Today, Conleigh told me that someone hurt her feelings at school yesterday. At first glance, I think there are a lot of white moms who are parenting black children who probably would have been burning in their souls over the hurt. Here's the situation: another little girl told Conleigh she couldn't play a certain game because only peach girls could play. At the surface, it sounds a lot like racism. And my Mama ears certainly perked up when I heard that skin color was involved.
As we talked, I worked with Conleigh on responses for when people say things like that. Responses like "That hurts my feelings. Stop.", "Brown girls can do anything peach girls can do.", "That's not true." and "Why do you say that?" We also talked about when to walk away and when to tell a teacher. Sometimes it's not worth wasting your words on a mean person. When telling a teacher, you should try to use your words to resolve the problem but if you can't, tell the teacher as it's happening and be sure to mention that peach and brown were involved. In this case, perhaps the best response is actually asking the little girl in question to look at her own skin color. She's Hispanic and is more beige than peach. (Conleigh thought that was quite funny.)
All of that still leaves the looming questions: does the preschool have a rampant racist and what will I do about it? After hearing more, I think what is more likely at play is a little girl who often treats others with meanness choosing to continue that meanness by pointing out something that she thinks makes Conleigh different. (Based on previous comments made by both of my children regarding this little one and the things she says.) Perhaps I am naive but I don't think this little girl's family carries on at home, making disparging marks about black people. Instead, I tend to believe that this little girl has probably witnessed cattiness of the female variety and perhaps has witnessed someone making comments about others who are different. So the reality is, I'm not doing anything other than teaching Conleigh to do her best to deal with it on her own. Mean people are a part of life and the best thing I can do for Conleigh is to give her the tools to deal with it. If it happens again, then perhaps we will take a different approach. But as a one time display of meanness and little girl "blechiness", we'll leave it at that.