Hi, my name is Janet. I am spelling impaired, have issues with my untamed hair, and I simply cannot sing. How are you?
My daughter and I recently spent a long weekend together in Edinburgh. It was fascinating to walk through such immense culture and centuries of history. Amongst all the many achievements of the great Scottish history, it is also a country that fought many a battle, having to defend themselves against siege and hate.
While we walked through this stunning city, my daughter and I had time to chat. We spoke about life in London, her school and her friends. She told me about a new girl in her class whom she loves to play with. When I suggested that we have her new friend over for a play date, I was surprised by my daughter’s reluctance..….
‘She is not allowed a play date with me mommy’ said my daughter.
‘What do you mean darling? Why?’ I asked.
My daughter looks me in the eye, very matter of factly and said ‘ Because we are Jewish’.
This has disturbed me on so many levels.
Firstly that such racist remark came out of an 8 year old girl in primary school. I am quite certain that her friend was not sharing her own thoughts, but the views of her parents, which were spoken so openly to their child. But this is ultimately how it begins, children are taught to hate from their parents.
Secondly, I had intentionally put my child into a school that was completely secular, without religion. I did this because it is so important to me that my child learns to appreciate all types of people, regardless of their religious beliefs. I am of the opinion that religion is a very personal matter and it is not meant to get in the way of learning and friendships. Yet here we are being bitten by my own decision.
Thirdly, perhaps this one openly ignorant family spoke their feelings too loudly, and their child mistakenly repeated the words at school. My question is: how many others are actually thinking it? Half of the girls in my daughters class are Muslim. We are the only Jewish family.
I find this entire experience so sad. I would like to somehow use it to teach my child about the results of racism and anti-Semitism. Many millions have died because of such deluded views and inbred hatred.
So, I put the question to you:
- Do I react with compassion and tolerance, accepting the situation as a one off, and aside from speaking to the head master (which I have already done), let it go?
- Or do I kick-off, insist on stern action, and possibly remove my child from the school?
Thank you for reading,