Sunday, December 07, 2008

Protecting My Child’s Innocence

This is a repost from mrsgooding's blog about her daughter Bea Gooding's personal experience of racism. Let's help this mommy spread the word.

I’ve been living in New Zealand for close to 8 years now. I must say that compared to most Asian migrants, my daughter and I have had it good. Racist remarks have been few and far between over the years. Racial discrimination whether at work or at social occasions have been subtle enough to render themselves obscure. Perhaps having a Kiwi for a Husband made all the difference. Maybe, maybe not. We were immune from the racial jibes. The taunts. Or so I thought.

When silly remarks were made in the past such as ‘Asian b*tch’ or ‘Go home to your country’ , they were mostly ignored by us. I’m an adult. I can handle it. Heck, I even survived the racist remarks made by my Husband’s ex-wife to me when she found out we were getting married — ‘She’s only marrying you to escape the Philippines’. It angered me, yes, that’s true. But I also learnt to dismiss it as rants of a narrow-minded and ignorant individual.

Like I said, these things I managed and learnt to ignore over the years. I’m an adult. I can fight my own battles. I can choose to ignore and dismiss things as I go.

But sometimes, there are things that you can’t ignore. Especially if they are emotionally affecting someone you love more than life itself.

That someone is my only daughter, Bea.

Yesterday, she came home from school hysterical after a very traumatic bus ride. Three teenage boys taunted her and THREW STONES at her INSIDE the school bus while taunting her saying she doesn’t belong here and that she’s a bloody Asian. If she was not in a public place, who knows what extent they’d go to in their desire to be hurtful and destructive. I shudder at the thought.

It took all my herculean effort not to break down while my daughter narrated what happened to her over the phone.

I rage at the thought that this happened while my daughter was on her own without her family to protect her.

I rage at the thought that this is happening to a child who’s done nothing to deserve this treatment.

I rage at the thought that my daughter is being robbed of her childhood, her innocence. She is only 11! My daughter has started questioning her right to be in this country (this is not the first act of racist bullying she’s experienced). She may not be born in New Zealand but she is a New Zealander and has lived here more than half her life! We pay our taxes, we obey the law and we deserve to be treated with respect.

I rage at the thought of doing nothing.

When it affects my daughter’s welfare, I will speak and stand up for her rights.

So today, I make a stand.

I make a stand to STOP. RACISM.

As parents, you may think that silly remarks like ‘Asian b*tch* or ‘Lazy Maoris’ or ‘bloody nigger’ are harmless. But when spoken out loud in front of impressionable children, these can be taken as the ‘norm’. That it’s ok. Those children will grow up to become teenage bullies who will think nothing of what they say. Because they heard and learnt them from YOU.


Protect your children’s innocence.

I will not wait for anything worse to happen to her before I speak up.

I will not wait for her to question her life and the reason for loving and living in this country.

I will not wait for her to tell me ‘Mum, I want to go home.’ Because this is home for us. This is where we are building our family’s memories. New Zealand is the country we are re-planting our roots.

I will not allow for my daughter to consciously start mixing exclusively with her ‘own race’ to protect herself.

I will not wait till it’s too late. I don’t want to feel the anguish of Megan Meier’s parents have gone through with her suicide due to bullying at MySpace.

I want her to grow up knowing that this a better world for her. A world where people accept and respect you for you who you are regardless of the colour of your skin or station in life. A world where my daughter can grow up confident about herself and can stand up for her rights. Knowing that she is loved and that she is worth something.

Spread the word.

I am hopeful that each time my sharing gets read, it will make a positive difference in the way people view others. Remember, it takes one tiny step to make a difference.


Stop it now.

This is a battle worth fighting for. A war worth winning.


Diana - FreeStyleMama said...

Thanks for sharing this! I am heading over to Mrs. Gooding's blog now.

Lyndsay said...

That was full-on...I know how it feels like...been abused by many people many times when I was working overseas and on-board a cruise ship...but faith and courage made me stand through all this.

As they say.."what doesn't kill me, makes me stronger."

lemuel said...

racism is really bad. its one of the reasons why i still have second thoughts in working abroad and bring my family there. hopefully people from other countries outside asia should read this and help put an end to this unfair treatment. everyone must remember that are men and women are created equal regardless of color, race and religion.