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Children and Race...

I had no idea how to go about talking to my children about race. I had initially planned on NOT saying anything because really - what race people are don't really matter to us. What I'm saying is we're not racist. So my initial plan was to just say nothing. Well, my daughter called a little girl a name - that involved her race. I told her that we don't call names - we don't call ANYBODY names. We definitely don't treat people different, just because they look different. And she doesn't. She really doesn't. She wants to be friends with everyone, she loves everyone. My concern is that she DOES distinguish between people's races. She calls black people 'brown', she calls white people 'peach'. Not all the time - she doesn't just go around calling people names. But if she's telling me about them, she describes them as 'peach', 'brown', ect. I don't want to make a big deal about it because I want her to be comfortable enough to be

 
Anonymous

Asked by Anonymous at 3:16 AM on Jun. 25, 2009 in Religion & Beliefs

This question is closed.
Answers (8)
  • i have a cousin who is colorblind. we have lots of colorblind in our family. anyway for years he referred to AA's as blue people. it's not bad to be aware of differences in people, it's bad when you stereotype because of the differences in people. i would only say, let your child go on to be very observant and notice the differences, give her some correct terms to use, and let her be socialable with everyone.
    i think the difference is when a child is raised in two different ways. to see a black man, or to see a man that is black.
    i had a great friend years ago who was, ok lets say it, extremely obese. she was constantly stared at. and one day she said to me, why do they see me as the fat lady, instead of a lady who is fat. and i have to agree, seeing her as a lady who was fat was always how i saw her. not a fat lady.
    jewjewbee

    Answer by jewjewbee at 7:27 AM on Jun. 25, 2009

  • (OP CONT.) able to talk to people about their background, their history, their culture. I don't want her to think that her history, background, culture is all that matters because it isn't. I WANT her to be informed. So my question is, I guess, does it really bother anybody that she says 'brown', 'peach', ect (which she came up with on her own)?
    And I just want remind everyone: she doesn't discriminate against people because they are peach, brown, whatever. Usually who she doesn't like are mean kids - no matter what they look like. I really hope nobody is offended because I'm asking a real question.
    Anonymous

    Answer by Anonymous at 3:17 AM on Jun. 25, 2009

  • it is something that children are going to notice. And it is not bad to recognize the differences in people. it is how a person responds to those differences that matters. so what if she calls a brown person brown or a peach person peach.

    you would have been horrified if you would've heard what my son said. we are not in any way racist. But there are not very many black people where i live. we were in the store and a very dark man was in the line behind us. my son kept looking at him but i didnt think anything of it because ...well, because he was black and my son has not seen many up close. ...as we walked away he said "Mommy! That was a monkey!" ...luckily the man did not hear. but at that time i explained that there are people of different color but that they are all people.
    But one of the reasons he thought the man was a moneky is because the whole time we were there the man didnt speak. ...
    outstandingLove

    Answer by outstandingLove at 3:27 AM on Jun. 25, 2009

  • I think it's pretty obvious that kids are going to notice racial differences. Pretending that they don't exist is like ignoring an elephant in the living room. I think what's important is not to pretend that people don't have different skin colors (because they do) but to emphasize that this is just a matter of how much pigment is in their skin- like having brown or blond or black hair. It doesn't go any deeper than that. I don't think there is anything wrong with her using 'descriptive' words like brown or peach- when little kids talk about race, they don't bring the baggage to the concept that we have as adults.
    Funny story- when my dad was a kid his family used to rent out boats from their cottage. One day my aunt (about four or five) was hanging around when a black man came up to rent a boat. My aunt yelled "MOM! There's a chocolate man here who needs a boat!" Luckily the guy thought it was hilarious!
    Freela

    Answer by Freela at 7:22 AM on Jun. 25, 2009

  • We live in a small town that is not very diverse....my two year old spent the night over at his Aunt and Uncles house last month. The Aunt and Uncle have a neighbor that is just about a year older than my kiddo, so they played for a few hours. The little boy is hispanic. Well, of course none of theadults thought anything of that, but the next morning at the breakfast table my son asked if he could go play at Diego's house again. I thought I would die when I heard that story!
    In the case of my kiddo, he just doesn't get to be exposed to other races that much so he is going to notice a difference. That is fine with me and natural. If you feel you have to talk to your daughter maybe try doing it in a fun way. Like making one night a week a multi-cultural night, where you guys eat foods from other countries for dinner and learn about other countries and their beliefs and culture. (con't)
    ajguinn

    Answer by ajguinn at 8:55 AM on Jun. 25, 2009

  • Just make the whole topic fun for her and be open. I actually got that idea because that is what they did at my elementary school. I honestly think that doing things that way helps kids see people of other races as just people. The brown and peach thing shouldn't bother anyone. If it does, then they need to grow a thicker skin to be honest. She is a kid, and kids are honest. It doesn't mean that she is racist, just that she is observant. 

    ajguinn

    Answer by ajguinn at 9:01 AM on Jun. 25, 2009

  • Don't worry too much about it. My family is not racist at all either, but when the little ones are telling me something that happened during the day, they'll use colors to describe people. They don't do it in a disrespectful way, they're just noticing that everyone is different. I think that's a good thing and I always tell them "yes, God made everyone different, but He loves us all just the same."
    My children have friends of many races, black, white, bi-racial, hispanic, asian, etc. They don't like one "color" better than the others, they're all friends. Distinguishing colors is just something we all have learned at some point. I was tickled to death one day, when I was at the grocery store, and a little boy said to his mother--"That white lady must have to feed a lot of people." I wasn't offended at all. I told him and his mom how adoreable he was. lol
    lighthousemom3

    Answer by lighthousemom3 at 10:04 AM on Jun. 25, 2009

  • I feel very fortunate to be raising my daughter in such a diverse family as mine. Her father is white; I am 1/4 Cherokee and that heritage is "practiced" in my family; Her uncle and step-grandpa (my hubby considers him his only father) are black; All my cousins on my father's side are half Mexican; We are Buddhists; My brother is Jewish; Several members are pagan or Christian; My sister is gay.....the list goes on, but the point is that WE ALL GET ALONG!!!! :)
    EternalChild86

    Answer by EternalChild86 at 11:01 AM on Jun. 25, 2009