In a perfect world, everyone would be treated equally. No one would be discriminated against because of their religion, gender, race, ethnicity, color, etc. However, we do not live in a perfect world and we must face our imperfections head on.
Race/Color is a Social Construct
One of those imperfections humanity has acquired is racism. First off, there is NO such thing as a “race.” That term was created to simply and effectively DIVIDE people. Mainly, the rich from the poor, the haves from the have-nots. If you were to take a look at history, you will see that the poor were increasing in numbers far greater than the rich and the rich were afraid to be outnumbered so they needed a mechanism to combat this. Hence, the separation by color.
To justify this separation, Thomas Jefferson called on science to prove it. In his book Notes on the State of Virginia, he said as much. In part, that is how we got to where we are today.
Where did the Brown girl go?
When my daughter was three, we were watching the 2012 Olympics, she asked, “where did the Brown girl go?” speaking of Gabby Douglas. My husband and I were shocked because we had never called out color in our household. We looked at each other for about five seconds before responding. We couldn’t believe that she noticed the color difference.
But then again, why wouldn’t she? She has eyes to see. At that point, we decided to embrace the fact that she saw the difference and we started recognizing people for who they were — Brown, Peach, etc.
The truth is, your child sees color too. The difference is, they don’t have the biases that many adults have attached to different colors/races. With that said, the only thing left to do is embrace the different colors represented in the world. Don’t say, “There is no such thing as color, everyone is treated equally,” because you KNOW that is NOT true. When your child asks about the difference in color or facial feature or hair texture, educate them on the differences.
At the end of the day, I want ALL of my friends to see my color because if you don’t see my color, then you won’t see the injustice that I face every day. And, if you can’t see the injustice that I face, then you won’t defend me. If you don’t defend me, then I don’t feel secure. And if I don’t have security around you, then we have no relationship.
Teach your children about color and race. It is all around them. If you don’t, then 20-30 years from now we’ll be having the same conversations. Let your children see color and talk about it, however, don’t bring your biases into the conversation.