7/24/12

Teaching White Children To Feel Superior to Foreign Children

           Growing up Chinese, I sometimes got the feeling that white kids looked down on me just because I was Chinese.  I doubt if it is an innate tendency but that it is much more likely to be an attitude learned at an early age.
           Consider the message conveyed in a poem, Foreign Children, by the great American writer, Robert Louis Stevenson in his classic collection of poems, A Child's Garden of Verses. (I emphasized some lines in red in case they are not sufficiently blatant to you)
            Of course, reading such a poem is not the only, or even, primary cause of ethnocentrism. Furthermore, many children who never saw this or similar poems also feel superior to "foreign children."  But its popular acceptance shows an insensitivity in the larger society to the damaging effects such attitudes can have on children. Fortunately for me, I was never exposed to this poem until I was an adult and had learned how to discount such drivel.

1 comment:

  1. As a song in South Pacific by Rodgers and Hammerstein,
    " You've got to be taught before it's too late,
    Before you are six or seven or eight,
    To hate all the people your relatives hate,
    You've got to be carefully taught!"


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