How do you handle race/ethnic issues?

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-06-2005
How do you handle race/ethnic issues?
8
Fri, 07-16-2010 - 11:10am

I had an issue come up yesterday and I was curious as to how other moms would handle this.

My mom pulled me aside and told me that Lily was playing and out of the blue she said, I don't like Mexicans. They are bad people. Their food is nasty, they smell and they are lazy. My jaw hit the floor and I was flabbergasted. My mom told me that she told Lily that none of those things were true and then asked her if she liked her cousins and if she liked the girls that live across the street from my parents, and Mr. G from mommy's work. Lily said yes and my mom explained that her cousin's dad is Mexican so they are part Mexican and the girls across the street are from Mexico and so is Mr. G at mommy's work. Lily replied oh, well I like them, they are sweet and fun. My mom then said so you can see how the things you said aren't true and how they could hurt someone for you to say that. That you wouldn't want someone to say that about your cousin or his dad would you? Lily replied no and went back to playing.

I teared up when my mom was telling me this. I am totally clueless as to where she got this from and it breaks my heart that at 4 she is getting this from somewhere. It certainly isn't from family. My family is very multicultural and we'd have to hate ourselves if we were racist, LOL! I know she was parroting something she heard somewhere else because the words don't sound like her they sound like something she heard someone else say.

So anyway, do you think my mom's handling of it was enough or should I say something else? I am clueless as how to handle this. I don't want to make a huge deal of it but I don't want her to think that type of thinking is okay or that what she heard is right. How would you handle this and how do you teach your kids that these types of stereotypes and racist statements aren't true?


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iVillage Member
Registered: 07-31-2005
Fri, 07-16-2010 - 11:33am

Wow, that is a tough one.

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-16-2005
Fri, 07-16-2010 - 2:25pm

RJ hasn't said anything bad about anyone, thankfully, but is always full of questions and I always worry about a public 'out of the mouths of babes'.


iVillage Member
Registered: 05-24-2003
Sat, 07-17-2010 - 12:33am
Just curious with the food comment - do you ever have Mexican food - tacos, nachos, chips & salsa or queso? Just wondering if she's tried it before and doesn't realize also that's what is considered Mexican food.
iVillage Member
Registered: 05-06-2005
Sat, 07-17-2010 - 5:31pm

Thanks Colleen. :) I'm sure you found it embarrassing but that is too funny about Blake asking your MIL if she were pg. :D We do talk about how God makes people in all shapes and sizes so I think I will continue to reinforce that. I am so petrified now that Lily will say this again in front of my cousin and her husband & children or in front of Larry's cousin and her husband and children since they are Hispanic. Can you imagine what they would think?! I hope they would know us well enough to know we didn't teach her that but gosh I know I would be pretty upset about it if I were in their shoes.

We've been through the commenting on other people's appearance thing too. It can be very embarrassing. There is a teenage girl in our town whose face was severely burned when she was toddler. They've done reconstructive surgery and stuff but her entire face is scared and melted looking. We saw her at a local fair when Lily was around three and Lily walked right up to her and innocently asked, What happened to your face? I wanted to crawl under a rock but the girl was so gracious and explained to Lily what had happened and even told her that this is why fire is so dangerous and you shouldn't ever play with it. I was so grateful and amazed she handled it so well. I apologized and she told me not to worry about it. That if she was a little kid she'd be curious too. What an angel huh?

One of my coworkers is a grandmother. She told me that her daughter was having trouble with her granddaughter just blurting out things about people's appearance. So they started practicing different scenarios and how you should think about what you say before you say it and that it should be something nice. One of the scenarios was you see a woman who has a very large bust what do you say. Her granddaughter replied, I should say you have very nice breasts, LOL!


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iVillage Member
Registered: 09-27-2006
Sat, 07-17-2010 - 11:46pm

Guess its kind of similar. We live in a community with apartments at the end where people with physical disabilities live. One man lost his legs in a train track accident. Ive known him since I was a kid. he used to come around and play basket ball with us however Em had never seen him before. Until he rolled by in his chair one day at walmart. Emma Stopped, swung around, pointed right at him sitting beside her and let out a huge gasp and yelled mommy look!!!. I was soo embarrassed. I grabbed her by the hand muttered that was rude and walked out of the store with her. Once I'd had a minute to gather myself I explained to her that some people look different and it's rude to point or make comments about how they are different because it can make them feel bad or embarass them and that it was ok if afterward she wanted to ask me questions just not infront of the person.


I think I would bring it up just to let her know that if she hears things like that again or wants to know about somebody who is different she can ask you or DH quietly in private later that way you can give her correct information instead.


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iVillage Member
Registered: 05-06-2005
Mon, 07-19-2010 - 6:08pm
That is cute about the not using sunscreen. :) Thanks for your input. I think you are right about it being an ongoing thing. We were in Walmart yesterday and she saw a very tall young lady and said as loud as she could Wow, she is tall! I said yes, remember God makes people in all shapes and sizes. We are all different and it is good we are. Also remember it isn't nice to point out differences because you might hurt someone's feelings. So said oh yeah, I know that mom I just forgot, LOL!


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Registered: 05-06-2005
Mon, 07-19-2010 - 6:25pm

Rita - yes we do have Mexican food quite often and Lily has talked about how if Dora or Handy Manny were real they would eat Mexican food, and if Kai-Lan were real she'd eat Asian food, etc. I fix fajitas, tacos, burritos or enchiladas once a week. Gotta have my Mexican fix, LOL! This is another reason why I feel like she was parroting something she heard someone else say because she does like Mexican food as long as it isn't too spicy.

There is an area of my town everyone calls Little Mexico. There is a restaurant there that makes awesome food and every couple of months Larry will go get burritos or tacos from there. Lily likes to go with him because the daughter of one of the employees is the same age and Lily likes to play with her while they wait. This time the little girl wasn't there so Lily was waiting with Larry. He noticed she was looking around and then she said, Daddy, I think you and I are the only people in here who don't speak Spanish! Of course she said it really loud. He said everyone started laughing and found it pretty funny thankfully. :)


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iVillage Member
Registered: 05-25-2006
Tue, 07-20-2010 - 4:13pm

That is so strange. I hate to say it, but she must have heard it somewhere, whether it was on TV, overheard out in public, etc.

You're doing all the right things with her, I'm sure it was isolated.

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