Everyday Racism blog post

Everyday Racism: A Tale from my Primary School Days

It seems as though my Primary School days were only yesterday. Though it was almost two decades ago, some of the trials and tribulations of my formative years still remain fresh in the memory.

In many ways, I had been too young to know any better with regard to treating others with the same respect and dignity I’d felt deserving of. In other ways, however, picking up on right and wrong felt a lot easier.

I was fortunate enough to have attended an ethnically diverse Primary School. On first encountering my non-white classmates, I had barely questioned the fact that some had different skin colours to me. As far as I was concerned, it was part of life. I had filed skin colour along with hair colour, height and eye colour as things that just happened to be different between people.

I was around eight when I met one of my best friends in Primary School. He had recently moved to the country from Zambia, and honestly my first thoughts on meeting him were natural curiosity, as you might expect when young children meet somebody from another country. I’d asked a lot of questions about Zambia, as I’d developed a keen interest in geography. We quickly became very good friends, even playing football on my street on occasion given that he lived nearby.

On one occasion, I’d decided to bring another friend into the equation to play some street football. We were having a good time, but I could sense a little bit of tension between the two friends for a reason that was unclear to me at the time.

What was meant to be a friendly game of football quickly turned sour when the other friend began to taunt my Zambian friend, calling him a racial slur. I was horrified. I didn’t know what to do. Even though my friend from Zambia hadn’t heard the slur, I still felt dumbstruck. I wanted to say something, but I didn’t know what.

Though this is just one story from my own personal experience almost two decades ago, one can only imagine how many of these stories we encounter in our day-to-day lives that we don’t even hear about. Until now even, this has always been one of those stories.

Education is vital in addressing the racial disparities that exist in our society, but how we make efforts to be more than simply ‘not racist’ is just as important. We need to be anti-racist, calling it out where we see it. Children will inevitably pick up cues in the home as to what’s acceptable and what isn’t acceptable. Reinforcing the notion that racism in any form is unacceptable should be the bare minimum.

In an age where the notion that Black Lives Matter is even contentious for some, we must do better. We must break down barriers for our children so that wrong and right are considerably more obvious. We have the power to do just that, not only in educating our children, but in setting examples to others.

In essence, this is what the 1decision Rainbow Drops are all about; breaking down barriers and creating a society where inclusivity is normalised and encouraged. Take for instance our story, ‘Yellow Wants to Play with Orange’, which encourages play with children of different backgrounds. Ensuring children are encouraged to be inclusive and discouraged from discrimination against others is crucial in the fight against racism.

To learn more on how our Rainbow Drops are breaking down barriers of race, gender, disability and numerous other forms of discrimination, you can visit our homepage to access one of our free trials.

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