…in one of my classes today we were discussing colors and food. we were in the middle of discussing food that’s yellow and someone’d said banana, so i wrote it on the board under yellow. all of the kids were talking at once shouting colors and foods, but then one kid talks louder to try to get my attention.
kid: ne ne! i heard foreigners call Japanese people “yellow”!
me: *quickly turns to kid wide-eyed* …what??
kid: yeah, like you know how there’s black people, they call Japanese people “yellow monkeys”.
me: *staring at this kid totally wide-eyed and slack-jawed in utter disbelief*
*in the seconds of silence while my mind’s thinking a million different things, a few other kids stop talking and stare at me having noted my odd reaction*
me: *5 secs that feel like a minute later* that’s hella offensive, where did you hear– never mind, what’s another food that’s yellow??
like… i’m still in shock that a 10 year old student heard this somewhere, absorbed it and then regurgitated it in the middle of class because the theme happened to be colors and food. and he said it so utterly innocently, totally oblivious to what he’d actually heard and was now saying.
i swear, my students have said some of the most offensive shit in my classes and i’m sure all of it is just them parroting things that they’ve heard from somewhere else, be it TV, their parents what/whoever. it’s so utterly disheartening sometimes…. they aren’t even aware of the damage that they’re causing with the racist, homophobic, transphobic, fat-shaming shit that they say to each other just because they hear other people saying the same thing.