She is only 10 years old, but the Zaanse Amy has to deal with discriminatory jokes almost every day. It hurts her and that is why mother Sophia shares this story with her daughter. She hopes that it will finally stop: “Maybe this should be the conversation at the dinner table.”

    Amy* likes to be busy: she likes to ride a road bike, is fond of athletics and can play with her dolls for hours. Her favorite subject at school is spelling and the Dutch girl with South Korean blood likes to do her hair herself.

    A cheerful 10-year-old girl can be seen at home. Yet there is a lot of pain behind that smile. Almost daily she gets discriminatory comments thrown at her head. “It makes me sad and angry,” says Amy.

    Differ

    Not long ago she was at the Zaangolf, Amy likes to come in this pool. She looks at a boy. “He said I was a stupid cunt Chinese.” It is an example that does not stand alone. Nobody does anything. “I don’t like it when I’m scolded for that, because that affects me very much.”

    At school children say she is not beautiful because she looks ‘different’. “I was walking out of school and then someone said I was very ugly.” It is often about her eyes. Amy often gets defensive, but they mimic her eyes. She becomes insecure about this and asks her mother if she is ugly. “I often do, yes.”

    Not only in real life, but also online she gets messages about her Asian origin. “I also get jokes like ‘chinese takeaway’ in a picture.” No matter how many times Amy says she’s not Chinese, she’s half South Korean, the comments keep coming. “I feel like it seems on purpose, because I’ve said it so many times.”

    Thick skin

    Amy’s mother Sophia* listens to her daughter’s stories. “I’ve been hearing this all my life too. And in a way, it’s not good of course, you get used to it too.” It hurts her a little more each time. “I have thick skin, but if it hurts her, it hurts me too.”

    Sophia thinks that not all comments are necessarily meant to be rude. Kids think it’s funny, she says. “Somehow I think they haven’t been informed well enough that it’s not funny.” And the parents may not know that either. “Perhaps it is more society that jokes about Asians are still funny. You are not going to make jokes about Surinamese, Turks or Moroccans. That is not accepted.”

    “Why should it be emphasized that we are Asian”, she wonders. Sophia hopes by sharing this story that parents will become aware that it is really not fun and start talking to their children. “What I do with my own children is hold up a mirror. How would you like it if?”

    Talking about discrimination

    People think she should arm her daughter, and she tries, but ‘I really think that’s the world upside down’. “Maybe this should be the conversation at the dinner table,” Sophia emphasizes. 10-year-old Amy adds to her mother that jokes about someone’s, or her appearance, are never fun. “Even though that doesn’t seem bad, you can hit someone with it. You should always keep that in mind.”

    * For privacy reasons the names have been changed. The real names are known to the editors.

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