Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Interracial parenting FAIL

I promised this post, so here it is. Me confessing to the entire world that I totally blew it.

Sabrina and I were out last Tuesday when she said, out of the blue (because everything a four year old says is out of the blue!), "we are different colors." Great opportunity to have a really good conversation, right?

Well, not if you blow it completely.

It started out okay. "Why are we different colors?" "Well, a long long long time ago, our grandparents' grandparents' grandparents' lived in different parts of the world. And people in some parts of the world have darker skin to protect them from the sun." Yes, I did try to explain evolutionary biology to a four year old.

Then things went terribly, horribly wrong.

"I wish I had lighter skin, Foster Ima."

After I talked myself out of telling her about the study I read about showing that kids of all skin tones are biased towards lighter skin (yeah, a little beyond a four year old's comprehension, and not what she was looking for), I said ... wait for it ... oh you will be shocked at my incredible stupidity ...

"but your skin is part of who you are!"

[Immediate realization of what I said] "I mean, um, what you are INSIDE is makes you who you are. And you are smart and funny and have good manners."

Oops. And now I will go hide under a rock so I never say anything so stupid again.


  1. I don't think it was that stupid, really. The fact is, your skin, eyes, hair, butt and whatever else is part of who you are.

    We have had similar discussions at our house. We try to emphasize that even though we are different on the outside, we are all the same on the inside.

    I think it's just too hard to be politically correct at all times. Do your best, and it will all somehow work out in the end.

  2. "Color blindness" is not an effective way of dealing with race. It is part of who she is, like her eyes, her laugh, and her stubbornness. Who we are is because of who made us.

    Oh and all my black kids want to be Hispanic, all of my Hispanic kids want to be Italian and all my white kids want to be black. My current 3 all have curly hair and want straight. The straight hairs want to be curly. The big kids want to be babies and the little ones practically want to open Roth IRA's and wear hooker shoes.