General Question

Tink's avatar

Ways to teach my sister a lesson?

Asked by Tink (8668points) March 26th, 2010 from iPhone

My sister is a funny little girl most of the time. But there are times when she says things that aren’t nice. She constantly makes racial slurs towards African Americans. She says she doesn’t like them, whenever she sees one she says things like “I better hide, I don’t want to get shot!” in a non-joking way. I’ve recently heard her tell my other sister that she doesn’t like a girl in her class because she’s black. My sister is 10 years old, you’d think she would know better. Well she doesn’t. No one in our house teaches her these things.

My parents have never bothered telling her that those comments she makes are rude. So she continues making them, when I tell her to stop she completely ignores me. I have decided to take things into my own hands. Any ideas in what to do to scare her so she would stop?

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36 Answers

ChaosCross's avatar

Punch her in the face, hard.

Then tell her not to do it and that it is for her own good.

rpm_pseud0name's avatar

I only have one comment.. I love the second topic tag you added. I laughed out loud. Thanks for that.

rpm_pseud0name's avatar

I read it again… laughed again.

laureth's avatar

It sure sounds like she could benefit from getting to personally know one or more African Americans. Do you have black friends you could introduce her to? Or even teachers, supermarket cashiers, etc.? Not that they will scare her into stopping – but so she’ll realize that most people aren’t scary.

TexasDude's avatar

She had to have learned this from somewhere…

majorrich's avatar

I would let her get her ass kicked just once, stepping in before she gets really hurt. That should do the trick.

SeventhSense's avatar

She’s 10..Violence against a child is not funny.
I agree with TheBastard she must have picked these ideas up from somewhere. Perhaps the bad influence of a friend. Try to find out where.

Tink's avatar

@laureth When she was in preschool the school she went to was taught by only black teachers. Her teacher was a really nice woman, and she knows that. I’m not allowed to bring friends over to our house, but I do have black friends.


School might be a source of that since she’s the only one that talks like that about them in our home.

majorrich's avatar

Oops missed the 10yo part. My bad.

cbloom8's avatar

Communication is a virtue – talk to your parents about the matter, and if they don’‘t listen look for an authority figure that she will listen to. This needs to stop immediately before she get’s into serious trouble/danger.

Jeruba's avatar

She is getting this from somewhere. What sort of friends does she have at school? Does she have any who are of different ethnicity or language group from her own?

I don’t think scaring or threatening is the way. Teaching her an association with fear and punishment won’t open her mind. She needs to understand what it means to talk like that and think like that, and how hurtful and destructive it is—to others and also to herself. And she needs to learn how to see other people as people, whether they look like her or not.

There are many books for young people that are designed to help get these concepts across, and there are movies about breaking down barriers, etc., but I think personal experience is the best teacher. Unfortunately you can’t just throw her together with a kid of another race and assume the other kid won’t have any issues or won’t react badly. These things go both ways.

Maybe the best thing for now would be for you to model the behavior and attitudes that you want her to learn.

majorrich's avatar

Perhaps have a black person explain to her that the behavior is rude and could get her ass kicked. For pranks purposes have it be a friend and very confrontational so she thinks a whoopin’ is in her future.

ridicawu's avatar

That second tag was awesome. I worked in a school district and there was a 9 year old boy who said (to a black girl) that he didn’t like black people because they’re all mean and hate him. He was extremely stubborn and had really bad trust issues so never really listened to any other staff. I had to sit him down once and talk to him for about 20 minutes just to get him to know I’m a safe person and for him to know I’m trustworthy.
ANYWHO. I got a bit on the ramble side there. It’s really just about communication. Kids learn it from their parents and if there’s another kid she knows or is either friends with or wants to be friends with who learned it from their parents, that’s the source. I would say maybe do some stuff with your sister or go to a mall or something and bring/meet up with a black friend. Hopefully she’ll have a fun time and see that black people are not “going to shoot her”.

As much as it pisses you off, @Jeruba is right. Scaring/threatening won’t do much for you except scare her away from you. I tend to use the “Do you want other people to think of you that way just because of how you look?” My parents used it for me and I’ve used it for my little cousins. It makes them think about it in a sense of themselves and who doesn’t love to think about the most important person in the world but them?

aprilsimnel's avatar

Yes, I’d insist to my parents to get involved and find out where this is coming from. This whole deal smells like she’s using willfulness and nascent racism as a way of showing you that no one’s going to tell her what to think. A show of independence. My cousin started acting that way around 12, but he’d come home and say horrible, sexist things about women (he was already black, so…). My aunt took care of him in her own way, and I wouldn’t suggest using her tactics, so I’ll not mention them.

Ask her, the next time she says some cacadoodie like she has, if she’d like it for people to assume stupid lies about her because she’s white? To shun her because she’s white? Is there a way to have your parents ask her teacher to do the brown eye/blue eye experiment? That’s a swell way to teach a lesson.

liminal's avatar

@majorrich The sister is already operating under that assumption that someone is violent because they are black. I am thinking that sort of confrontation would only affirm the fear.

I agree with checking with your parents.

SeventhSense's avatar

That’s an excellent sociological object lesson. I remember that from college.

Adagio's avatar

@Tink1113 “I’m not allowed to bring friends over to our house.” Really?? I know it’s somewhat off topic but can’t help thinking this is rather strange…

Tink's avatar

@aprilsimnel From what my other sister, who is one year older than the 10 year old, has told me she acts different at school than she does at home. I don’t know what kind of friends she has. Oh she’s not white, we’re hispanic, but I think that should still apply.

@Adagio I’m actually serious about that, my mother doesn’t believe in friends. She says we should trust only family and no one else. That’s a topic I really don’t want to get into.

majorrich's avatar

The cruel truth is that if she doesn’t stop the behavior, she will have a bad experience. Better a controlled one than an non-controlled one.

I had a boy had a blanket party thrown on him for racist comments at basic training. Oh my the paperwork! But he straightened right up after he got out of the hospital.

aprilsimnel's avatar

Oh, I beg your pardon, @Tink1113! Don’t want to call you out of your name, as it were. But, yes, the same idea applies.

Adagio's avatar

@Tink1113 I will respect your wish not to discuss this further but would just like to add that I strongly suspect your mother’s distrust may have some bearing on your sister’s attitude… you might like to think about that possibility…

Tink's avatar

@aprilsimnel That’s okay :)

@Adagio Thank you.

SeventhSense's avatar

Yes and I’m sure you effectively changed his mind. He just learned not to use certain comments in certain places but probably cemented his racism even deeper. Violence is not a cure.

Jeruba's avatar

@aprilsimnel, that film (“A Class Divided”) was worth a whole hour and then some. I just dropped what I was doing—packing for a trip—to watch it straight through. Thank you for an unforgettable experience.

thriftymaid's avatar

If the adults in the house are silent to her comments, they are, in effect, teaching by implied approval. You aren’t responsible for your 10 year old sister—how old are you? Why not ask your parents why they haven’t “helped” your sister?

Tink's avatar

@thriftymaid I am 15, I believe I watch what my sisters do more than them. That’s just the way things are around here. My parents simply don’t do anything to stop her when they hear her sometimes they would just tell her to shut up, but nothing more. I won’t argue with them and their wrong parenting ways.

majorrich's avatar

@SeventhSense I didn’t have anything to do with that one. I just took the report. As it turns out, it may have been a terrible misunderstanding. I assigned him to sensitivity training as the regs required. He graduated with his class and that was the last I saw of him. Never did find out who threw the party.

aprilsimnel's avatar

@Jeruba – You’re welcome. I think that particular experiment should happen in every class in 2nd or 3rd grade.

The dolls experiment was replicated in 2005 and unfortunately, the results were similar to the landmark study conducted in the 1940s, a study that influenced the Supreme Court to rule for Brown in Brown vs. Board of Education. An experiment like the one featured in the video done in every class would help all children see through the lies of racism and prejudice in some manner, I think.

Jeruba's avatar

@aprilsimnel, yes, if it could be done that way. The teacher (Jane Elliot) voiced some cautions at the end. Not everyone is going to be as skilled as she was in setting it up and conducting it, and any teacher who does it with insincerity in her heart—who is actually not a fair-minded and even-handed person, or who lets viciousness enter into her manner—could very well do considerable damage. Look at how profoundly people still carried the lessons of those two days 14 years later. They would also still carry the scars if it went awry.

Also there are plenty of classrooms in which few blue eyes are to be found. That would make it more difficult, I would think, than with the distribution in an all-white town in Iowa. But I can’t imagine the effects being as dramatic if it’s purely arbitrary—red collars and blue collars, say—as with a personal characteristic you can’t shed.

What was really remarkable to me, even more remarkable than how quickly the same effects played out in a roomful of educated adults, was the observation that all the kids did better on their spelling tests for the rest of the year. One day of thinking they were smarter than others made them, in effect, smarter. Not just smart but smartER.

Nullo's avatar

They’re still pretty malleable at 10, aren’t they? Setting the record straight ought to be sufficient.
If the bulk of the blacks in the school actually fits the stereotype that your sister looks for – it has happened before – your work will be harder.

I remember reading about the first dolls study, and noted that there were a couple procedural matters that might affect the outcome of the study (alas, but that was some years ago, and I never did bother to write them down – something about samples?).
In any case, it would be wise to be sure that there were no procedural errors in anything final enough to act on.

Do you have a list of critiques of the study handy? I might find my own concerns addressed there.

Nullo's avatar

I feel that I ought to amend my previous post in a way that wedges “because people suck” into the small text string at the top.

DarkScribe's avatar


My parents have never bothered telling her that those comments she makes are rude…

I’m not allowed to bring friends over to our house,...

Ten years old, your parents give tacit approval and they won’t allow you to bring friends home???

We are not getting the whole picture here, but what does show through looks like a problem originating with your parents regardless of whether you think that she didn’t learn this at home or not. She certainly has not learned NOT to do it and that is something that is a parental responsibility. Parenting is supposed to be proactive as well as reactive.

PandoraBoxx's avatar

I have to agree with @DarkScribe. This is a variation on the saying, “Not to decide, is to decide.” By not correcting this behavior, your parents are condoning and indirectly teaching it by allowing it to go on. You need to have a long conversation with your parents about their views on racism, and if they realize what your sisters views of people are like. Sometimes children emulate the viewpoints of their friends, and perhaps your sister is hanging out too much with friends whose families espouse these viewpoints, in which, again, this is a point of parental intervention.

As an older sister, your responsibility is to model the appropriate behavior for your younger siblings, not lecture.

rooeytoo's avatar

Tink, I think you are a really good kid for caring about your sister as you obviously do. I don’t think however, it should be your job to instill values or morals in your siblings, you are still a kid yourself so it is a hell of a lot of responsibility for you to take on. I believe the most you can do is to show her by your example. Be the best person you can be and hopefully your little sister will see how you lead your life and emulate you. But if she chooses not to, it is not your failing. No one can make another be a good human being.

whyigottajoin's avatar

Dump here in a hood where they only have white gangsters, instead of african americans. Then let her find her way home lol.

whyigottajoin's avatar

I grew up with turkish, chinese, black, all kinds of people in my class. That really made me see we’re all the same and there’s no need for racial slurs.

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