I Should Have Done More! Faced With Racism

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

Zena Goldman

Zena Goldman is a UK based travel, family & lifestyle blogger who left her 9-5 job behind in the not-for-profit sector to follow her creative dreams and enjoy a more flexible family life. She began writing Zena’s Suitcase in 2011 and shares the holidays and adventures she goes on with (and without) her 2 young daughters. She wishes her son would join them more often but he’s carving out his own dreams now and enjoying university life. Since beginning Zena’s Suitcase she has worked with a number of brands and also has a regular monthly feature in the ASDA Good Living Magazine feature, ‘Ask The Expert’ where she shares helpful parenting tips. In 2018 she was also a finalist in the prestigious BIBs Awards for Social Media.

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23 Discussion to this post

  1. Alice Megan says:

    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. Mo says:

    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. Sarah Ebner says:

    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. Rachel says:

    I get really annoyed with how bigotted some people are x
    Rachel recently posted…Look Fantastic Beauty BoxMy Profile

  5. I’m with you and hate anything like this BUT I also would have said nothing because sometimes, you need to think of yourself too. You had you baby with you and you have no way of knowing how the girls would have reacted had you challenged them. If you were on you own then maybe, but I think you did the right thing.
    [email protected] recently posted…70 Frugal and Fun Autumn Activities to do with the kids….My Profile

  6. 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

  7. Sam thurley says:

    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

  8. Emma says:

    But you didn’t do nothing…you went to find a member of staff which I think with a babe in arms was all you could safely do.
    Emma recently posted…A Close Up Exploration Of The WorldMy Profile

  9. Louise says:

    That is an awful situation and horribly ignorant of those girls. I know I would have been tempted to say something too but haven’t experienced anything like this. I think in the situation though it is best ignored but unpleasant nonetheless.
    Louise recently posted…Sleeping under the Stars (a review)My Profile

  10. Polly says:

    you did the right thing finding a member of staff, these situations are realy hard
    Polly recently posted…Around the home: A peek at our re-decorated kitchenMy Profile

  11. It’s so difficult especially when you have children yourself with you. I’ve reported people before when we’ve been to places but on the street you feel so vulnerable.
    nessjibberjabberuk recently posted…Peace and meditation in the cityMy Profile

  12. 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

  13. Kizzy says:

    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.

  14. Mummy of Two says:

    What a difficult situation to be in. It is hard to stand up to people, even when they are only teenagers, for fear of them turning on you. I honestly can’t say what I would have done in that situation but well done for reporting them.
    Mummy of Two recently posted…A different way of sticking #PlaytimeMy Profile

  15. You were in a very difficult situation. I can quite understand how vulnerable you felt with your children around you. You did the right think reporting the incident to the staff. x
    VaiChin @RamblingThroughParenthood recently posted…Embrace Every Moment with #PowerOfSoftMy Profile

  16. You were absolutely right to find a member of staff. You mustn’t think you did nothing – it sounded like a tricky situation.
    Healthier Mummy recently posted…Super-fast vegetable soup for childrenMy Profile

  17. I think in this day and age, where you just don’t know how someone is going to respond you did the right thing. You have to think of you and your child(ren) first.
    Ashley Mullen recently posted…I Am Inspired – #blogtemberchallengeMy Profile

  18. 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

  19. I have witnessed racism a lot. It’s hard here in Ecuador since it’s such a huge part of the culture and society. And people don’t even understand, or acknowledge, that they are being rasists.
    Joanna Sormunen recently posted…The Queen With The Frozen Heart – To The Enchanted NightMy Profile

  20. Jai @ Kiddy Reviews says:

    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.

  21. 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

  22. 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
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  23. Shell Louise says:

    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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