A couple of weeks ago, when we were out as a family something happened that I fear has changed my children's view of the world forever and as this chain of events unfolds I become more shocked and sickened by the attitudes of the people around us who have been masquerading as our friends.
It started out as a regular Sunday but as soon as we arrived at the boot sale my husband was being trailed by a gang of teenagers who were hurling racial abuse and insults at him. Being Chinese, this is something that he has had to deal with since he was a child. He is 'expected' to take it on the chin, rise above it, laugh it off. For him, this is a fact of life.
In the car on the way home came shock number two as six year old FunnyGirl said....
"Mummy, I've just realised that when my friends at school sing those horrible songs about me being Chinese and pull their eyes, that they are being really mean to me - just like those boys were being to daddy - and I don't like it."
It transpires that the main culprits are two of her 'best' friends and as I would class their mums as my good friends I saw no issue in speaking to them about it.
Mum 1. Perfect response. We spoke about it, she spoke to her daughter. She explained to her that things you say can be hurtful to people, even if you aren't trying to be mean and she asked me to let her know straight away if it happened again.
She handled the situation respectfully.
Mum 2. Took what I said to her as a personal attack - which was far from the truth. I explained that I didn't want my children to be ashamed of their Chinese heritage.
"But they are beautiful, stunning children - why would they be?" she replied.
Beauty it seems is only skin deep as I was then told that it is perhaps a good thing that they get used to this now...... if they are going to have to deal with it for the rest of their lives.
Children are not born racists. They take on the attitudes and views of the people close to them who mold and shape them. And it was at that moment that I realised how little you actually know the people you call friends.
For the first time, I have questioned if having mixed race children was a selfish decision and that makes me really angry with myself. Our family was created out of love and race or colour was never once mentioned yet it seems that my beautiful children will be defined by it forever.
I know that the six year old girls involved didn't say those things in the same deliberate manner as the teenage boys but it all starts somewhere.
"We can't change the world.." the mum said.
Tell that to Nelson Mandella.
After reading all of the comments to this post I would like to thank every one of you for your support. I needed it today. FACT.
I have an appointment with the teachers at school in the morning - and I will update you to their reaction..... because did you know??? Our school has a zero tolerance to bullying policy.
In addition to this please read this amazing, sad, angry, thought provoking post from my husband.