Do kids see race?

Barack Obama tweeted recently
‘No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin or his background or his religion……’
I am starting to wonder if, as well as pure ignorance, has political correctness contributed to Racism.
Obama is right, so at what age do you start noticing and worrying about racism?
My ten and eight year old sons were sitting in the back of the car with a friend of theirs who is mixed race.
Amongst the shouting and laughing coming from the back seat, I heard one of my sons say
‘you’re so black…….’
He couldn’t finish because I hit my brakes, pulled over and totally lost my head.  I started going into a rant about how I hadn’t brought him up to say things like that.
Before I could finish his friend stopped me.
‘Kate, we were just roasting each other! I just said to Harri, you’re so white, you must be invisible when its snows’
I laughed! and I was so relieved.
But It made me sit back and think,
Am I creating issues about colour that the kids don’t even see.
My kids aren’t racist, not even slightly, so why did I go so mad when I heard him say that?
Because, to make reference someone’s skin colour in a negative way is racist.  But,  Is it only racist if that person takes offence?
As their mum,  it’s my job to make sure they are brought knowing what is right and wrong.
I remember when Charlie was at nursery, he had the most wonderful teacher, Mrs Patel.  One day she pulled me to one side to say that another teacher had asked Charlie what he wanted to do.  He asked if the ‘chocolate’ lady could read him another story.
I WAS MORTIFIED.  I couldn’t apologise enough.
Mrs Patel hadn’t told me out of disappointment.  She thought it was the most wonderful thing she had ever heard! This little three year old was just describing her as best he could and she was nothing but flattered that he enjoyed her reading to him.
The Political Correctness that has been bashed into me over the years had almost convinced me that my little boy was showing racist traits at three years old!
Right now, my kids see past skin colour, and I’m not going to change that
Back to Obamas Tweet…… cute is George and his fiend Si-si…..

What are your thoughts? X 

9 thoughts on “Do kids see race?

  1. The Cinnamon Mom says:

    I love this! My two-year-old can identify all of the colors of the rainbow, but can’t tell me if something is black, white, brown, or gray and it got me thinking about this very topic (I actually have a post drafted). As a brown mama, I think that it’s beautiful to positively acknowledge different skin colors and make our children aware of what makes people special. But I have no idea when it starts to “matter”. It’s up to conscious parents like you to make our children considerate and appreciative of diversity.

  2. kimberleyf1988 says:

    This is a really thought provoking post. I would have felt and done exactly what you did in the incidents you described.

  3. Lucie says:

    This is fabulous and really makes you think. You’d think in the times we live in that Racism would have been stamped out by now. It’s such an awful thing. Regardless of skin colour we all have beating hearts, we all breathe and we all have feelings. I would have done the same as you in that situation xx

  4. thebabyandtheboardroom says:

    I LOVE this! It’s so thought provoking. Like, in our rush to prevent or discourage our children from being racist, are we in actual fact just drawing attention to the fact that racism exists? At an age where it really doesn’t? It’s definitely something to think about. I have a 14 year old son, he comes home and tells us the racist comments he sometimes hears from kids at school. It breaks my heart but the fact that he knows it is wrong and therefore it is significant for him to mention it is something at least. He goes to a good school with a good ethnic mix but unfortunately I think this sort of thing is pretty unavoidable. Fantastic read, thank you!

  5. Carla says:

    I think political correctness has gone into overload. I do not think it’s racist to point out certain traits as mostly they’re true. At school I’m always hearing kids laughing about how much black people like chicken and not a single black kid gets offended. I do think it has been positive to put dolls of colour into schools though and more multi racial books. From a teacher’s perspective, kids do see colour but not in a negative way- he’s darker than me, he wears glasses etc: it’s how they describe people. Racism is definitely taught. I’ve had parents tell me they don’t want their child playing with the black doll etc. You can see the look of confusion on the child’s face but they just do what their parents tell them. I’ve worked in a multi cultural primary school and they children play beautifully together, but they start to understand they’re never allowed to go to each other’s houses. At senior school, there is a lot of “I’m allowed to be friends with black peoples but I’m not alllowed to go out with them” and vice versa. There are a lot of hidden relationships and I think that’s sad.
    One thing I do know though, is your kids will never be racist!

    • modernmum82 says:

      Oh Carla, thats so sad!
      You would think living in such a multi cultural area that this shouldnt be an issue. The kids have to learn it sonewhere!
      Ill be sure to have this conversation with you over a rum and coke at your mum and dads…..lets put the world to rights! 😙

  6. randommusings29 says:

    I do believe racism is learned. What child decides they hate someone for no reason? With the example in the post, I think this sort of banter is fine between friends who get each other and know there’s no offence meant. Obviously it wouldn’t be a good idea to say to a stranger, but most of the banter between friends would be offensive if said to a total stranger.
    Great post!

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