Amelia has been going to gymnastics for the past month and has been getting on amazingly! Shes always been extreamly outgoing and isn’t ever scared by anyone or anything.
One day this really cute little girl came toddling around the corner grinning and waving at Amelia. Normally, Amelia would have started running around being super cheeky and slightly distant as she’s never really clicked with children her own age. Instead, she came running over to me, hid behind me and said ‘scared’ whilst peeping out looking at her from behind me.
The little girl’s family smiled and said ‘aw she’s shy’ half to the little girl, half to me. But I knew this definitely wasn’t the case. Shy was never a word I would use to describe Amelia!
In that instance I knew it was because this little girl wasn’t white, wasn’t what she – my 19 month old baby – was used to.
This doesn’t come at all from us, her family, her home life. We aren’t some kind of awful racists teaching our children to be racist and unkind to others. It’s just purely because she has never seen a black girl, let alone someone her own age (and as I’ve mentioned before she really doesn’t interact with anybody her own age anyway).
It doesn’t worry me at all as I know she is just a baby and it’s a learning curve for her but it did make me think. Mainly about all of these meme type things all over Facebook. Have you seen the one of the baby holding the black mans hand over the ignorant parents shoulder? Captioned something along the lines of ‘we aren’t born racist, we grow up like it’ or similar?
Well I know that Amelia isn’t racist at all – how can she be?! She’s only 19 months! – she’s just curious and quite possibly fairly confused.
I felt pretty embarrassed at the time, rather stupidly since nobody else had any clue why she was hiding or acting that way. I was just really surprised by how she was acting and worried about anybody taking unecessary offence to my little monster.
I guess that’s just children and I’m sure we will go through plenty of awkward and embarrassing times as both Amelia and Max get older and see things and people for the first time.
Have your children ever acted differently towards a child of a different colour or disability?