OK, I didn’t plan on writing a blog post today but an article in Be The Best Nanny has made me fuming mad. Or at least bitterly disappointed. So if you like all nanny related posts to only be sugar and spice and everything nice don’t read any further.
Be the Best Nanny did an article on 4 nannies that had lost their jobs due to facebook. One spewed off about her boss in a less than flattering way using her boss’s computer. Definitely not a smart move. One posted a picture of her charge and her charge’s friend after a dress up session without the friend’s parents’ permission. And added a caption saying “I’m sexy and I know it.” Again, not so smart. The third didn’t post anything inappropriate but often chatted with her boss on facebook throughout the day, making the mom decide the nanny way spending way too much time on facebook. That doesn’t fall into the “not so smart” category. That goes into the “bad match” pile. Now the fourth example is what set me off.
The fourth nanny, a self-described conservative Republican working for a very liberal family, commented to friends about then Presidential candidate Obama using “the N word” on facebook. The word that is so demoralizing and inflammatory that we as a society don’t even say it out loud. She wasn’t friends with her employers so she thought they’d never find out. Turns out one of her friends thought her employers should know so her friend told them. She was fired. The father said “he didn’t want his kids growing up to say racial slurs or hear racial slurs.”
She started the story by assuring the readers she isn’t a racist. She pleaded her case to her boss saying she’d “obviously never say anything like that in front of the kids”. And of course she added that she didn’t even mean it; it was a joke.
These stories are all supposed to be lessons that teach us what’s said on the internet is never private and what you say could get back to your employers and cost you your job. And most of the comments on the Be the Best Nanny page reflect that idea. But this story isn’t an example of a bad choice of words. This doesn’t fall into the same category as letting off steam about a late boss or posting a cute picture with a not-so-thought-out caption. This goes to the core values a nanny holds and what she teaches the kids she cares for. Why aren’t we outraged that a nanny feels it’s OK to use that term AT ALL? Why aren’t we shaking our heads that she’s indignant that she was fired and that the father refuses to give her a reference?
I get that I’m more opinionated than most. But when it comes to racism, I think we should all be equally opinionated. Not calling the President a N-word in front of the children is not an acceptable standard for a nanny, the person entrusted to help shape a child’s view of the world. Adults don’t have to use racial slurs to pass on racism to children. They do it through their everyday actions and ideas. They do it by failing to teach inclusion, acceptance and tolerance. They do it by buying into the hurtful ideas themselves. And every time we fail to stand up and say it’s not OK, our silence sends the message of indifference at best or acceptable at worst. So here today, in this blog, I’m standing up.
Additional note: I in no way believe that her being a Republican had anything to do with her views. I included that for context regarding the nanny / parent relationship.