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General : Columns : Celia Last Updated: 2, Apr 2018 - 10:02

Out of the mouths of babes…
By Celia Anderson
25, May 2002 - 09:48

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My partner mentioned to me the other day that he was quite amused watching two young children play together. One was white and another black. There were no barriers (as we find a lot in adults…).They played together with no thought of colour or race. Their young minds have not yet been affected by the “preconception virus”. And with that, I mean a large “not yet”. I think someone has been raising their children right, don’t you???
Shades of Grey

It made me think of a time in South Africa, when my own daughter (which you have seen in my “Wee one” article) was late coming out of school. While I was waiting outside, watching all the children playing, I was pleased to see how all races played together. They had not split up into groups as everyone had feared once the open school was accepted. Many parents were against black children learning in “white” schools. There had been talk about the other race bringing the level of education down. (Which by the way did happen, but not due to the I.Q. level of the children, but the lack of qualified teachers). There were just too many pupils for the amount of teachers available.

Anyhow, while waiting for Jacqueline to come out, I spotted a mother angrily pulling her “white” child away from a group of playing children.
“You must not play with that girl!” the mother scolded.
“But why not?” asked the confused child.
“She is different.” Explained the mother. (Ha ha… intelligent answer, don’t you think?)
“Yes Ma, you are right. She can draw better than me, but I am sure she doesn’t mind.” Replied the child.

When did we lose that? I ask myself. When did we get this preconception? I will not go into trying to make a list and allocating them to the appropriate races, as I very well know that every person from every walk of life could donate a large supply of “preconceptions”, enough to fill the whole of Castlebar News. Don’t you sometimes wonder how we have those preconceptions about other races? Did we learn them through experiences? Where they drilled into us as children? Do we just generally accept what other people say? I for one lived in South Africa for 25 years, and the only reason why most of the black race were thought of as not as intelligent as the other races, was that they did not have the privilege of our education. Oh yeah, they had schools. So do dog trainers! The other race, which we class as less intelligent, are purely the opposite. They could be, given the opportunity, the ones looking down on us. (Vicious Circle again!!)

I work in an international company and we have about 350 people of different race, nationality and mentality. This is a good example that the world could work well, were it only managed as equal. In this company (which I will not mention unless I get promised a raise…only kidding) I have yet to witness a disagreement on race. Although I have only been with this company for 19 months, it has re-confirmed my belief that it does not matter what country you come from; just who you are is important. Most people in Ireland are on that same wavelength. Ireland is one of the countries where I have seen so much tolerance and friendliness towards others. You get treated with a happy “hiya” and sent of with a cheery “cya”,( which I had mentioned in one of my previous articles), no matter what colour you are. Is the reason why dogs only judge people by who they are, that they can only see shades of grey. Maybe it would be good if people could see only in shades of grey, but we would loose so much of the beauty of the world. Is a rose not a rose, no matter what colour?

Let us, those that suffer from the “virus”, learn from our babes. They sometimes know more than we do.

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