Lesson 69: When Discrimination Happens

Kids are sensitive. They will be able to identify if there is any "different" kids around them. They stay away from that 'different' kid. Sometimes even worse, the big group would discriminate that 'different' one.

Dan was 8 this year, good results but was a little bit awkward. He was not listening during the class but was constantly talking to himself. Sometimes, he showed some weird actions, such as hitting his own head, spitting, and, scratching his own butt.

Once the other kids saw his strange actions, they would shout, "Yuck! Coach, look at him, he is weird!" Some other kids would moved their chairs away to keep a distance from him.

Coach had to always tell them, "Hey, don't do this to your friend."

"Puff!" All of the sudden, Dan farted so loudly in the class. The kids were panic, screaming, running to the other side of the classroom. Dan remained at his place and chucked to himself.

It took quite some time for the coach to settle the kids. However, no one would like to sit beside Dan.

No one would like to pair up with him during game time. "Yuck, he is disgusting!", "We don't want to play with him!", "Yuck, stay away from me!" The kids were busy talking and pushing each other while the coach was telling them, "Hey, it's not good to treat Dan in that way."

However, some of the kids gathered at one corner, some ran away, and no one would like to stay closer to Dan. Coach was helpless and did not know what to say. I could not stand by. So I suggested coach to gather everyone in order to teach them the right way to behave.

If one does not understand, one cannot feel it. (Joshua J) 

After the kids settled down, coach asked them, "Why do you treat Dan in that way? Do you know that it is wrong?"

"But, he is disgusting." One of the kid said.

"Oh no, We can't say that. He is your friend, you must treat him well." Coach said.

"No!" Another kid showed great reluctance. 

I really could not bear with it anymore. So I stepped in and asked,"Oh really? What if all of your friends in school say, 'Yuck, you are weird, I don't want to play with you! Yuck! You're so disgusting! Go away!'? What would you do?"

All the kids were shocked with their eyes wide opened, pursed lips and all of them remained silent.

"You don't feel good, do you? What if all of your friends stay away from you, asking others to stay away from you as well, telling people that you are disgusting, how would you feel?"

No one complained. No words. No question.

One of the kids, June, said, "I don't care."

Coach was shocked, stunned and did not know what to reply. All the other kids looked at him with some doubts in their eyes, thinking whether to agree with him or not.

I smiled and said, "Well! If that so, now we can treat you in that way, can't we? From now on, we outcast you, we say you are disgusting, we ask you to stay away from us. Are that ok?"

That kid pulled a long face, "I don't know."

"Since you don't know, it is better for you not to simply say something," I replied him, "No one likes to be discriminated. If you don't like others to do this to you, then you don't do this to others."

Kids are just being kids. It's hard for them to understand others' feeling. It's hard for them to think from the others' perspective. It's just hard for them. Cases like Dan happened quite often but do we adults handle it properly? We used to tell the kids that, "Don't do this; don't do that." or "Should do this, should do that." All these 'should do or should not do' stuff do not seem to be related to the kids. Things that we thought they should understand, were actually quite hard for them.

Even if people heard something precious, if they do not know how necessary it is, they will not do it. Therefore, you must let them realize by telling them its necessity rather than just telling people to do it. (Joshua J)

Some kids tend to discriminate or bully the other kid who seems 'different' and later on it turns out to be school bullying. What did we do? Saying a few words to stop them? Say 'we can't do anything' and then let it be? Then, when school bullying happens, we ask the bully to stop school without teaching him the right way to behave? In order to prevent bullying, we should teach the kids right from the beginning. Make them understand. Make them realize. Make them respect other people.

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