African Families Withdrawing their Kids from Schools to Protect them from Racism

A 5 years old, African girl, schooled in an elementary class in Paris came back home crying. Her mother asked what was wrong. She said, at school the teacher was teaching them a new song. While singing the new song the kids have to clap their hands tree times and then put palms down on the leg and say “… and it’s all white”, supposedly referring to the skin color. The little girl rightfully noticed that her palm and skin were not … all white, but chocolate as she said to her mom.

The third time the kids played the clap, clap, clap, white game, the teacher and the other pupils noticed the embarrassment of the African girl. A girl in the group shouted “she is not white”, another one continued “she’s chocolate”. The teacher intervened and move the class to other less controversial topics.

Another story said:
During a drawing lesson, in another elementary school in Paris, a little African girl was asked to draw a human character on the board. She drew very well, colored the character face in brown, with a curly, puffy hair on its head. Some kids in the class start laughing and said there is not such people with burned face, a ballooned hair. The teacher intervened to ask the girl to draw a normal person like everyone else. She complied.

In 2007, few days before Christmas, the social assistant of the organization where I was working in Paris sent an email to all employees with a gift catalog. Employees with kids under 7 years old could select up to 2 items they’d receive as gifts from the employer.

I happened to meet the assistant a morning, and she kindly asked me what gifts my son would like to receive. I said I don’t know, but asked what are the most popular items with other parents. She replied “Every year is different. There are some star products like Lego which work well with boys. Educational games, gears, and DVDs are also popular, but some parents are more practical and would go with stuff like baby bathtub or bikes.”

Then she continued “It happens some years that I receive requests for items not listed in the catalog. Some funny ones, but few years ago, a mom asked her 6 years old daughter what gift she’d like for Christmas. The little girl after a long hesitation and sigh said “Mom, could we become white even if it’s for one day!?”

The assistant became silent for a whole minutes then concluded “It was so painful to hear. I cried, and I cried all day long. I’m a mom too, you know!”

The 6 years old black girl in Paris already knew the difficulty of being black in a work dominated by white people who in a huge majority hate almost instinctively black people. Her dream to become white, even if it’s for one day, is the dream of millions of black kids and adults.

It’s rare to see African kids born in France to amount to anything outside of socially constrained roles in sport or music. They rarely reach university, or achieve any status in science, literature, arts. The overwhelming majority of successful and prominent Africans in France are the one who are born in Africa, and who grew up in Africa before going to France.

The structural racism, daily humiliation and denial of identity often break the kids early on life.

At a personal level, during the first months of my son at school in Europe, he was constantly assaulted by white kids telling him he was brown like shit, and they would often show him their ass, saying “you are my shit”, and many other racist words kids only learn from parents (check the article “why white families teach racism to their kids“)

In New York city you have Russian, Jew, French, Arab, Chinese, etc. elementary schools. These community know the value of protecting their kids and endowing them first with their culture. It’s up to the African diaspora to create African schools for their kids in Paris, London, Brussels, Cape Town.

Yesterday a friend sent me a link to an article which states that more and more African American families are taking their kids out of american schools to protect them against racism. I think it’s a good move, and the next step would be to go beyond homeschooling to start building our own schools for our kids wherever we go, for they to be thought by teachers who resemble them, and receive an education which is less eurocentric.

We don’t have any power to ask white families to stop teaching racism to their kids, nor ask racist people to stop racist aggressions. But we have the duty to protect our kids from being destroyed so early on life by racism.


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About Mawuna KOUTONIN

Mawuna Koutonin is a world peace activist who relentlessly works to empower people to express their full potential and pursue their dreams, regardless of their background. He is the Editior of, Founder of, and Social activist for Africa Renaissance. Koutonin’s ultimate dream is to open a world-class human potential development school in Africa in 2017. If you are interested in learning more about this venture or Koutonin’s other projects, you can reach him directly by emailing at

10 Responses to “African Families Withdrawing their Kids from Schools to Protect them from Racism”

  1. Nzingha Shabaka

    Racist will be racist. They behave so terribly. They know they are missing something good, and they try to blame blacks that are coming up short.

  2. Maseho Oh

    Interesting for me to compare this situation to the one in Germany. It is not better. Having to deal with the "refined art" of racism especially by teachers, I had hoped to be a thing of the past…but my daughters undergo basically the same experiences I made almost 30 years ago…I think you mentioned a very important point by emphasizing the need of our communities to protect our children…My frustration was not to be able to organise at least black parent group for the school due to lack of interest or fear the children could be punished if their parents become to much of a molestation…It would be so much better instead of struggling as individual parent being labelled "oversensitive" ….Thanks for the post – very much appreciated…

  3. Maati Auset

    I was a homeschooling mom to my 5 babies, two of whom are parents now, because of those same issues and hat 2 of my children were "tracked" .I am strongly encouraging my daughters and nieces and nephews to do the same for theirs

  4. Re Green

    this is so sad, however i see when most africans come to the usa, they quickly move to white neighborhoods and move their kids to white schools?? so they still actually place themselves in position to be discriminated against. however its a free world and we are free to decide…..

  5. Re Green

    france had a huge zoo with africans living there and not animals!!! this tells alot about the pathetic mind frame of those people.

  6. Victim Of RWS

    this is true because in the US, like in the UK, the racists are more refined. white people behave as if they're not racists.

  7. Brenda Rob

    Accept your own and be yourself. The answer is to pool your resources and stop expecting something you know is not going to happen

  8. Billie Holiday

    I’m wondering why Cape Town is on this list. It shouldn’t be.

  9. Meredith Walker

    Incidents such as the ones described can send these children into the arms of an origanization that values them, such as Isis. One can only live with a foot on ones neck for so long.

  10. Yinka Oyesanya

    "Her dream to become white, even if it’s for one day, is the dream of millions of black kids and adults." I think this is tragic. I don't want to be white, and have never ever nurtured such an idea. I am black and very proud to be a black man too.


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