to stop what they were doing and
shout: ęWhat are you doing with a Gollywog?Ľ
Then they started putting rubbish through our letterbox. One
day, I even found a little toy Gollywog, that had been purposely torn and split,
on the doormat. I was so horrified and angry that I insisted the housing
association help us move.
I never resented Stevieís colour though, it just made me
realise earlier than most parents how vulnerable your child can be, and I think
she probably picked up on that.
Things seemed to quieten down for the next few years. I was
relieved because Iíd split up with Stevieís dad and had married an Asian man
Ė and I knew a three-race family could really get the local racists going. I
was proved right. Iíd come back from dropping Stevie at school and the house
was completely ransacked.
The bedroom walls had been covered in graffiti. It said
everything from ęPaid Go HomeĽ to ęWogĽ. Theyíd slashed the mattresses
with a Stanley knife while they were at it. For the first time, my anger about
racism turned to fear. This canít be that common among white people in this
country. Maybe thatís why it totally overwhelmed me.
The Anti-Nazi League were brilliant. I called them and they
went round all the local streets making the necessary enquiries and warnings
that the police did not.
In fact, the police didnít even take photos of inside the
house. Nor did they offer me the services of Victim Support until Iíd
approached a local newspaper about the incident.
I felt that even if youíre connected with non-whites, you
have a good chance of being treated unjustly.
I didnít tell Stevie about any of this. I wanted to protect
her. I probably over-protected her, if Iím honest. I can still remember
painting over and over the bedroom walls so the graffiti was gone by the time
she came home. I was particularly worried because sheíd just started asking
questions about why sheís a different colour to me, and why there was no-one
else her colour at school. I didnít want her to perceive her colour as a bad
Thatís why we moved to London almost immediately. I can
still remember my joy at seeing so many races all living together. Stevieís
confidence changed beyond recognition, and I was able to let her have more of a
childhood. I really believed the racism was behind us.
Soon afterwards, I realised it wasnít. And this time, it
somehow felt worse than ever before because it was Stevie who was on the
receiving end. A boy began calling her racist names at school and got the other
kids to join in.
I couldnít believe the teachers did so little about it.
Iíve learned what this kind of taunting can lead to, and so I felt as
horrified and powerless as I had done when I lived in St Helenís. It brought
us closer together as well though, because we talked about it such a lot.
Iíve always taught Stevie to fight racism. In some ways I
think white mums tend to be better at this because they havenít had a lifetime
of racism,and so they confront it more.
I need to try and let her do it more for herself. But I worry
terribly about her future.
Mum says some racist stuff happened to our family
before we moved here. But I donít remember it. It must have been bad for us to
have to move so far away, so Iím glad I donít. All I remember is feeling ędifferentĽ
because Iíd realised that I wasnít the same colour as everyone else in the
town, not even my mum.
Thatís why I was really happy when we came to London. It
isnít as peaceful, but there are people from all over the world here. Mum and
me never stand out when weíre walking down the street together. It made me
feel like I wasnít so different from her after all. I could see other people
in mixed race families and they seemed to be close.
It also felt good that mum let me do more things on my own.
Mind you, there is some racism in school. One day last year,
it was really bad, and that seemed to make mum worry, just like she had before
Me and my best friend, Jade, were playing in the playground
when this boy told one of the nursery kids to call Jade a horrible name. I
canít remember exactly what it was, and donít really want to, but it was a
nasty word about white people who mix with black people. Then the bigger boy
called me an even nastier racist word. I was really crying, and so we went to
tell the teacher.
The next day, I got an apology letter from the boy. But you
could tell it was only because the teacher had told him to write it. It didnít
even really say sorry and heís still racist. So I still feel angry. Some
children say to me: ęWell, what do you expect?Ľ I donít know, but I think I
deserve more than that. Other kinds of bullying are treated seriously.
In any case, Mum says anger is a good way to feel because
itís like saying: ęYou canít do that to me,Ľ and it makes you try and do
something about it. If youíre just sad and not angry, itís like youíre
accepting it. Thatís exactly why I try not to get frightened or worry about it
happening again either. As my mum says, thatís like letting them win. The best
way is to try and deal with things when they happen. Itís an important part of
my relationship with mum that she tells me things like this.
My mum also says racism should be talked about in schools so
it can be overcome. She says itís no good just pretending it doesnít exist
because it has a very real history which children should be taught about so they
can change it.
I talk a lot about race with my mum these days. I think itís because Iím
older and have more questions, and because she seems to understand a lot more
about it than some black mums who just take their colour for granted. The