I went out after work on Wednesday and so didn’t see Dexter until Thursday morning. My eldest son then reported that his little brother had been called a black N**** at school.
I will let that just sink in a little bit.
It took me a while to process what he had just told me. After all, we are talking about nine year old children. And here I was, discussing racism in school.
I don’t live in an inner city. I live in a small Kent town. A town that I was born in and that I have lived in for the last 42 years, and yet here we are, in 2013, where one child can call another child by that term and think nothing of it.
Dexter, bless him, I don’t think realised quite how derogatory that term was, as it was only when he saw the reaction of his older brother that he suddenly thought that it was a whole lot more serious than he first realised.
Of course, I immediately reported this incident to Dexter’s school and, to give them their dues, they rang me back within the hour and I had a long discussion with Dexter’s Heead of Year.
I had initially thought that it was a certain boy that had called Dexter this name and I think perhaps a little leeway had been given because this kid is from a troubled home, by both by myself and the school. However, this boy had already been spoken to you about his language and an assembly was going to be held today to discuss this very subject before I had even called to school.
I have since had a further discussion with Dexter and it transpires that it is another boy entirely. A boy that was considered to be Dexter’s friend. A boy that is supposedly from a ‘normal’ ‘decent’ family.
I will be speaking with the school again today. The headmaster has been informed and all correct procedures are being followed, but that didn’t help me get any sleep last night and I have woken up this morning more angry than ever.
Dexter is the sweetest, funniest boy you could ever wish to meet and to think that at nine years old he has already begun to realise that the colour of his skin differentiates himself from his peers is heartbreaking. To have that difference pointed out by someone else just makes me want to punch something. HARD.
I don’t know whether this other kid picked up the N term from home, a music video, from the media or the playground. All I know is that I am angry. I mean really angry. The colour of someone’s skin has never ever been of any relevance to me whatsoever. Perhaps I’m naive in thinking that we should be living in a world where it is irrelevant. And maybe this kid has just heard the word somewhere else and copied it. Either way it’s a sad day because someone has had the audacity to point out to my sweet nine-year-old son that his skin colour is an issue.
And so it begins.