Ask LIE

Dear LIE,

I’ve been reading LIE for many years now and you have helped me in the past when my son had to deal with racist behaviours thrust upon him.

I live in Italy. My husband recently signed up my son in a new soccer club and they requested a declaration of our family status and proof of residence. The document indicated that my son had immigrated from Ethiopia; my son is adopted. I don’t know if it’s this phrase or if it’s because my son is new, but they now requested proof that he attends school! Something NOT REQUESTED for the Italian-born kids……!!! We are refusing to give them this document. How should I handle it without telling them they are blatantly racist?

Update 1:
Tomorrow, the soccer team is going to the Soccer Federation to sign him and and will try to get clarification. When my husband called the Federation to ask for elucidation, they replied they didn’t have my son’s identification so they couldn’t check. They now have his Italian I.D. card that clearly states he is Italian. The thing is, my son has been with different teams over the four years he has been in the Soccer Federation and this is the first time they as for proof of school attendance! And I am sure it’s all because that form stated he had immigrated to Italy from Ethiopia.

It may resolve itself tomorrow and I can update on Wednesday, but still, what about all the other immigrant children, why do they have to show proof of school attendance and Italians do not?

Update 2:
Just wanted to give you the outcome of the meeting. Seems that the fact that he has Italian citizenship changes things and that document certifying he attends school is no longer required. When questioned, they just shifted the blame to the former Soccer team saying he had been incorrectly registered two years ago.

It’s still blatantly racist and I’m glad we solved our problem, but what can I do in the future?

-Anna from Turin

Hi Anna,

I’m so sorry that you had to experience this discriminatory treatment of your son. I think that I have heard of adoptive parents of Ethiopian children having similar issues in the US, at doctor’s offices etc. It is, as you say, racist and, may I add, unbelievably petty.

I wish I had some grand answer for you, but I think perhaps you did all that one could do in such a situation–you stood up for your son, you resisted and questioned and refused to accept second-class treatment. No matter the outcome, I imagine that your actions sent a powerful message to your son, and modeled for him how to resist.

I will be interested to hear what our readers think. Readers? Thoughts for Anna?

-Julia, co-editor

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