Recently, a posh white girl (studying medicine at Oxford) with a known cocaine habit was let off jail by a judge for stabbing her date because the judge did not want to ruin her promising career as a surgeon.

White female privilege!

White female privilege!

White female privilege!

The press screamed. My black and yellow friends screamed too. This violent offender (with a history of violence) would have been sent to prison if she hadn’t been blonde with white skin, and parents who live in a $1 million villa.

I, on the other hand, am more incensed that a disturbed young woman was allowed to get away with a crime AND allowed to continue her path to be a doctor. Never mind her colour. It didn’t even register with me until people made such a hoo-ha about it.

And I think it is important to raise children NOT to be defined by their skin colour.  Skin colour is like height or body built, no more. No need to go to war about it, not even in the home or in your head.  As Gandhi says, be the change you want to see.

And I speak from an insider’s perspective. I have five children, and because of the strange game of genetics, three of my children look completely Caucasian whilst the other two are Asian-looking.  Thus, I have lived it. For instance, when they were young, strangers in the UK would ask the Caucasian ones questions, ignoring their older Asian-looking brother, just in case the yellow boy does not speak English.  In Asia, people would coo admiringly over my Caucasian kids, paying scant notice to the strong Asian-looking boy with a big cheeky smile.

My youngest child looks very Asian, but she has a cut-glass English accent.  People often exclaim in surprise when they hear her speak, and compliment her fulsomely. One day, she put on a heavy Cockney accent (her father is from South East London) and she received similar compliments. What? Do people expect her to sound unintelligible because she looks like  yellow monkey?

Her Caucasian-looking sister, despite having an identical accent, has never been complimented on hers.

When my Asian-looking kids are good at something, it gets pooh-poohed at. “Of course you are good at maths/martial arts. You’re Asian.” Er, they beat other Asians to be top. What happens if your Asian child is not good at maths or martial arts, as per stereotypes? Be good at cricket then, or Morris Dancing. What’s the problem? Beat the white folks at their own game, if you want to play the race cards.

As parents, we cannot afford to let that racism and prejudices eat away at us, even if we are angry about it on our coloured children’s behalf.  Because  if we are, our children will grow up with a debilitating chip on their shoulder, thinking that it is a problem being yellow. No need to go banging the Asian Persuasion drums either (oh, so tiring and what a waste of energy). What is, simply is.

Be a mellow yellow, as my son said. So what if you are called Ching Chong Chinaman. Stick and stones can break bones, but words of ignorant people are just words.  We can never eradicate the view and perspective of others. We just have to live with it and R-I-S-E.

My daughter, who is a deeper thinker, said. “Be a Gactus. You can grow anywhere. All the goodness is in you.”