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My thoughts on race.

Mommy bloggers have been getting serious this week and there have been a few discussions about race. Julia and Sharon both weighed in so I thought I would share a few thoughts.

Neither my kids nor I have had to deal with any serious forms of racism. I have been asked why my kids are brown and I am white but I have never read much more into that than kids curiosity and have always answered honestly.

About a year ago, though, I was in a situation where a very blatant racist comment was made, fortunately my children were not around. Who made the comment isn’t really important because that person was, in essence, a stranger but the statement was directed to people involved in my children’s lives.

I can’t remember exactly her words but it was along the lines of how blessed they will be for loving the brown children.

Initially I didn’t really register but when I did I was beyond angry on many levels. There was the obvious race issue, then there was the whole religion issue. What really bothers me though is that these kinds of negative thoughts are directed towards children. Do my “brown” children deserve less love because they are brown? Does any child deserve less (or more) love because of the color of their skin? How do you rationalize that thought?

Even though it was one of the first times I have ever come face to face with racism, I do know that with the kind of family we have, people like this are right around any corner. My only hope is that when they do encounter these people they are confident and secure enough to know the problem lies with that person and not them.

Do you talk to your children about racism? Is it something you know they will one day face?




  1. 6 February, 2014 / 11:09 am

    We had a situation the other day that I shall share. O has a new friend at school – she is coloured. Now let’s remember that there are only 10 white children in my child’s Gr 2 grade. The rest are either black or brown (as O says).

    Anyway, this little girl came along to O’s birthday outing. Her dad is white (I know this as I have met him) and never thought much more about it/her family/her mother etc. So we’re talking in the car and she is telling me about the rest of her family. Here are here words (I wrote them down because her honesty was just so innocent and forthright). ‘Aunty Shayne, I have lots of brothers, and a sister, and a mom too. My dad and my sister and my surnames are all the same …… But my mom’s surname is very difficult to say. Do you know why Aunty Shayne – because she is a brown human and brown humans sometimes have very weird names. My brothers are also brown humans and they go to the brown human school where we live.

    What i’m wanting to say, is whether we like it or not (and maybe i’m going off the subject here somewhat) is that whether or not we want our children to deal with racism, and how to deal with it – they are already dealing with it. In their own way. And maybe we just have to be open and honest and quite frankly – who gives a continental what colour your skin is compared to the rest of your family? Surely we have moved beyond that?

    All I care about is whether your child has good manner and behaves in a certain way in my home and around my child. Brown, white or coloured. Makes no difference what your ‘race’ is – just have manners and grace.

    • LauraKim
      6 February, 2014 / 11:17 am

      Thanks for sharing Shayne – I don’t really classify what she says as racism though. It is innocent questioning which is normal – it is how we, as the adults, deal with. Kids see colour – Kiara knows she is brown and Jack is white but for her it is like she has curly hair and I have straight hair – it does not divide us.

  2. 6 February, 2014 / 11:25 am

    From my own experience as a family of 4, where each one of us has our own unique shade of pale to dark brown, I can honestly say, it’s never been the children who have past racist remarks, it’s more the adults. As I blogged yesterday when an acquaintance was some how trying to make herself feel better about my children’s brownness and she proudly informed me that they were raising their girls to speak to all people, even “non-whites” I realized how unconsciously racist that statement was.
    What will be interesting for me is to watch our own family dynamic. Hannah is much more obviously coloured while with Ava most people are surprised by her race… how will this play out in the future, with friends and later on with boyfriends etc? I don’t know, only time will tell.

    • LauraKim
      6 February, 2014 / 11:34 am

      Really Sharon? Raising her children to talk to non-whites? I actually have no words for that!

  3. 6 February, 2014 / 11:45 am

    Now do you understand why I blogged what I did yesterday? Seriously that statement pissed me off. My children are not a social experiment to be used by other families to demonstrate how non racist (or in this case racist) they are!

  4. 6 February, 2014 / 12:58 pm

    What I honestly loved about the little Catholic school my kids started in was that they were taught that people are Tshwana, or English or Afrikaans. Of course somewhere along the line kids realize the colours are different and mine would refer to brown or white – I think in between did not even register. But its the way they did that I loved – it was sort of just by the by, nothing important. And I would love if it stays that way. C has a very good friend, a little black girl , one of only three in the grade and truly I think what her colour is is of no importance

  5. 6 February, 2014 / 2:24 pm

    I wish we could all just embrace the fact that we are all different and on the outside…and get on with life. I wish that people can just respect one another and embrace the fact that we are all unique and we all add value to life. What I really, really hate is when grown ups are teaching their children to be racist…and it is usually done in the way they act not necessarily say. At the Mission we are all the colours of the rainbow…and we are oom Kobus and tannie Lynette to all of them. All the children come for hugs and kisses. Children are not born racist…it is grown ups that make them that way.

  6. Ankia
    6 February, 2014 / 6:18 pm

    We’ve had one incident in James previous school where another boy told him not to play with the black kids. I went to the teacher who undertook to call his parents in & told James not to play with *that* kid any more. It’s sad because it’s obviously not the kid’s fault but his parents, but I honestly would rather cut people like that out.

    That’s one thing i love about James’ new school. Every possible culture & race to be found there & in my opinion it enriches my child’s life.

    It’s too funny though when James rolls his eyes when I can’t always tell by the kid’s name if a back friend he talks about is a boy or a girl. Mom is already just not “with it” lol!

  7. 7 February, 2014 / 10:05 am

    I definitely talk to my children about racism and what it involves. I believe that no child should be discriminated towards what color they are. No one should whether they are children or adult.

  8. MeeA
    7 February, 2014 / 3:31 pm

    I don’t talk to my kids about race. I talk to my kids about people. Obviously, I’ve had the question, “Mommy, why are some people black?” And I answer, “I don’t really know. It’s a bit like some people who have freckles and others don’t. And some people have blonde hair and some have brown hair. And some have curly hair and some have straight hair.” I ask my kids, “How boring would the world be if we all looked exactly the same?” And they’re generally satisfied with that…

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