We had been to a park near our house. The sun had gone down and there were just a few kids still playing on the tarzan type swing. There are four such swings and the one next to the one where my daughter was playing was used by a group of children. A few guys came into the area and stood next to that swing. Immediately a small girl (hardly 7) looked at one guy and shouted 'Bangladeshi, Bangladeshi, go away!!' and started throwing sand at them. The other kids cheered on. I was shocked beyond speech. The Bangladeshi guys just smiled and stood there. I thought of going over and giving the kids a piece of my mind, when I noted that their parents were also standing near by and smiling. What has happened to us? Is this what we want our children to learn? Not even a single reprimand from the parents and no apology to the guys.
This reminded me of something that happened in my daughter's school. She was in her nursery and learning her ABCs. They were associating the letters to words and had been taught about B as in Brown Bear. My daughter doesn't normally tell us about her daily activities in school. We just gather stuff as she speaks. So, once when I was feeding her, she suddenly asked me, "Mummy, am I brown?". She is fair (in the Indian sense) and I thought she was asking based on the snow white story. So I told her that she was fair. Immediately she tells me, "Mummy, fair means white. Only foreigners and Chinese can be white. All Indians are brown." I was pretty shocked. Didn't expect this from a 3 year old. I asked her where she had got this info and she just told that it was from school. On checking with her teacher later, I came to know that it was the from the other children in her class. Who would teach such things to small children? Are we introducing racial discrimination at such tender ages?