On Seeing Race Through My Children’s Eyes

This morning we had some interesting conversations.

It started with my son asking me why a friend of my daughter’s had brown skin and her mom had white skin. We talked a little bit about adoption, about how some people aren’t able to care for their babies and how lucky she was to have a new family to love her.

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Then a bit later, he wanted to know why so many basketball players had brown skin. We talked about talents, skill level and natural abilities. That conversation went into an explanation of melanin (as high level as we could keep it for a six year old) and how we all have different color skin. We talked about the sun and how even Mommy and Miss E have different skin than him and Daddy.
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My son said we’re peach, not white. A smile crept across my face when he said that. Of course, he’s right. I’ve never met a person that was truly white, nor have I met a person who was the very definition of black.

Our conversation got me thinking about this crazy world we live. How sometimes we think we’ve come so far only to have society take giant leaps backward as we stare on in disbelief. How we can learn so much from our children if we’d just stop and listen to them for awhile.

Life isn’t black and white. It never has been. It’s full of color – both muted and bold. Our children see that. They see it every day until we, as adults, take that away from them. How do we prevent that from happening? I can’t create a cocoon around my children, as much as I want to. I can’t keep them in a bubble where they can maintain their sweetness and innocence.

I want to go through life like my son. I want to see peach, brown, tan, yellow and red. I want to dive headfirst into the rainbow.

But the view gets blocked. Repulsive things like bigotry, racism, and prejudice prohibit us from seeing beyond the fringe. It shouldn’t. We need to force ourselves to push past it, to get beyond the gray so we can see the world’s true beauty.

Adults get stuck in the muck. We get bogged down in politics and who’s right or wrong and what everyone else is doing. We miss the color.

Not our kids. They see it – all of it. They see beyond color, size, sex or ability. Those beautiful, trusting eyes delight in the world around us until adults damage them with our biases, our views and opinions.

Why must we make it an all or nothing world?

My children don’t see it that way. They don’t see only black and white. They see color. SO. MUCH. COLOR.

I want to see it too.

 

This post originally appeared at A Parenting Production.


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Erin Lane
Erin Lane is a coffee-loving, work-at-home mom of two who would love for you to join her at her blog, A Parenting Production. Of course if you just can't get enough Erin, you can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.