17 answers

What Is the Best Way to Teach My Son to Respond to a Racial Slur Against Him?

I feel that having him ignore it may invite more of the same.
He is in 4th grade, and it happened at school.
If you've had experience with this, please share!
Thank you!

1 mom found this helpful

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Thanks, all for your advice. I reported it to the recreational aides, because it happened at lunch, and figured that since it was so new into the school year, the office staff might turn a blind eye to it at this point in time. One rec. aide told me that this boy comes from a family who does all they can to pump up their own "culture", and is probably hearing the comments against "white-a___s" at home (which is what he called my son).
The boy has also made comments such as these to the rec. aides themselves, so they are totally aware of the problem, and will be more attuned to it in the future.
And although schools seem to have a no-bullying policy/anti-racism policy, it's amazing how much "No child left Behind" has lowered the bar on what will be tolerated and what will not.(sorry to offend, but I have seen it personally in MANY cases, not just my own).
As for my son, I did end up telling him to just walk away and not respond. He didn't respond the first time, and that's what I was concerned about.....will this kid mistake silence for weakness???? I guess that remains to be seen.
Thanks again for all your help!

More Answers

Your son could say, "Woa, I didn't know you were that kind of person!" and walk away.

Ignoring the comment is condoning it. Handle this with grace, dignity, and the law.

Every child has the right to a free education. "Free" not only means gratis, but also free from fear, persecution, feeling vulnerable, threatended, or unsafe.

Familiarize yourself with the district's code of conduct and your state's anti-bullying position (ex: http://tlo2.tlc.state.tx.us/statutes/edtoc.html Look at Ch37)

After the appropriate official(principal, counselor, assistant principal or whomever) has addressed the situation (this shoul be swift), send an email to the district's superintenedent, a letter to the editor of the local newspaper (you can remain anonymous), local radio station, and local television station expressing your appreciation of how the situation was handled (there should be at least one...sometimes you have to put something under the "microscope" to find one positive thing on which to comment) and one way that the process could be improved.

The entire community should know that this is intolerable!

Make sure your child's teacher knows about it; teachable moments shouldn't be lost.

I am a teacher. A similar thing happened several years ago in my 8th grade class. Guess what our research paper topic was! Yep, a biography! Each student was provided a list of people from the referred-to race, and a few of the person's contributions. Each student chose a person; no one could duplicate another's choice. They also had to choose someone opposite from their own gender. Only one parent complained.

People are not for hurting, and sometimes adults have to teach this to other adults. Children do not come into this world with innate intolerance.

3 moms found this helpful

I am sooo sorry this happened to your son! Is the school aware that this occured? If not they should be. And it would be good for there to be some racial diversity classes done (age appropriate of course) at school. This is a toughie, I'm afraid that ignoring it is the only way to deal with it. This is bullying plain and simple and the bully is trying to get a rise out of your son, so don't give him one. I would tell your son that people say mean things to make themselves feel better and that it really has nothing to do with him. Good luck.

2 moms found this helpful

Next time have your child ask the bully to put that in writing. if it is not written it is not true.

Then give the note to a history teacher, and have this teacher teach the whole class about the holocaust or the ethnic cleansing in Bosnia. soon these slurs will not be tolerated by any child in the entire school,. The bully becomes the outcast.

2 moms found this helpful

You NEED to tell the school & the Teacher. MOST schools, have a "bullying/harrassment" policy.

ALSO, the school must handle it correctly, AND talk to the offending children(s) Parents as well. There is a protocol to follow...

ALSO, instead of just "verbally" telling them... you need to put in writing.... write a letter stating the problem... and "cc" it to the Teacher/principal etc.

You best take care of this.... as sometimes things like this can escalate...or damage the child.... or cause other children to then pick on the one child too.

I would NOT tolerate this kind of harassment. Because that is what it is, "harassment" and bullying. By the 4th grade, a child knows full well what is right or wrong.

When my girl was only in Preschool, at 4 years old.... there were 3 girls that were kind of "bull" type girls... anyway, one day they told my girl "you can't play with us because we have blond hair and you don't..." (my girl has brown hair and is not Blond haired). So, my girl told them- "Everybody is different on the outside but same on the inside..." and then she went and played with someone else. Meanwhile, I told her Teacher and come to find out...these 3 girls had a history of being bullies... and being exclusionary. SO, they also called in the Parents because it had happened many times throughout the year. My daughter's Preschool Teacher explained, that "even at this young age....a "bully" attitude is already being formed and I can see these girls, if not corrected now, will very likely turn into bullies later....their older siblings are the same way...." You need to nip it in the bud...

Good luck,

2 moms found this helpful

Definitely talk to the school. Our school has a no bully policy and every year has an assembly about it.
Your son has evvery right to stand up for himself. have your son say tell the child it's not ok to speak like that and walk away. Don't have him get angry, the kid could just be looking for a reaction.
On the other hand, some children are being raised by ignorant people. It's possible that the child didn't realize what he said was inappropriate and a slur. If that's what his parents have tought him how would he know otherwise. It would be great if you can turn it into a learning situation for the other kid and classmates. Do the parents of the child know what happened?

1 mom found this helpful

Well as a teacher speaking: I would let the teacher know that this racial slur was said, and allow the teacher to "teach" this ignorant child who said this that this behavior is not acceptable nor tolerated. I would sit with both children and explain why this behavior is not ok anywhere. I would allow both children to speak, and in a safe environment, say clearly that if behavior/slurs are EVER said/heard that the offender will be consequenced. As a parent, if anyone were to speak this way to my child I would be confused and hurt and appreciate that you are asking for guidance and not just "reacting" as this is a sign of maturity and self control. Let your child know you will be letting the teacher know, and let child know he/she has not done anything to deserve this slur being said about him/her and that some people come from backgrounds/chilhoods where right and wrong were not explained to them and what they said was wrong and ignorance is not something you want them to learn from this unfortunate life lesson but that forgiveness is the opportunity, and that you are working on correcting this so as it does not continue.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi R H ignoring is good, if they can';t get a rise out of him they will go pick on someone they can, however i would let the teacher know this happened. J. L.

1 mom found this helpful

Have him stay calm and unaffected and say, "Excuse meyour ignorance is showing"

1 mom found this helpful

Having him ignore him is fine. And kudos for your son telling you and another kudo for you for talking to the school. You did well Mom.

I still remember racial words that were said to me when I was elementary school; for example, I was called a beaner and to go back to Mexico. I remember running home and asking my Mom what a beaner was and why should I go to Mexico and what was that. I knew all the racial slurs by the time I went to Junior High.

1 mom found this helpful

Go straight to the teacher! Racial slurs can be classified as a hate crime. School officials have policies to handle it. The fourth grader who teased might as well learn to watch his tongue as soon as possible.

1 mom found this helpful

You should notify the school administration. Racial slurs are not tolerated. Use the system.

1 mom found this helpful

I'm so sorry this happened to your son. Kids can be so mean and they don't realize that words hurt worse than physical pain. Words stay with you forever! Go straight to the teacher and principal if possible. This is a hate crime and schools do not tolerate bullying. Also teach your son that people who say things to hurt others are ignorant. Build confindence in your son. He can be confident in who he is and feel sorry for people who call him names. Once bullies see that it doesn't have a hurtful affect, they quit. It's no fun if there is no response.
Good Luck!

1 mom found this helpful

if this happened at school I would go to the princible let them know what was said, have your son also speak to the princiable, this way your son knows that the kid who said this will be in trouble , if you do not take action its like saying well you can say these type of hurtfull things and not get in trouble I would ask the kid who said it needs to say they were sorry..

1 mom found this helpful

Kids that say those things get it from their parents. Sad to know that parents teach their kids these things.
I would bring it to the attention of the school and tell your son to simply tell the other kids i'm rubber your glue what ever you say bounces off me and sticks to you. LOL
NO really..
It shouldn't matter what color you are or how your eyes slant. Teach him to not be like them and to just tell them to back off. People that say things like that are ignorant.
It is society that puts lables on people. We should teach our children to put a stop to it. Just because we look different from someone else doesn't mean we have to put up with the lables put on us.
I think that he is better off just not saying anything really. Who he is should earn him the respect he deserves as a person.
I hope this was helpful.

1 mom found this helpful

As a parent of two bi-racial children, I believe that ignoring the comments is the best way to initially deal with it. I do not believe silence condones it, it simply shows the "bigger person". if of course, it becomes physical, then your child needs to defend himself. Afterwards, yes the school officials need to be involved as it is completely unacceptable and has no place in our schools. Children "learn" this behavior, that is a fact. If elementary children are speaking this way, they are merely repeating what they've heard at home or elsewhere. Nip it in the bud.

1 mom found this helpful


I come from another country where I hardly heard any racial slurs. Being in North America where I have heard them used so often in the movies and even in real life, I have often wondered what to tell my son on how to deal with something like that.

I think that your son should simply say, with assertiveness, "My name is so-and-so. If you would like to address me, use my name and nothing else." He should say it loud enough to be heard, but not shouting it.

My son is only three and a half. He is a gentle child when he is with other children, but I have seen other kids push him. He doesn't do anything, but if it hurts he complains to me. I told him to tell the other child, firmly and assertively, "No pushing" and it has worked so far.

I think that the idea is to show the other child that your son will not allow him to treat him like that.

I hope this helps.


1 mom found this helpful

I would show him scripture in the Bible that shows how God has no partiality, and how he made us equal and he loves each one of us. (:

1 mom found this helpful

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