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Monday, March 9, 2015

My Child Sees Skin Color

I'll readily admit, I used to be one of the jackasses who proudly claimed to be color blind. What a crock. I'm now proud to say that my son is not, in fact, color blind. He sees color. Of course he does. When he is telling me a story that involves a person, he describes them. Usually the description goes something like this:

"You know that one guy who is puffy and has glasses and wears a blue purse and has brown skin and says funny things?" ~my son, age 4

It's not something he feels makes anyone better or worse, just one of their descriptors like all of the rest. It's no more important or less important than any of the other descriptors, it just is.

Now, at 4, he knows neither the nuance or great significance of race relations in our society. We've touched on it, we'll touch on it more as time goes by and conversations come up, we'll go on to dig deep in countless conversations to come, because it's part of my job as his mom to do so and part of joy to teach and learn from him.

(...when you're "colorblind.")
Right now, he knows that some people are "cool," some people are "light," some people are "creepy," some people are "puffy," some people are "super loud," some people are "hilarious," and some people are "brown." He knows that some people might fit into a few of those categories, but would never dream of someone fitting into one of those categories because they fit into another. But ya, my son sees skin color. Including my former self, only a fool would say they don't.


  1. of course, we see color! and everything else about a person. the key is to see like children, without associating or weighting what we see with bias...i like that you aren't forcing a conversation on him early. it's so beautiful and so sadly short, the time they can spend in a truly childlike mind, before the prejudices and injustices of the world begin to seep in. that's certainly part of growing and learning; and as you say, those conversations will arise. but i cherish their small time in true innocence.

    1. I allow the conversations to come up naturally, so I don't feel like I'm pressing anything on him that is too mature for his years and also not hiding any truths that he wants and needs.

  2. puffy? I like that. My son uses that term to describe people. I didn't want him to use "fat" as a descriptor.

    1. He came up with that sometime last year and has used it ever since. :)