Parents, our children learn so much from us. Not just from what we teach them, but from our own attitudes and how we move through the world around us. Our children are constantly watching us and picking up on our dialogues. That old saying – do as I say and not as I do – that doesn’t work with our children so we need to be constantly mindful of what we’re saying and how we portray ourselves to our children because they are learning from us all the time, even when we don’t want them to, even when we think they’re not.
On Saturday we went to Tres Jolie for lunch and to say that I was upset is an understatement. I’ve been grinding my teeth and obsessing over something I witnessed there and all I kept coming back to is that children are not born racist, that is a learned behavior and the horrid behavior I witnessed on Saturday was not because the children involved are horrid but because they have been taught a behavior that is horrid. Despicable!
Ava was having a ride on the mini carousel and I was keeping an eye on her by sitting in the section where all the rides and carousels are. They have giant tractor tyres scattered around this area to use as impromptu seating. On the tyre next to where I was sitting was a large group of children and at first I thought they were all just chatting but on closer inspection, I realized something else entirely was happening. There were two little coloured girls, no older than 8 or 9 years old sitting on the tyre, surrounded by a group of white children, who ranged in age from 4 to about 10 years old. At first I thought I was imagining it but there was a serious little gang up bullying going on and I was SO disappointed that the bullying was feeding into every stereotype we’ve all ever heard. The white children were Afrikaans and they were telling the two little coloured girls, in Afrikaans, that they are stupid because they are coloured and that they should get off the tyre and go away because they don’t belong there. I really couldn’t believe my ears and was sure my hearing must be playing tricks on me. But when the group of children started getting physically abusive with the girls, kicking them, hitting them and even scratching, punching and pinching them, I intervened.
It’s kind of hard to shit someone out when you’re doing it in your second language but I told those little shits off, I told them how disgusting their behavior was, how ugly they were being and that if they didn’t go away and get away from those little girls immediately I was going to beat their backsides and that they should go and call their parents NOW because I wanted a word with them. Of course, they didn’t call their parents, but they did all scamper off super-fast, all the while the two little coloured girls just sat there with big tears brimming in their eyes.
I looked for the parents so that I could tell them what had happened, I wanted to find them and take my two brown children with me, I was that angry, but I couldn’t find them. I wanted to tell them what horrible behavior I had witnessed from their children. I wanted to tell them that I know first-hand that children learn that behavior and usually from their parents. I wanted to tell them how revolting bullying it. I wanted to tell them that their horrible little children should be punished.
Mostly I wanted to hug those little girls and apologize to them. It hurt me. In a few years, that could me my two daughters, sitting there being told they’re stupid because they’re brown, being hit, kicked, scratched and punched.
I am so sad. I am so hurt by that behavior. But mostly I am so angry with those parents for what they’re teaching their children.
Ava witnessed the behavior, she wanted to know why…