Post # 1
My niece, Emma, is 4 years old, almost 5. She met a new little friend at a 1 week day camp she did this summer, and she asked my sister (her mom) if she could have her friend over. Since my sister was off yesterday, she organized a play date for Emma and her friend who is 6.
The two little girls were playing dolls and Emma, trying to be nice, offered to let her friend use her brand new doll. The doll happens to be black (Emma chooses her doll based on the accessories and outfits versus skin colour, which she is largely unaware of).
My sister overheard the friend say, “I don’t want to use that doll.” Emma, curious why someone wouldn’t want to use her new doll, asked her why. The friend said, “My dad wouldn’t want me playing with a n—-r doll.”
My sister just about fell over. She has never heard a little kid say that word (and neither have I). She quickly found a new activity for the girls, but the friend kept making racial comments casually, which led to Emma asking my sister a million questions when her friend left.
My sister told the girl’s mother when she picked her up and she was indifferent at best. Obviously the child picked up the comments from the parents because the mother said, “I wouldn’t play with that doll either. That’s what is wrong with Canada!”
This new friend has just moved here from Russia (this was what drew Emma to her – she could practice Russian with someone her own age, and she could talk to her about the places she visited at xmas). She will be going to Emma’s school in September.
What would you do?
Post # 3
- Wedding: May 2013 - Pavilion overlooking golf course scenery, reception at banquet hall
I don’t have kids, but I think I would not let them play together anymore. Those are not healthy attitudes to have as a 6 year old, and if the parents are enforcing them at home there’s not much you can do to “teach” the kid yourself when she’s over at play time. If they are starting at the same school soon, I think teachers/admins will handle it as best they can, but there’s not much another parent can do. What a sad situation 🙁
Post # 4
Oh My… that is horrible… and the poor kid… well my Kid would NOT be having another play date with that little girl… and if your neice asks why i would say that she says bad words and we don’t like those words in our house…
how horrible that the 6 year old already has so much hate for people just for the color of their skin… it is so sad what those parents have done to her mind already…
Post # 5
@aggie2010: That’s what my sister is worried about. She absolutely won’t let Emma play with her at the house again (which made Emma cry) but she can’t do much if Emma finds her at recess. I would hope the school authorities will do something if they hear Emma’s friend talking that way to the other kids.
I am actually very pissed my niece even knows that word now.
Post # 6
OH MY GOD! Ugh. That makes me so sad. I don’t have children but I can’t imagine letting my child play with her again, especially since the mom didn’t care!
I once used that word, when I was probably about 8, not knowing what it meant. Believe me when I tell you that my mom FLIPPED, explained that it was a bad word, and I have never used it again. Obviously now I WOULD never. I don’t even know where I heard it or why I thought that.
My point is that if the mother cared and corrected her daughter that would be one thing, but obviously she didn’t.
ETA: For reference, I thought it meant cute so I called my little brother it. In no way do I mean to make light of it, but I want the context of how I used it to be known.
Post # 7
@CTbride2010: She even made a comment to Emma that “black people don’t think or feel the same way we do.” I am amazed no one at her day camp noticed this, and I have to assume the kids were too busy playing to say anything rude. It is so disheartening to me that Emma is now asking, “what’s a n—-r? Should I still play with those dolls? Do black people think the same as me?”
Post # 8
@Bubbles42: I know. I think my sister was expecting abject horror on the mother’s part, but she didn’t get that reaction. This leads us to believe that the daughter is learning it from her parents so we sure as hell don’t want Emma going over there to play, or to have that kid over again. As for school, I guess there is not much we can do.
Post # 9
If they’re going to be at the same school, there’s not a whole lot that can be done in terms of separating them. They’re going to have playtimes together at school and these comments may come up again at school (although hopefully a teacher would step in if they see it happening). I think the best thing to do is for your sister to start a discussion with her daughter about how racist comments can hurt peoples’ feelings and why they should be avoided. If the niece understands why these comments are bad, she will hopefully not be influenced as much by the other girl’s comments.
Post # 10
I am not a parent, but I am a teacher. I teach kids that age. In my experience, teaching at very diverse schools, kids that age really do not have a concept of race, therefore are not really capable of being racist. People are shades of color to them, not black and white. For example, I’m white, but many kids call me “light skinned”. One mixed girl called herself white-ish. They have to be taught to be racist, it is not something that comes naturally to them.
This girl is obviously being trained at home to be a racist. If I were your sister I would probably explain that those words are totally unacceptable and not to use them around your niece.
What a crappy thing those parents are doing! Ugh.
Post # 11
@MrsPanda99: It’s always interesting to me how new immigrants here practice unabashed racism, and of course I mean “some” new immigrants, but when it is there it is really “out there.”
That said, this is one of many MANY teaching moments your niece’s mom will have. She can say things like “your baby is so nice, why would anyone not want to play with her? She’s got beautiful skin.” and etc.It’s good practice for her to engage in parent education, as she will be doing for the rest of her kid’s life.
Only if the Russian kid gets more pronouned and repetitive in her “racist” comments would I pull their contact and there is always the likelihood that other factors will interfere with close friendship, anyway.
And in reality, practicing Russian language is a great incentive for them to play together, I wonder if your niece will actually benefit in that way? That’s interesting.
Post # 12
@MrsPanda99: As a parent I would make sure that I discussed this with the school as well when the time comes. I would simply say that I do not want my child exposed to any racist comments/ideas.
Honestly this is horrid! I’m literally shaking with anger right now towards those parents that would take an innocent child and warp her this way! >:(
Post # 13
@MrsPanda99: Yeah definitely getting it from parents. I didn’t even realize people were still racist until I went to high school because my parents were not, my mom was very anti-racism, and my elementary school had a decent minority population compared to other schools in my area. I know how naive that sounds but I was a kid.
Post # 14
We’ve run into this issue with our daughter. First of all, we talked to her very clearly about why what the other child was saying was not acceptable, that it was incorrect, and explain that some people do think this way, but our family does not and we believe that it’s wrong. We asked her not to play with the other child at school – not to be mean to the child, but just not to continue with a lot of contact – and explained that she should tell us and her teachers if the child said these things in school.
The other kid’s parents continued to ask us to have the kids play together, and finally I told them I wasn’t comfortable exposing my child to that sort of behaviour and thinking and that was the end of it.
Post # 15
- Wedding: November 2013 - St. Augustine Beach, FL
@MrsPanda99: I personally wouldn’t invite that little girl over anymore and I would explain to my daughter that her comments were wrong and that unless her friend learns how to accept everyone regardless of skin color, they can’t be friends. Unfortunately, it’s not her place to try to fix the friend, especially since it’s clear her family is teaching her those awful beliefs and behavior.
Post # 16
That is so sad to hear. Our children have the most wonderful opertunity to grow up in a post-racial society and things like that squash MLKs dream. smh at that girls family.
I would LOVE to be judged on the content of my character (or at least my wardrobe)