I know I am not alone in having received a form from school, asking me to provide details of my child’s ethnicity. This request, which asks for passport details if the child is not British, has bothered me more than I can say. It is a persistent itch in my brain that cannot be soothed. To me it smacks of something awful – of an attempt to catalogue our children by the nationality that a twist of fate picked for them, and I do not bloody like it.
This is Britain in 2016. Our country is a cultural melting pot and I’m convinced this is a good thing. My children are growing up in Birmingham. The accent is crap. The city is improving in looks. And it is hugely diverse. I want my kids to relish that – I want them to understand humanity is a rich tapestry underpinned by the fundamental fact that we are all people – nothing more or less.
So let me tell you about Blake, Mr Local Authority or Tory Government or whoever is behind this bizarre, outdated request.
This is Blake.
He loves superheroes, castles, beaches, trucks and his Grandparents’ dogs.
He is obsessed with Lego. He constructs model after model from within the worlds in his mind – each one varied and with its own backstory.
He is a nightmare when hungry.
He adores his new Brother.
He is stubborn, stroppy and downright belligerent at times.
He knows his own mind and has more conviction in his views on the world than some adults I know.
He is fickle and funny and at his heart a kind, loyal friend.
He likes to sit on the sofa in his pants at the end of the school day.
He speaks at times like a 60 year old man, and is wise beyond his years.
He thinks farts are just about the funniest thing imaginable.
He wears his hood up, every day, whatever the weather.
He is every tone and shade and colour there is, to a greater or lesser degree, on any given day.
He is the coolest person I know. He cannot be defined or boxed or neatly packaged up. Just like every other child.
And so I will not be playing ball on this one, much as it goes against my intrinsic need to people-please. I’m going to keep losing that form until you stop asking for it, and I know I’m not the only one.
He is so much more than his ethnicity.
This is a modern world, without barriers. Don’t catalogue children. Please respect them and allow them to be their own unique selves.
dazedandmumfused is on: