Can Children Be Racist? When Your Four-Year-Old Niece Calls You Brown and Dirty

Social Commentary

Can Children Be Racist? When Your Four-Year-Old Niece Calls You Brown and Dirty

Illustration: Arati Gujar

R

ecently, at a family gathering, my four-year-old niece suddenly pushed my father away when he hugged her and said, “Don’t touch me, you are brown and dirty. I don’t like brown.” The bomb she dropped was met with absolute horror, writ large on the faces of everyone in attendance.

Imagine a room full of loud, festive Indians falling completely quiet. It takes a certain kind of superpower to achieve this eerie level of pin-drop silence. It’d be comical had my niece’s superpower not been prejudice. But to my father’s credit, he perfectly assessed the uncomfortable situation and delivered the most Indian solution to it: laughter. On his cue, the rest of us joined in and all was forgotten.

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