Go away Ching Chong Girl…

I have been thinking about racism a lot recently and have been weighing up in my mind what it’s all about.

Admittedly being white and growing up for most of my life in Australia I haven’t had to deal with racism directed at me.

But the other day Lily and I were in our local park. I was sitting talking to my friend Meg while Lily played on the slide.

There were 2 little girls of about 8 or 9 years of age playing on the swings. Lily saw them and ran over asking if she could go on the swing. I told her to just stand and wait till the older girls were finished.

The next thing I know Meg is saying to me “Did you hear what those girls just said to Lily?”

I said “No, what happened?”

 

Then Meg proceeds to tell me that the girls saw Lily coming and said “Go away Ching Chong Girl! Ahh sooo ching chong chheee DO YOU UNDERSTAND ENGLISH CHING CHONG GIRL?”

 

Well I was completely mortified. I just could not believe that the racial cuts I knew would come one day were already here!! For goodness sake Lily is only 2 years old.

We live in a suburb full of many nationalities especially Chinese. The local primary school (that more than likely these 2 girls attend) prides itself on it’s association with a sister school in China and even boasts a Chinese language program through most of it’s classes.

 

Where do 9 year olds get such horrible attitudes from? And worse still was these girls were not what I would call white. They appeared hispanic and yet they were the ones doling out the racism.

 

I sat there for a full 5 minutes looking around the park and wondering how to respond. I looked at all the adults in the park wondering if I should question them to find the parents of these 2 girls and take it up with the parents.

I wondered whether I should approach the girls directly.

Then I looked at Lily. She wasn’t fussed. She did not understand what had just transpired. So I thought the best thing to do would be to let it go.

 

Even though I think it was appalling behaviour and such behaviour should be addressed I did not think that it was in Lily’s best interest to cause a scene.

And now after witnessing this incident I am sadly sure there will be many more opportunities to defend my daughter in the future.

At his blog Eugene Cho comments on this type of behaviour.

It’s a really hard call. How to react. I don’t want Lily growing up thinking her looks or her ethnic roots need defending. She’s Chinese and she should be proud of her Chinese heritage. But on the other hand I don’t want her to feel negative or angry about growing up Asian in Australia because of a bunch of ignorant and stupid racial slurs.

And people need to know that what they may percieve as a bit of a joke about someones ethnicity can be cruel and hurtful.

 

But foremost I am Lily’s mother and if I am honest the first reaction I thought to have was to go over and slap those 2 girls silly and make them apologise to Lily.  I may not be Lily’s biological mother but if you hurt my girl you deal with me!!

 

Albert has been mentioning that we should take Lily along to our Karate class with us… 🙂

 

This comic is by US based artist Wayne Chan

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5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. albyg
    Aug 20, 2008 @ 14:25:52

    Idiots!
    She’s from Chongqing not Ching Chong 🙂
    Fortunately for all concerned, her Daddy wasn’t there to witness the event. It would have been a pity for those two little miscreants to have “accidently” fallen off their swings and landed on their heads!

    Reply

  2. debtdieter
    Aug 21, 2008 @ 13:02:39

    It’s a tough call that one.

    I’m not sure making a big fuss of it if she wasn’t fussed would be the right thing to do.

    I think as ‘white Aussies’ we can sometimes get a bit too precious/PC, and not let kids deal with things (or not) themselves, in their own way.

    You guys both would have copped some teasing about being redheads as kids I dare say? Do you remember how you dealt with that or if it’s had any real long term impact on who you both are? Other than both being delightful human beings of course! 🙂

    The main thing is, Lily’s friends won’t speak to her like that, and neither will her family, and that’s where she’ll learn her identity, and develop her sense of self from.

    Reply

  3. Mum / Nai Nai
    Aug 23, 2008 @ 17:43:08

    Now,now Alb,back in your corner! But seriously your attitude about such things most surely have come from your mum. You know the old lady up north with the broken arm!!
    Now the big question is,”How did she really break her arm?”
    I’m sure there will be many more such taunts during Lily’s childhood, but as previous comment stated,her friends won’t participate in such cruelty.
    Lily is growing up knowing that she is loved by her family and friends,that’s what matters most.

    Reply

  4. Fiona
    Aug 25, 2008 @ 18:45:41

    oh dear! unfortunately rachel, kids are so damn mean… trust me on that one! but you know what? Lily (and you and albert) have such love and support from all of us and it will hurt but you need to put those comments to the side. Dwelling on what ignorant people say because they dont understand will eat away at you!!! easier said I know, but you learn to ignore a lot when your a bit different from everyone 🙂
    I remember when BJ was a little baby – mum had to take her to my school one day and all the kids were having a go as to why my mum had a “black’ baby – I said, thats BJ and she is my cousin. Just like i would say – this is Lily, she is my niece.
    Its hard to believe in this day and age that there are people who do not accept. But on the other hand, you mustnt blame the kids for what they said – they simply learn and mimic their parents/family and friends. SO (im blabbing i know) i think im done now! love you all

    Reply

  5. lactatingbookworm
    Aug 25, 2008 @ 20:59:39

    Can’t believe this still happens.
    There’s a really interesting personal account by a Korean adoptee about growing up Asian in Australia in a book that’s out called Growing up Asian in Australia. It’s in the last chapter somewhere, I think you will find it interesting.

    You probably already know of Emily Prager’s book “Wuhu Diary”.

    Bullying cannot be undermined as character building. I think for a long time the word “racism” was a dirty word in Australia as the politically incorrect was celebrated.

    As someone who has been a victim of racist bullying as a child, I can tell you that it can be very damaging especially when all you want to do is fit in. I don’t know what it’s like for adopted kids, but as someone who grew up thinking I was Australia in multicultural Oz it was very frightening, alienating and confusing being bullied because of my race.

    As a younger kid I just did all I could to fit in and denied my heritage.

    I’m a teacher now and I teach some kids who are not “white” Australians and they go through the same thing. I teach them to embrace who they are and that racist taunts are an example of bullying and bullying of ANY kind is not to be tolerated.

    Reply

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