My six year old grandson was spending the night with me. I was asking him how school was, about his friends, about his spelling tests. Amongst all that he was telling me, he told me about one little boy who called him a “xxxxxx’ xxxxxx” on the playground. My grandson used the first letters of each word, not the words, to tell me. But I knew what he meant.
I was horrified. Another six year old child using that language in kindergarten. I know language happens. Kids can pick it up from anywhere and everywhere. I’m not surprised by that. I am, however, bothered by what happened. It was these two words in particular, in kindergarten and in this context that bothers me.
My grandson is white.
The other child was not.
The above two facts should not matter. But to this story, they do.
I told my grandson I was sorry he had to deal with this. Later I spoke with my daughter, his mother. Of course they had followed up on this. Though the language he used was completely inappropriate, it was discovered that the child who used that language was saying to my grandson “you’re my xxxxxx’ xxxxxx” in a friendship kind of way, not in a derogatory way. I was still terribly bothered and worried.
How many problems do you see with this?
My grandson now thinks, because of his peers, that this language and name calling is acceptable. Of course his parents are telling him and teaching him it is not. But his little and expanding world is telling him something completely different.
We wonder why this never ends.
We can teach and model and do our best.
But ‘we’ are not the only teachers in our children’s world.
The little boy who used this language, in the way he did, has obviously heard this in some way from somewhere. And he is repeating it. I suspect my grandson is confused. Like I am.
What is going to happen if there is a first time my grandson uses that term while speaking to other people, as a friend. Or in any form. The first time he says to a child of another race “you’re my xxxxxx’ xxxxxx”.
Who is going to be angry?
And who will they be angry with?
The very words that anyone would not want to be called, are being used by people who would not want to be called that. How has such a derogatory term become acceptable for anyone to use as a handle for friendship? How do you explain such a contradiction to a child. I don’t understand the contradiction of it.
My grandson is innocent. The six year old child who used this term is innocent.