How is it that some children grow up to be racist?

When do the children begin to start seeing race? (Adobe Images)

When do the children begin to start seeing race? (Adobe Images)

I ran across something interesting on Facebook and it had a lot of truth in it.

It said something like, "Racism is not something we are born with, but something we are taught." It had a photo of an African-American child and a Caucasian child hugging each other.

It reminded me of a moment I shared with my great-granddaughter recently. She was introducing me to a couple of dolls she was playing with.

"This one is LuLu and this one is Olivia,” she said.

It happened that one doll was obviously representing a black child, and the other was white. When she asked me which one I wanted to play with, I asked her, "What is the difference in the dolls?"

She stared at them for a moment, and then said, "Nothing, Gi-Gi, they are both the same. One just has longer hair."

I held both dolls for a few seconds, and asked, "Are you sure, you don't see anything else that is different?"

“No,” she said.

In that moment I realized she truly did not see any difference. They were just both dolls. I was a bit taken back and truly happy at the same time.

How wonderful that she saw no difference in the color of the dolls. Surely she knows that not everything IS the same color, and at nearly 5 years old, she will often ask for the "pink one, or the blue one,” but apparently it did not apply to dolls and people. I had to wonder if other 5-year-olds feel the same.

At what point do some children see that we are not all the same color? Does it even matter to them?

On a recent trip to her doctor in Phoenix she was in the company of several other children while in the waiting room. There was a Hispanic family who did not speak English well. She immediately began to play with the children and no words were exchanged between them. They just played together.

So how is it that so many children grow up to be racist? Does it come from their peers? Does it come from those who raise them? Can you even imagine what a world we would have if EVERYONE had a non-color issue? Would we become more tolerant of everyone?

I like to think that my great-granddaughter will grow up to be accepting of all people who are kind. We have so much to learn from the younger generation. Perhaps it is true that racism is taught to some, and they just accept the teachings of those in charge. When kids are cruel to one another, we don't always know why or where that comes from. With bullying and such, it makes me wonder why they have a need to hurt other kids.

Everyone just wants to fit in and be accepted. I think that feeling remains within us for our whole lives. It is so easy to say, "I don't care what other people think." But most of the time, I think we do care.

Who does not remember being bullied at school at least once in our lives? Maybe you wore glasses, maybe you did not have very nice clothes, maybe you were bigger than most of the other kids or whatever may have kept you from "fitting in" as you would have liked.

It leaves me wondering if kids have just become meaner, or is it that their negative behavior has now become acceptable?

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