Lifestyle

Racial slur ruins a kids’ party

By Charmayne Allison

AN ECHUCA six-year-old’s birthday party turned sour recently when a mother aimed a racial slur at a young indigenous girl.

Another local mother at the party, who asked not to be named, was left ‘‘disheartened, disappointed, hurt and confused’’ after the comment, which many other children overheard.

Including the little girl it was aimed at.

‘‘I was attending the party with my own six-year-old son,’’ the woman said.

‘‘After pass the parcel and musical chairs, the kids gathered around a pinata. Two children hit it and when it was the little indigenous girl’s turn to hit it, it fell off the string.

‘‘One of the parents fixed it back up and the game continued.’’

When the indigenous girl went for a second swing, the pinata fell off the string again.

‘‘As I was standing by thinking what a good swing that kid had on her a mother turned to me and said some of the most horrible, racist words I had actually heard in my life,’’ she said.

Words so destructive, they can’t be printed.

‘‘My eyes nearly popped out of my head, it was the worst I have ever heard. And I’ve heard it a lot in the community,’’ the woman said.

‘‘Several children overheard it, including the little indigenous girl, who turned around to look at the mother who said it.

‘‘This little girl was only six-years-old, had been a good friend, good student and a good kid and yet was humiliated by an adult at a birthday party.

‘‘And all because of the colour of her skin.’’

The woman said she immediately walked away from the mother who said the horrific words, and was encouraged to see several others follow.

But she added the incident was a stark reminder racism was still rife in Echuca-Moama.

‘‘The whole reason I’m speaking up is that I want people to think about the effects of what they say around children, whether they’re Koori or not,’’ she said.

‘‘Echuca-Moama still has a long way to go in stamping out racism. But it all starts with parents.

‘‘Children aren’t born racist — it’s impressed upon them. So be aware of what you say.’’