Friday, August 22, 2008

Looking Good

Ashley: So have you met Hudson?

Big Kid: Yes, I hab...(thoughtful)

Ashley: Was he nice??

Big Kid: know what?

Ashley: What?

Big Kid: He had no hair.

Ashley: No...? (wondering, oh man, is it cancer? why is he seeming weird about this?)

Big Kid: ...and he had brown skin. No hair and brown skin.

Ashley: (waiting, stifling a giggle, glad it's not cancer)

Big Kid: But that's okay. He still looks good. He looks great, actuawy. He's nice too.

Ashley: Well of course. People come in all different shapes and sizes and colors and they all still look good.

Big Kid: Yep. He's my favowit.

Interesting that this struck him so. One of his aunts is black, and I noticed two other black students in his class. We live in a pretty diverse area. I think it's because he was picturing Hudson as being white, and the surprise made him finally notice a difference.

I didn't bother to go there with the "black" label because I know he'd argue that he wasn't black, he was brown and I think I like his simplified description rather than any kind of dividing label. It makes it no different than observing that someone has red hair and freckles (a ginger...did you see that South Park?)

Growing up on an island, we were sheltered from diversity in a MAJOR way. My brother thought our Mexican secretary was black until he was 8, I'm not even kidding.

I love that Big Kid has no idea racism exists or is even a possibility. It makes me feel that if we all made a pact as humans to never mention it ever again, that it wouldn't take that long to get rid of. I know that's wishful thinking, but it does give me hope that it will continue to dilute through the generations and that it could happen one day.


Mitch said...

E and I have that pact. Neither of our kids have brought it up but when they do, that's how we plan to deal with it too.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like he has a great start if he's seeing the person rather than the labelled color!

Mama H said...

When my son was 3, he changed from a home daycare to a center based daycare and made a new friend, too. Bigg H doesn't like chocolate milk, but his friend did. And that's the first thing he told me: "Z likes to drink chocolate milk because his skin is brown, but I drink white milk because my skin is white." I thought it was so cute how he made that association, but, like you said, had no idea that racism exists. :-)

Ami said...

Kids are great like that! They just don't notice. We have a lot of diversity within our family - interracial marriages, kids, international adoptions, etc. I love when we're all together. Our son and the other kids there don't think twice about it. It would be so great if we all adopted the same attitudes as our kids on this one.

JET said...

This made me smile. It is my greatest wish also. :)

Anonymous said...

This made me smile...and made me wistful. :)

Anonymous said...

I love that kid so much. Maybe it will be his generation that truly changes the world!

Joy said...

I remember when my son noticed someone for the first time he was maybe 3 and asked about the ladies skin at Target so we had the talk a long time ago and that was it, he never brought it up again.

He did notice last year when 3 hispanic kids in his class didn't speak english though. But he became good friends with one of the boys (once he learned english). But it was funny to hear him talk about it because he didn't understand why they spoke another language.

Jennifer said...

My girls have no flippin' clue about that stuff, either. It's refreshing to someone who grew up in the deep South!

Ned said...

Prejudice I believe gets better with each generation. My boys ages 6 & 9 are oblivious as well. If anything they refer to someone as their brown friend. ( 2 boys with the same name). I am so happy that maybe our kids generation can end the hate!

merrick said...

I loved this story because this is where it all starts. Both of my older children attended public school here in philly so were always around people of different ethnicities, they are truly "color blind" and see a person for who they are not what color they are. I can only hope that I can instill this same trait in my two youngest.

Coco said...

That is great. I love the "no hair" reference.

My son has no idea there is a difference in the races either, and that makes me so happy. He asked once why somebody had "brown skin" and I just said he was made that way. And that was the last I have heard about it.

Not an issue, and as far as I am concerned, it never will be!