Today I feel like I should have done more, I should have spoke out, I’m so disappointed in myself.  There are some things I cannot stand, and abuse and racism are up there right at the top of the list.  So why didn’t say I something, why didn’t I step in.  I can’t believe I didn’t help that family. What must they have they of thought of me?

We decided to visit the farm today.  We realised we hadn’t been since Pudding was born, so over 3 months now.  We started of in the play area, so Princess could eat her pack up, before venturing of to see the animals.  There was a family there, Mum, Dad, and two children enjoying the play area, just minding their own business.  They might of been Spanish, but I couldn’t be sure.  The children were happy playing and the parents were looking on from the picnic table.

We went to see the gardens and the animals, but came back to the park so Pudding could have a feed and Princess could play before heading home.  There were two older girls, say 14, sat on the slide making it difficult for the small children to use the play area.  The play area is designed for little ones, not teenagers.

It became apparent they were blocking the slide so the family could not use it.  It was then obvious they were mocking them, pretending to speak in different languages, being generally rude and intimidating.  Being racist.  The family took as much as they could before they finally felt so intimidated they had to leave.

I said nothing to the girls.  It was on the tip of my tongue, but all those things that go through your head stopped me.  ‘Will they kick off at me?’, ‘What will happen if they do?’.  I needed to feed the baby, and if they could be so cruel to a family with children, what would they make of breastfeeding.  I didn’t feel I could draw attention to myself with a baby in my arms.

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But how did that poor family feel, did they think I was condoning their behaviour.  Did they think no one would stand up for them.  When the family and the girls left, I commented to the other Mum there on how awful the behaviour was, but how difficult it was to do something given the circumstances.  The irony of the situation was one of the teenagers was dual heritage, so I really didn’t get how she could be so rude to this family.

I couldn’t not do anything, so I trundled of, babe in arms, to find a member of staff and reported what we had witnessed.  The girls were known to them and shouldn’t have been on the farm.  They had caused trouble before.  I wish I’d spoken to someone sooner, I wish I’d let the family know it wasn’t OK and that they had my support.  I wish I’d have done more.

I’m in no doubt that the incident ruined their day, going home frustrated and angry, at the behaviour they’d experienced and perhaps feeling that no one cared.  All they wanted was to enjoy one of the last days of summer with their children, like we all do, and were met with racism and intimidation.  The fact that two relatively young girls felt it was OK to behave this way worries me even more, and where they learnt it from just doesn’t bear thinking about.  Today was a stark reminder that there are some very cruel people in the world, and they can start being cruel at a very young age.

There are many people and organisations that are in a position of social responsibility and have a duty to tackle this kind of behaviour.  I very much hope these girls come into contact with them sooner rather than later.

Have you ever witnessed racism?  How did you deal with it?  What would you have done at the farm?

Images courtesy of Freedigitalphotos.net/Digitalart

23 COMMENTS

  1. It’s such a difficult situation, we sadly live in a world where racism is still rife but people daren’t speak out because of the consequences. Like you I often wish I did more, said something. I have a friend who is asian and I wish I had her courage as she speaks out at EVERY opportunity she sees.

  2. I’ve experienced racism a number of times and it sure does stink! I dealt with it in different ways. I suppose overall, this is how i see it: someone who is so busy focusing on me so much that they pick on what is outside of my control surely can’t be making much progress in their live; so, i’m just going to keep moving and making progress whilst they stand there stagnating. I’ve also witnessed it in different degrees. Responding to it in relation to oneself or/and others is challenging and uncomfortable for a range of reasons. Overall, I mainly tackle it in my teaching at work and my conversations with others; and i don’t let it hold me back. I feel pity for racists … if only they know better.

    It’s easy for me to anyone to say they would have challenged the girls at the farm. In those kind of situations, i think it’s best to avoid confrontation; it is essential to protect oneself. However, i suppose one could side with the family by engaging with them and conversing with them to make them feel better. I definitely think you did well to report the incident. Well done.

    Thanks for sharing, it keeps us thinking about our response to injustice.

  3. Really difficult situation. I tend to speak out when I feel something is wrong, but it can be scary to do so, especially if you are with your children. I feel sorry for the family and for you too – v tricky.

  4. Don’t beat yourself up too much. I would have done the same, not because it is right, but you never know what could happen. Really horrible things have happened to people that have tried to speak up for others. This is so far away from being right, but I am all for protecting my own family first x
    You Baby Me Mummy recently posted…My Aqua Baby (Aquababies West)My Profile

  5. A very difficult situation indeed especially when you have young kids in tow. I think I would probably of done the same thing as you but we are all different, I admire these people that so up and say something but I always try and think 6 minutes ahead and what they may of done if you had said something. Dreadful behaviour…….xxxx

  6. It is awful when things like that happen. I’m sure that you did your best at the time and sometimes you do have to look after your own children first. You did do something by informing the staff about the girls, and to be honest, it was the Farm’s fault too – if these girls were known to them and weren’t supposed to be there anyway, then how were they there anyway?
    Helen @ Witty Hoots recently posted…The Hill House – National Trust ScotlandMy Profile

  7. It is so difficult to know what to do when you have children with you that need your attention. I would have done exactly what you did so don’t feel too bad.

  8. I think at this point my daughter who is nine would be telling them to stop before I had even blinked. She does it frequently at the playground. While I would probably base the decision on who was with me and I guess how threatening the other people seemed to me. She sees injustice she calls people out on it. I love it and dislike it, but caution like that comes with experience.
    Chronicallysickmanicmother recently posted…A week long reflection on ten things of thankfulMy Profile

  9. It really is a difficult one, and although I have experienced racism, I always have to make a judgement call on how I deal with it.
    I don’t blame you for not saying anything, as your priority was to protect your baby. If there was someone else there, then maybe both of you could have said something? Cowardly teenage girls are unlikely to go up against a number of parents. It is a shame that it spoilt a family’s day out, but hopefully they went away knowing they are better than the low life they encountered.

  10. So many people have been hurt or killed by sticking up to teens or others. I think a man even was harmed because he spoke up about popcorn being thrown at his girlfriend. I know I am the sort of person who would have spoken up, but with a baby in my arms, I think, like you, I would have held back. Our instinct is to protect our young. Other people’s young come secondary to that so you did the right thing x
    Liska @NewMumOnline recently posted…Get Yourself Off To Aldi for the Baby and Toddler Event BARGAINS – Be a Frugal Thrifty MumMy Profile

  11. I totally get this. It’s difficult to know what to do for the best and teenagers are VERY intimidating at the best of times, especially girls lol (they scare me!!). I would’ve probably given the obligatory stare that shows disgust, that would’ve shown them!!!! Seriously though, in this day and age, I think it’s safer to stay out of things x
    Carolynne @ Mummy Endeavours recently posted…Win Tickets – Octonauts and The Deep Sea Adventure LIVEMy Profile

  12. I watched a video today about bullying and how people just walked on by. I posted it to my facebook and made the comment that I’d like to think I’d step in and help but the reality is, I don’t know if I’d have the courage to do so. It’s the same as the situation you were in, it’s easy to judge people for not doing the ‘right’ thing but until you’re in that situation yourself, you don’t know how hard it is to step up. I don’t know if I would have said anything to them either, especially having a baby with me. Teenagers can be very intimidating. You reported it for which I applaud you xx

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