May 27, 2012

Racism and playdates?

Just read a horrifying account of racism and playdates on a blog I follow.

Made me think back about how nervous I was when it came to calling a parent for Number One's first playdate.

How formal should I be? What time would be good to call? I think I alternated between stuttering and speaking too fast throughout that conversation.

Turns out that the mom I called is one of the friendliest moms around, and our conversation was punctuated with, "Of course!" and "He'd love to." I could have cried with relief. The many other playdates since with other kids have all gone without a hitch.

So have we met with racism here? Before we moved here, we were given fair warning by Malaysian friends - we heard of being bullied during university days here, looked down upon by Australians in the course of work, and abused on the street while on holiday here.

We've not so far, experienced any outright racism. I've met some of the friendliest and warmest people I've ever met, and I've also met people who won't give me the time of the day and freeze up into an icicle.

I tell myself that that would be true of any place.

But some places are better than others. Location and community count so much. I'm really happy with the suburb we picked, and really proud of the school that my kids go to and the church community we belong to. After Number One started soccer and basketball, and I took part in some other things in other suburbs, I moved out a bit wider than my comfort zone. Then I realised how lucky we are to be where we are.

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