Explaining racism to innocent minds

I’ve struggled to work out a way to discuss racism with the boys this week following the final. It’s really hard to make them understand something when they have no idea people can have such horrible thoughts about another human being. I know it’s vital to talk about to try and change the narrative though.

Their lovely take on the world through innocent eyes isn’t something I massively want to burst just yet. Wilf casually during his game the other week said “but bad guys don’t really exist.” It’s a naivity I know is dangerous to keep forever but equally, it’s not something I want their little minds pondering too hard right now. They have never seen or heard racism and learn about different cultures from a young age at their incredibly nurturing school.

I know it would truly break their hearts to think of their friends at school being bullied for the colour of their skin. Why would that even be a thing? They would question it hard and quite frankly I don’t really have all the answers. I don’t have the right to have all the answers as a white woman living in rural Lincolnshire.

So as we are definitely not born racist, it makes me really sad and uncomfortable to think about the age that shift in mentality kicks in. Often shaped by a parent or guardian’s warped view of the world that goes back generations. Excuses given for it being a different world back then or a cultural difference leading to their hurtful views and comments.

So for now, rightly or wrongly, I’m not going to talk too hard about the poor lads who missed the penalties and why their skin colour was ever mentioned beyond a little explanation. It’s important instead to continue to learn about different countries and cultures, their different and similar ways of living, their religions and their incredible heritage so we can celebrate how diverse and amazing the world actually is. By doing that, I hope they will continue to see the world with its beautiful array of colour and diversity, appreciate we don’t all grow up the same but have a true understanding that every single life matters and we are all human. Then when they are mature enough, we can dig deeper and see if we can play our part in changing the world for the better.

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