Last week on a day I was out sick, a little girl in my class kept refusing to play with a boy who had also chosen to play in the house corner. The volunteer told her that the boy had a right to be there, and that they all had to play together. The girl kept refusing. Finally, the volunteer asked why, and the little girl said, “I don’t like black people. My mother told me not to play with the black kids.”

My assistant teacher handled it the best she could in my absence, and when I returned, I asked the girl if it was true, and after being silent for a long time, she admitted that it was. I gave her the standard speech about how we are all friends in our class, and that we have to be respectful of everyone, and that the color of someone’s skin doesn’t matter. I felt that she didn’t really understand a word I was saying.

I asked our African-American assistant principal for help, and she gave me some good advice.

So we have been talking a lot about friendship, and how we are all different but really the same, and reading books about friendship and about diversity, and I have been talking a lot about our school family, and how we must all be kind to one another.

But still. I don’t know what to DO.

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4 thoughts on “racism

  1. I have an African-American friend teaching kindergarten at my school. One of her boys last year, used the “N” word in class. When stopped, he said he was ALLOWED to use that word by his mother. When mom was called, she said, “Yes, we use that word in our home and he’s allowed to use it.” For a woman to show that much disrespect for her son’s teacher was appalling to me. No wonder the kid was a mess.

  2. All you can do is what you’re doing. At that age they’ll parrot the parents, but I know many people who have grown out of that mind set. Just keep emphasizing diversity and positive stories and images of blacks in the class.

  3. My school is 100% black, so luckily I don’t have to deal with the situation you had. I do, however, have to deal with teach5’s situation. A lot! I have always told my students, and their parents for that matter, I don’t care WHAT the rules are in your house, here at school ONLY my rules matter. And that word is absolutely NOT allowed EVER.

    I don’t usually have too many “issues” with my babies, but I still witness things around the school. Apparently, it’s a major insult to call someone “white.” I can’t count the number of times I’ve heard this:
    Student 1 – Mrs. L. is white.
    Student 2 – NO SHE’S NOT!! She’s light skin-did.

    I love that they jump to my defense, but I just don’t get it 😦

  4. Children so want to please their parents, and so they mimic what they do and say. Sometimes it’s religion. (Some time ago, I had a child tell another child that they were going to hell, because they were bad.) Other times it’s racism. So keep talking to them. “We are all alike, We are all different” is a wonderful book. I have a lot of diversity, but thankfully I have not had any issues yet this year.

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