For the most part, children are usually blind to the differences between themselves and other kids, and it’s not until reaching a certain age that their innocence and naivety give way to the biases and prejudices they observe from the society they grow up in.
That’s what makes one caught-on-camera playground incident (which took place this past March in Spain) so disturbing (see below).
- Also see: Playground fights: where do you stand?
In it we see a group of young kids bullying another child: physically refusing him access to the jungle gym, hitting him on the head and hurling racial slurs at the boy.
All while in the presence of the boy’s mother and other parents!
With the exception of one mom who removes her child from the scene, none of the park-goers seem to be bothered.
And sadly, it doesn’t end there.
The bullied boy's mother then proceeds to move her son to an empty part of the park, but the children follow them, continuing with the abusive behaviour until the mother eventually takes her son and leaves the playground, her head held high.
A truly heart-breaking sight, and it makes you think that if kids are acting this way, and adults look the other way, what is the world coming to?
The cellphone footage starts off zoomed out, seemingly taken from the window of an apartment. When it zooms in at around 0:33, you'll see the mother and her little boy in a puffer jacket coming around the right-hand side of the play gym and guiding him up the steps, where he is blocked and bullied by the other kids. At 0:56 the mother appeals to another mother standing by, and she takes quick action to take her boy away. But the rest of the kids continue non-plussed. It's when the bullied mom and son finally leaves the park that we can see the other adults present, who in all certainty would've heard the "You're not white!" insults. Watch:
As alarming as it is to see little children being so blatantly racist, it's the total non-reaction by the bystanders that's really disturbing.
Unlike the usual bullying incident, this took place in full view of the adults – whether these were parents, caretakers, guardians, even passers-by we can't be sure – but why was nothing done?
Some may argue that this was a fight among children, and so adult intervention may not be appropriate but leaving these kids be is just one way that this kind of disgusting behaviour is perpetuated and must not be left unchecked.
Not sure how to get help?
We have a number of organisations around South Africa that could be helpful if you or someone you know is experiencing any form of bullying. This includes:
Has something like this ever happened to you and your child? Tell us by emailing to email@example.com and we could publish your letter. Do let us know if you'd like to stay anonymous.
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