Last week J's grade 2 year (6 classes) spent the morning at a working farm that has a small part set aside for guided tours. You get to touch farm animals too! He enjoyed it immensely. Later on in the week, a friend asked if J had also complained about "those blacks". I said no, what was going on? She then told me that there had been a group of kids from another, black, school there and that a few of them had attacked a few of our, predominantly white, kids, stolen money, scratched in bags and just generally behaved like a bunch of savages, you know, like only blacks can (insert eyeroll from her here). Her child was one of the kids attacked and choked from behind by a black boy, she said.
I was quite shocked because surely the teachers would have intervened, I asked. No she said, they were nowhere to be seen and the kids had to fend for themselves.
Did any one of the parents ask the teachers what really happened? No she said, there was no point, it was obvious that they did not have the best interests of the children at heart and she had an appointment to see the headmaster anyway to lay a complaint and to insist that the other school be held accountable. After that the conversation became a rant on her part about how black people are the scourge of the earth. I must admit, at one point all I heard was blah blah blah blahblahblah blahblah....until she left and I had time to think about it and to question J.
J told me that he didn't know about any physical fighting but that he saw one boy try and grab a sweet out of another's hand. He couldn't remember the colour of their skins.
Today, for the first time since last week, I saw his teacher long enough to ask what had happened. I though, let me find out from someone who was there and saw firsthand what had gone on.
It turns out that one of our schoolchildren verbally pestered one of the other children in the other school group. The guides had taken our children around the farm and then left them in the care of the teachers to eat their lunch before climbing back onto the buses. A handful of children didn't listen though and sneaked out to a small play area and started pestering the black children whose turn it was to play in the play area. And as it happens in any schoolground around the world, the kids involved got to fighting and the teachers from both schools jumped in to stop it.
So, our kids were the culprits. To further complicate things, she said that some of the parents had taken the matter up with the Parent Control Board instead of going to the headmaster or even the teachers to find out what had happened. That these same parents demanded action and even wanted to get a protest march together to force our school headmaster to do something about the children from the black school. That they also wished for the teachers to be disciplined in some way.
Which brings me to the point of this post. Racism is so ingrained in many households here that the future of our country's minds are being poisoned from the cradle. They are being taught to hate black people for no reason other than skin colour. White children here are taught that blacks are less than human, that they have no worth. And when it comes to incidents like these, it's better to lie to your parents than tell them the truth. Because white people don't lie.
Which makes me think that my friend's child may have lied to her mother just to be part of the group.
I hope that in this environment I can raise J&C to be better than that, to not see colour at all except as a novelty. That any prejudices I might have do not rub off on them about anything and anyone. That they have their own minds when it comes to the colour of someone's skin and that they judge a person on their actions and not by racial makeup.