Racisim - How do I protect my daughter?
As a result of this, her daughters self confidence has plummeted to zero, she cries herself to sleep every night and is now questioning if she is a bad person because she is brown skinned. She is only nine years old. How do you explain discrimination to a nine year old child who has never encountered anything as ugly as the situation she finds herself in? I realised that up until Saturday I lived in a bubble when it came to racism. That has now been burst and a whole can of worms has been opened up for me.
I am mixed race, as my friends daughter is, and I took a lot from my mother in terms of physical appearance (just as my friends daughter has from her) which means that a lot of the time I have to pick peoples jaws off the floor when I tell them I am Nigerian. But NEVER, NEVER did I ever experience any sort of racism in Nigeria because of the colour of my skin. Apart from the usual calls of Oyinbo, Bature or Aniocha (hope I spelt this right) mostly from traders (and never said with any trace of malice or discrimination) I have never given my skin colouration a second thought.
The first time I ever had to confront my ethnicity was when I first came to the UK and was applying for jobs. In addition to the application form, an Equal Opportunity form was always included. The first problem I had with them was that I didn't fit into any of the categories (things have changed now as the categories have been broadened to include White and Black African) and so I made one up for myself - EuroNigerian and I have used that ever since. The other thing I just could not wrap my head around was the need for a potential employer to know my race. I don't buy the equal opps thing; I should be hired because of my qualifications, experience and intelligence, not to fit some national quota. Or am I being ignorant here?
Since Saturday I have been racked by irrational fear and panic. I fear for my daughters future should my husband and I decide to remain here till the end of our days. I cannot stand the thought of her being bullied, made to feel ashamed of who she is or being disadvantaged in some way because of the colour of her skin. Since I never faced these issues growing up in Nigeria, I feel guilty over the fact that I may be placing her in the very situation that I want to protect her from. I want her to grow up to be proud of who she is, to be strong enough to fight back when she is faced with racism, to achieve her maximum potential without the obstacle of discrimination. Do I take her back to Nigeria/Africa to become a grounded person and then bring her back here? Do I put her in public or private school? My thoughts are just all over the place made moreso by this irrational panic that I am feeling. It would break my heart if she came home one day and tried to wash her colour off or be in tears every night because she is being called a jungle girl. I am very afraid for my daughter.