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  1. #11
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    Sesame Street is very multicultural just a suggestion for shows to watch, etc.

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    mytwowilldo  (05-07-2012)

  3. #12
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    When I have spoken to my kids about this in the past, I make sure to never concentrate the conversation on skin colour, because IMO then they might think 'why on earth is mum banging on about skin colour so much, there must be something up there', so I instead talk about all physical differences. So in your case first of all I would ask her why she thinks that, and tell her that that hurt carer's feelings when she said she didn't like her. Then I would say now your friend Jane has brown hair, and your friend Susie has blonde hair, but that doesn't matter that their hair colours are different because they are both nice girls and they are your friends. And your friend John is short, and your friend Bob is tall, but it really doesn't matter how tall or short they are because they are both nice friends to you. So your teacher Mrs A has dark skin, and your teacher Ms B has light skin, but they are both such lovely teachers, I like them both, I like how Mrs A does this nice thing, and Ms B does this nice thing, don't you think they're both lovely? And it wouldn't it make you really sad if your friend said to you 'I don't like you because you have *DD's* colour hair?', because your hair colour just happened that way by itself and it doesn't mean that you are a mean person just because you have x colour hair.

    You've probably noticed by now that I repeat and repeat things when explaining to my kids. But I have done that from day dot and it almost ALWAYS works, because if they haven't understood something the first time, then chances are if you say it again but slightly different, they will understand sooner or later!

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  5. #13
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    I think kids do come up with those sorts of things by themselves.
    My old neighbour had a fling with an African American soldier and kept her/his child, this little girl is all her dad, and yet she would freak out if an Indian person or other dark skinned person got in the lift with us. She would say exactly what your DD said 'I don't like dark skin', 'I'm scared etc'. she didn't even seem to realise she had the same colored skin and although it wasn't great to hear, she actually wasn't consciously being rascist.

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  7. #14
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    lambjam is offline Nitwit! Blubber! Oddment! Tweak!
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    I disagree with the idea that children can't come up with these things themselves. It's natural for them to be wary of things they're not used to, to prefer things that fit into their understanding of the world.

    I don't even think "racist" is quite the appropriate term to use. Physical attributes such as height, age, tattoos, freckles, scars... anything can unnerve a child who is not used to it, and I imagine this could be quite confronting for them.

    So the answer is exposure; expose them to different people, different cultures, and remove that sense of "the other". Books, movies and toys are great ways of doing this without removing them from their comfort zone. I would try not to blame her or reprimand her, but rather teach her a new way of looking at new people she meets.

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  9. #15
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    I agree that sometimes kids just come up with these things. Doesn't mean they are racist! I think racism has a lot to do with intent.

    My DS at 3 saw a (beautiful!) dark skinned African man and stated VERY loudly "yuck mum that man needs a shower" now whilst I died a little inside, I understood that his dad is a plant mechanic and when he comes home covered in grease DS is told "hang on mate I'll get this yuck off and then give you a hug, come chat to me in the shower if you want". As DS had little exposure to multiculturalism he simply put two and two together.

    The way I conquered it was to look at the milly and Molly series (ABC) cartoons and dolls "same but different" once it was explained we never had another issue.

    I think the teacher calling it a "racist" comment was a bit harsh.

    Good luck x

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  11. #16
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    You know a 4 year old is pretty innocent, is it possible she was annoyed at the carer for one reason or another and created a reason why she would not do what that carer asked her to do? My DD who is 4 just the other day got annoyed at MIL because she did not get her own way and when MIL tried to talk to her she responded with ' I dont like people who wear brown clothes, I dont want to talk to you' that was just her own way of dealing with her own annoyance and putting her message accross to MIL that she did not wish to communicate with her, she will often say things like ' I dont like boys' does that make her sexist? People are really quick to jump on the racist ban wagon but is it possible it was said in total innocence not in malice?

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  13. #17
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    Thanks everyone for your advice, and for sharing similiar stories with your own kids. And for not jumping down my throat accusing me! We do have a pretty limited social circle in that sense, not deliberate of course. But the childcare centre is reasonably diverse, both kids and carers - though maybe not so much in her room. I don't think she knew the carer.

    Part of me thinks it is what lovelymum said, it is just one of those things they say at certain times and wasnt intended to hurt - we also get the I don't like boys etc.

    But I do want to be firm with her about what is appropriate to say and how comments can hurt people. She gets very upset when people call her a baby because she is the shortest in the class, so I might use that as an example of how people might get upset.

    And will look into the books/shows. But I have to admit, I can't stand seasame street now, it is all elmo and abby and that wretched fairy school. Maybe I'll have to buy the old school seasame st dvds to watch instead, after all the people are the same!

    Thanks again!!

  14. #18
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    There is a Mem Fox book called "Whoever you Are" that you might find helpful. Talks about kids from all over the world and how whatever they look like and however they live they are all the same when they smile, love, cry etc. Might be an easy way to introduce the concept of skin colour etc.

    I just looked it up on fishpond and saw it for $4.50.

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  16. #19
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    I have a five year old foster daughter who once told my husband and I that she hates black people. We know where she got it from (not us) so we asked her why and she couldn't explain it. "I don't know, I just do" is all she could come up with. We talked about the word hate and she explained to us that it was a 'very strong' word so she knew what she was saying.

    We now regularly explain to her that people are people. We talk to her about the world and different countries. We have taken her to multicultural festivals and we eat foods from around the world. She hasn't mentioned it again and she now proudly introduces me to new friends that she has made at school - most who come from different backgrounds.

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