Letters to the Editor

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RACE: Children learn what they live

Letter by B.D. Anderson, Tacoma on July 26, 2010 at 2:38 pm with 41 Comments »
July 28, 2010 9:06 am

My heart broke for my grandson this weekend. He was introduced to one of the nastiest things in the world: racism.

We were at a park, and he was having the time of his life. He is 5 years old. He doesn’t care what someone’s skin color is, where they were born, etc. In his world, they are just other kids. But that changed Friday when an older child, a girl of about 10, came up and shoved him saying, “What are you doing here white boy?”

I was horrified. He came to me immediately, and she followed, badgering. It was then that it dawned on me that he was the only white kid there of about 30 kids. I DON’T automatically see race in others either; I see people.

We left, and he was very quiet the rest of the night. Finally he asked me what was wrong with him for her to do that. I told him nothing was wrong with him, that she had learned sad things from someone in her life. After he went to sleep, I cried for his loss of innocence.

Children are our future. Let’s teach them bright hope, not the bitter mistakes of the past.

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Leave a comment Comments → 41
  1. I see this all the time unfortunately. The problem is I see it in the parents. It only teaches hate and entitlement issues. All races are guilty at one time or another….People tend to do this because somewhere, some injustice was done to them. But instead of letting that negativity go, they decide to spread it around. So teaching their children to hate that race is like a defense mechanism. I am of mixed races and still, it happened to me and it happens to my children. I try hard to remind my kids, it is that person’s problem, that hate is contagious. Don’t pass it on. I then remind them of the people they know who are good, who happen to be that race. Each individual can choose to do right or wrong….I only pray parents would teach right and wrong. Ignorance is a huge issue but I have hope.
    “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”
    Martin Luther King, Jr.
    We all have this dream.

  2. spotted1 says:

    AMEN!!!

    Sadly, in this enlightened age where we claim that we don’t see color, a 10 year old child was taught that racism was okay by an adult. It doesn’t matter the color in this case, an adult had to teach the child for them to learn.

    Keep teaching your grandson the right thing. Caring adults are needed to teach the right thing for this world to be okay…

  3. Fibonacci says:

    What a sad lesson for a little boy to learn. No one is born racist, it is adults that create the problem. Sadly, now this 10 year old boy will probably have some tsype of negative feeling towards another race, it would be hard not to. I hope the grandfather keeps preaching the same message to this little boy.

  4. Sadly racial prejudice still exists, and frankly will always exist to some degree no doubt. It’s hard to imagine that there won’t always be somebody ready to blame an entire race of people for their suffering.

    It exists from black to white; white to black…and even in societies where pretty much everyone is the same hue, it still exists as seen last year in Kenya when the political race turned into tribal antagonism. I’m afraid it’s part of the brokenness of humankind, and it IS every person’s job to do his/her part to break the cycle whenever and wherever possible.

  5. mbpg, I mean no disrespect but your last line “we all have this dream” is terribly inaccurate. I’m sure you meant that your hope is that we all have this dream, but, alas, prejudice knows no bounds from skin color, to religious orientation, to sexual orientation, to fundamentalist interpretations of words whose meanings have been long lost in the sands of time. The hearts of many humans are very dark and although there are rare and random acts of kindness and courage, it remains that humanity is the most cruel creature to walk this earth.

  6. Being A racist is not entirely A white persons trait,but that is what is usually reported by the media.

  7. Concernedfather says:

    I have never been a racist, but I have driven some really fast cars.

  8. ArchieMoore says:

    Good one Concernedfather!

  9. “mbpg” makes a good comment, and using MLK’s quote is a good reminder.

    Sad that so many live so little of his words. For too many Martin Luther King is only some guy a street gets named after in every city in the country.

    What is sadder still is the fact that all those cities use MLK to rename the streets in the predominately “black” neighborhoods.

    That in and of itself seems to do more to promote separateness and racism than Martin Luther King would want.

    IMHO

  10. Sumner401 says:

    Wow, I wonder which rightwing web site this letter came from?
    It’s a canned, cookie cutter letter if I have ever seen one.
    Of course it has gotten the response desired, a chance for the far right minions to bray their self righteousness and proclaim themselves to be the only salvation the world will ever know.

    The funny part is in trying to make themselves to be non racist, the righties show how deep rooted their racism really is.

  11. angevinemm says:

    I recently worked at a non profit where I was referred to as “white girl” quite often, and not in a friendly way. I was the only caucasian in my department.

    When I took this to HR I was told that it was an observation, not a racial slur. I then asked them if it was appropriate for me to refer to anyone as (insert color) girl. The HR woman had the nerve to tell me that “obviously, that would be offensive and inappropriate behavior for an office”.

    I was floored.

  12. Sumner401 says:

    Standard MO for the righties, lie, attack and lie some more than attack anyone that dares to dis agree or heaven forbid point out the lies.

  13. Welcome to the world. I saw this going on back in the 50’s when the only black kid in our elementary school called me a “cracka”. I responded appropriately calling him a graham cracker, he never bothered me again. Then when I got to high school I saw the prejudice from the black students who would walk around the hallways in large groups bullying any white kid who got in their way. It got so bad, I went home after the 1st week and told my mother I was not going back to that school so I quit school at the age of 16, and finished later in the military. I don’t go to shopping malls for the same reason, there always seems to be a pack of punks strutting around holding their crotch and looking for trouble. So again, welcome to the “new” world.

  14. I said it before. In all the definitions and in all the examples of what racism is, there are none I have found that refer to whites being on the receiving end. The first problem is that racism requires that a minority group or individual be involved as the recipient. Racially tinged comments can be directed at a majority white person, but that is a far cry from what racism is. The situation leads to a false basis for calling the speaker a racist.
    Many members of the extreme conservative right love to label various Black spokespersons as racists when they take exception to white majority positions. Until whites experience minority status and suffer the heavy burdens of Native Americans, African Americans, Asian Americans, Mexican Americans, American Jews, Italian Americans, Arab Americans, and some other immigrant groups and their descendants, their claims are meretricious at best.
    And this was a 10 year old who undoubtedly does not know any of the definitions. What she said was inappropriate and she undoubtedly picked it up from an adult. Kids can be mean without knowing what they are saying. She is not a racist.
    What the little boy went through is a tragedy from which he and his family can, hopefully, have a positive learning experience.

  15. angevinemm says:

    Publico, perhaps you need to read the definition of racism.

    http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/racism

    I don’t see the word minority anywhere in the definition, perhaps Merriam- Webster got it wrong?

    10 year olds do not have the capability to fully understand racism, but adults sure as hell do.

  16. tubbythetuba says:

    That poor child might as well learn early in life that Blacks are going to hold him personally responsible for every bad thing that has happened to Blacks over the years. Minorities were given the green light decades ago to misbehave, because nothing they do is there fault….It’s all the fault of The Man having his boot on the back of there neck….

  17. angevinemm, Aw shucks, you had to go and ruin Publico’s own definition of what racism is, shucks!

  18. “racism requires that a minority group or individual be involved as the recipient. ” Idiocy.

    Living out your life as a victim takes a lot of energy. Some choose to do it, and some have the grace and sense to move on.

  19. For those who might read my last post and think I am suggesting we do not acknowledge the egregious nature of racism, I am not. It stinks no matter who’s practicing it. And it stinks to be on the receiving end of it.

    But, at some point one must decide what his/her identity is in this world. Those who choose “victim” as their primary identity are generally miserable, non-productive and chronically angry — a nasty way to live.

  20. MarksonofDarwin says:

    Originally, I was not going to comment on this letter. However, I can’t get it out of my mind.

    Here’s my take. This little 5 year old boy was badgered by *one* little girl. According to the story, there was an entire group of kids, with the little boy being the only white one there. It’s stomach turning how that little girl reacted….but it seems to me that it was just her. The rest of the group of children got along just fine. And THAT is usually how racism works. The vast majority of blacks do NOT hold this attitude….but there are some….just as there are some whites who are racist.

    My kids are in middle school. It was a very sad day when my bubble of naivety on racism was burst. After my kids were told that “black people don’t spend the night at others homes” and having one of their good friends innocently tell us that white people don’t like him because he’s black (in our very white home), my heart hurt at what might have prompted those statements.

    It came to a head when another friend told my son that they don’t like white people at all….except for him. He was their “white guy”, and wasn’t like all those other whites.

    It was agonizing when I had to tell my son that if someone says they don’t like white people….he needs to be honest about the situation and look at the fact that HE is white, and he should steer clear of anyone like that. No good will ever come from being friends with a bigot….of ANY color.

    I also told him that this friend was just ONE person…and that just like there are some white people who hold irrational hate for blacks, the same is true for ALL people, regardless of color. It’s just best to keep that attitude out of your life altogether.

    Just my $00.02.

  21. The letter writer possibly avoided an incident by removing herself and her son from the park. If she would have stood up to the girl, it is likely that she would have been confronted by a larger group. There’s a time and a place to confront this kind of behavior, being the only white person in the park was not the right time. I would suggest that if she wants to go to that park again, bring a much larger group with her, and maybe even let the cops know in advance. They are taking over the parks ie; gunfights in Sammamish, American Lake in Lakewood, and other places that used to be safe for kids to go alone. Sadly those days are over.

  22. tubbythetuba says:

    Jerks sure ruin it for everybody, don’t they? <|:-(

  23. Sumner 401 has just been nominated to provide everyone the example of night-time park relations monitor. Such wisdom and oratory should not be (clearly) wasted in this format…do we have a 2nd?

    On to the subject: when we were in MS this spring our 4 year old played in the park with all kinds and colors of kids and had a great time, bringing his new playmates and their parents over to meet us. “R” is a negative learned behavior and when kids fall down and scrape their little elbow the blood is always the same (person of) color. Great letter…

  24. lovethemountains says:

    Sumner, you are so funny….in a tragicomedy way.

  25. Novelist3 says:

    Well said, larsman.

  26. redneckbuck says:

    Allegance to a particular political party has obviously done wonders for the African American community, right?

  27. Sumner401 says:

    But, at some point one must decide what his/her identity is in this world. Those who choose “victim” as their primary identity are generally miserable, non-productive and chronically angry

    You’ve just described the ‘right’ in a very accurate way, and you are correct, it is a nasty way to live.

    Just read the miserable angry petty childish response to anyone that dares to not fall in line, and goose step along with the GOP, nasty little people you all are.

  28. Sumner401 says:

    Sumner, you are so funny….in a tragicomedy way.

    But you can’t refute it at all can you?
    Just attack the messenger and like frosty and lars, let your true childish nature come forth….again.

  29. For the majority of us, right left and in-between, life is not about race. Our social lives are not about race. Our work lives are not about race, or our places of worship OR our politics.

    There are hateful bigots in every society. They make the noise; they get all the attention. They do not represent the majority. Parents should tell their kids the truth about this and invite them to be agents of change in the world, one relationship at a time. IMO

  30. Sumner401 says:
    July 28, 2010 at 7:24 am
    But you can’t refute it at all can you?
    Just attack the messenger and like frosty and lars, let your true childish nature come forth….again.

    OK I’ll bite….
    ___________________________________________

    Sumner401 says:
    July 27, 2010 at 7:14 am
    Wow, I wonder which rightwing web site this letter came from?
    It’s a canned, cookie cutter letter if I have ever seen one.

    I’ve Googled and searched the internet without finding any site other than this one which contains this letter. Why don’t you find the rightwing web site in question for us and post the link, so we can see how you’ve finally gotten something correct for once instead of your standard verbal diarrhea.

  31. Sumner401 says:

    More attacks and no substance from the right, typical.

  32. murphtall says:

    hey sumner, whoa, easy there, i grew up in south louisiana and my neighborhood names were used by all the kids – “honkey” and “cracker” – they never called me by my real name. racism exists in all directions. Get a grip.

  33. Sumner401 says:

    Did I say it didn’t?
    You might want to check your own grip before accusing others.

  34. angevinemm says:

    “angevinemm, Aw shucks, you had to go and ruin Publico’s own definition of what racism is, shucks! ”

    Sorry Frosty, someone had to, lol :)

    I am always amazed by people that just make crap up, and I am personally TIRED of people that think any one race cannot experience racism. There is no logic to that.

  35. murphtall says:

    you said it was canned, something something copy pasted from some Gee Ohh Pee website to create controversy….. i provided personal testimony to counter your pipe dream that it was canned, namely that whitish folk like me get called honkey and cracker and occasionally whitey.
    sheesh

  36. Sumner401 says:
    More attacks and no substance from the right, typical.
    _______________________________________________

    Of course it has gotten the response desired, a chance for the far right minions to bray their self righteousness

    Standard MO for the righties, lie, attack and lie some more than attack anyone that dares to dis agree or heaven forbid point out the lies.

    You’ve just described the ‘right’ in a very accurate way, and you are correct, it is a nasty way to live.
    _______________________________________________

    Hypocrite.

  37. Sumner401 says:

    It’s not hypocrisy, look the word up.
    The truth is never hypocritical, but your posts sure are, as well as childish grouse.

  38. Now you’re borrowing lines from me Sumner?…you’re losin’ it. But Grouse IS using the word correctly, for the record. You are a practitioner of the things you say you abhor.

  39. Hate is color blind. Some people of all colors have hate, some are smart enought not to.

  40. are you folks pickin on sumner? are you picking on him because he IS….or are you pickin on him because he is our token little funny man? you kids just play nice now. :D

  41. Lars, I’ll second that nomination for Sumner to be the night time parks relations officer. I believe he has the requisite experience due to his efforts in telling on his neighbors when they don’t cut their grass to his satisfaction. There should be a position as Code enforcement officer open for him.

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