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ParentsCanada - April 2015

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What profession has the highest suicide rate? Physicians. L E A R N I N G 22 .com A P R I L 2 0 1 5 "Poo face." "Dirty skin." "Black chicken." It begins early. When her daughter was in Junior Kindergarten, Stoney Creek, Ont., mom Christabel Pinto says she would come home from school every day in tears. The kids were calling her names; they wouldn't play with her because, "brown people get diseases." "I'd go into the basement and cry," says Chris- tabel, an accompanist and music director. The teacher's response was almost worse. "She told the other kids 'she's just different from them,'" says Christabel, who withdrew her daughter from the school. At this point you might be asking, what year was this – 1968? 1975? No. This was fi ve years ago. Christabel's other children Kambria, 10, and Krispin, 8, still regularly sit alone at lunch. Kiera Silverglen, 14, of Hamilton, says she's grown used to racist comments such as "How was the slave ship?" "How was it when you were a maid?" She copes by writing poetry and short stories (she received fi rst place for poetry in this year's Hamilton Public Library's Power of the Pen – a prestigious writing contest). Name-calling is bad enough. Far more insidi- ous and harmful are the negative perceptions and derogatory stereotypes too often associated with people of colour. "I was almost arrested in Walmart for looking at a DVD," Kiera says. A salesperson came up to her and asked, "Were you going to steal that?" She had to call for her mom (who is white) to get the manager. Kiera's adoptive mom, Catherine Silverglen, is a teacher and anti-racism educator. Catherine shares an example of the sort of attitude her family frequently gets from teachers: "We met with the teacher because Kiera was having some challenges in a particular subject," she says. "The teacher made a joke that went (with accent), 'She is just a little bit slow. I don't want to use the word lazy but I was in Jamaica once mon, and they are B y B e a t r i c e E k w a E k o k o C lour BLIND Canada's growing diversity should mean racism is a thing of the past, but that doesn't seem to be the case. What can parents do to promote acceptance of all colours, cultures and creeds? QUITE A BIT. " I w a s i n J a m a i c a o n c e m o n , a n d t h e y a r e a l l s o l a i d b a c k , m a y b e i t ' s c u l t u r a l . "

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