Saturday, 18 August 2012

Racism is learned

Yesterday a friend posted a lovely picture on Facebook. It was two children, one white, one black hugging each other... Memories flooded back.

As a young single mum I worked. I taught English as a second language in a teaching centre in Rochdale. My son was at school, my daughter at nursery school quite close to where I taught. In a sea of brown faces, hers was the only white one. She learned the basics of Erdu there, and had some very good friends.

I used to have a lot of people over for meals and one night one of my friends asked Roz about her nursery school.She told everyone at the table that her friend was called Ribena and her friend's brother was Anwar.

"I don't like Anwar" said Roz stoutly. Someone asked her why. "Because he's black"

You could have heard a pin drop. Everyone was horrified.

"But you like Ribena don't you?" I asked.

"Yes...I love Ribena, she's my friend"

I said, "Why do you love her"

"Because she's black"

Relief all round..we could breath again. ..the thing is with small children, if you push them for a reason they will give you the most obvious answer.

Children are not racist in any way....this is something they learn from us, the grown ups. Bearing that in mind we can also help them to learn tolerance and have joy in the differences of human life. All variations are gifts from God and to be celebrated I believe.

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