one man has a collar and the other man is naked. The naked man was our first president."
 
USAmma is offline  
#18 of 21 Old 03-05-2005, 02:10 AM
 
Rhonwyn's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: G less in Seattle
Posts: 2,679
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Congratulations to your dh! You must be very proud! It is hard work to become a citizen. I sometimes wish we made every one go to the classes and pass a test to be a citizen. Maybe people would appreciate it more and vote.
Rhonwyn is offline  
#19 of 21 Old 03-05-2005, 02:17 AM
 
webjefita's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Indiana
Posts: 737
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
I am so sorry you are going through this. I am white, and my daughter is African American, and I can see a variation of this scenario in the near future.
Ditto, except my husband is Peruvian and our son looks very much like him. Your post has made me so sad. I'm sorry. Thanks for bringing up the issue, though.
webjefita is offline  
#20 of 21 Old 03-05-2005, 02:48 AM
 
mommyofshmoo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Seattle
Posts: 1,405
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
That is totally bizzarro. I've mostly lived in cities, and in metropolitan areas a half Indian/half white family is practically leave it to beaver-esque. We live next door to a lesbian couple with a child- and they are the only other couple with kids in our area who are "married" to the people they have kids with.

Weird story- I lived in a primarily Jewish community from ages 9-16, some pretty formative years. It was an interesting experience of being in the minority. It was interesting because my friends there were mormon, black, Japanese, Chinese, latino. I had a couple Jewish friends- but mostly the majority group stayed together. All us "relative minorities" were an outgroup and became friends amoungst ourselves.

My younger brother used to say that when we hung out with our friends, we looked like "a model united nations."

It was such an enlightening experience because it made me realize that whenever a community is mostly one way, everyone else gets pushed into the "other" category.

Anyway- I wish I had advice for you. Being left out is tough. You could move to a more integrated area and i'm sure it would help. Suburbia can be hellish. All that comfortable homogeneity breeds an in-group mentality that leaves everyone else out.
mommyofshmoo is offline  
#21 of 21 Old 03-05-2005, 09:16 PM
 
bravofrenchie's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Hanging with the Gothic Mafia.
Posts: 1,037
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I love this shirt:
http://www.northernsun.com/cgi-bin/ns/1442.html

I'm so sorry you're family is being treated like this. Don't let it get to you to badly.
bravofrenchie is offline  
Reply


User Tag List

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page



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

Online Users: 1,248

9 members and 1,239 guests
adomboth3 , alaskanmomma , beachfam5 , bimaster , EfanHouse , KerriB , Kolkad , lmaraial57 , Patty Pagan
Most users ever online was 21,860, 06-22-2018 at 09:45 PM.