Friday, August 20, 2010

Color Oblivious

There are people who claim to be color blind when it comes to racial differences – while they still see the color of a person’s skin, it means significantly less to them than what’s on the inside. And there are people who, unfortunately, see nothing but the color of another person’s skin, regardless of what’s on the inside.

My kids are aware of differences in skin color. They get that we all come in different shades. Some of us (me, for example) are so pinky-white we practically glow in the dark, some of us are rich, chocolaty brown, and there's every shade in between. But they have an aunt who is bi-racial and an uncle who is black, so they’ve been around people who look different from them their whole lives. It’s not a big deal in our family. To my kids, skin color is just an accessory, albeit one you can’t remove. They figured out a long time ago that what’s important is what’s inside the skin.

We watch a lot of Dinosaur Train.  It's Ellie's favorite show, but I'm pretty sure the other two really like it as well, even if they'd never admit that.  It’s about the Pteranadon family, who travel the dinosaur world, sometimes through time tunnels, on a train, visiting different species of dinosaur and learning about them. This family consists of Mr. And Mrs. Pteranadon and their four children, Tiny, Shiny, Don, and Buddy. Tiny, Shiny, and Don are Pteranadons, but Buddy is a T-Rex. He was adopted as an egg. We were watching it one morning while we were in Newport, and in this particular episode the family had traveled to visit a family of T-Rexes. Until then, apparently, the Pteranadons weren’t 100% sure what species Buddy was. Mrs. Pteranadon said something like, “Well, Buddy, we adopted you when you were just an egg, so we didn’t know what you’d look like when you hatched, but we knew we’d love you just as much as our other kids.” As they were talking about how all species of dinosaurs look different, but have some similarities, I commented to the girls that in Daddy’s family, Daddy, Emily, Britton, and Blaine were the pteranadons, and Erica and Scotty were the T-rexes.

And Lexi looked at me and said, in all seriousness, “Why?”


  1. Ah, the innocence of youth. :)

    Reminds me of a kid in our neighborhood who was surprised when his mom told him his friend was adopted. (His friend was black with white parents.)

    Also reminds me of my favorite stupid question we get from people we don't know: "Is he adopted?" Um....

  2. Ugh! I just wrote you a long comment and then I accidentally closed the tab when I tried to preview it for spelling!

    Anyway, I was saying that Keira also loves the Dinosaur Train show and she has never commented or asked about colors or races yet. She does notice different languages and accents, and she sometimes asks if someone has a different language. She's been surrounded by Sri Lankan monks, neighbors and friends from different countries, and even played a lot with a little girl from China who doesn't yet speak English in summer camp.

    It's really true that kids don't seem to think anything of color differences until they are older. Hopefully by that time, it will be more academic. I remember when I finally asked, my mother explained that color was mostly due to the climates around the world and that we are all the same on the inside (with the potential for good and bad).

  3. That does make me laugh. We haven't had that conversation at our house yet. It is nice to see that things like that really don't matter to kids.


Will blog for comments

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