Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Color Madness!!!

I don't do politics, I'm not an activist and I don't talk about things that stir up the pot!  Until recently life has been pretty much easy peasy, until my 10 year old daughter made a negative comment about light skinned girls at the mall and my subway sandwich stumbled out of my mouth when my jaw dropped to the ground! WTH!!!

I wasn't really listening to her until some girl sat near us and those highlighted words were spoken, "She think she all that cause she is light skinned!"  Those words spewing from her little lips, felt like the sound of nails scrapping across the blackboard and everything at that moment in the mall came to a screeching halt!  I saw myself smacking her across that table but, I calmed myself and decided to use this as a teachable moment in color.

Me:  Sydney what color am I?
Her: Um?
Me:  Speak up, I can't hear you.
Her: Your light skinned.
Me: So what do you think of your mommy and Aunt Audrey, your brothers or Unkie?  We are all light skinned, do you think we think we are all that?
Her: No, 
Me: So where did you get the idea to say something so negative like that?
Her: Well I was sitting with these girls in class and when (cant say name) walked in they said she thought she was all that because she had long hair and light skin! 

As, adults we joke about who was in the field and who was in the Kitchen but, I thought this mentality, this archaic way of thinking was over, oh how naive I just realized I am.  It is still sadly being enforced in our children today!

Me:  Sydney do you like the color of your skin and do you think it's a pretty shade?
Her: Yes mommy.
Me:  Would you want someone to talk about you and say, "She think she all that cause she's brown skinned and can tap dance?"
Her:  No!
Me: Don't ever follow anybody into making you believe or say something that is hurtful, hateful and down right mean, OK? I love you, God created you and your beautiful outside and in:)
Her: I love you too mommy and I'm sorry:(

I think if we stopped talking about skin color in front of our kids, the color madness might fade away.

(me and my daughter Sydney pictured below)

I know this is an age old topic but, it is still going on today!
Please, no matter what color you are I'd love to hear what you all think?

I just read Mama Kat's post this week please check out her blog when you get a chance she always makes me want to write:) 
I decided to dedicate this post today to her prompt:
 #2 I was holding on tight but,

Click on her button to the right:)


Anonymous said...

You know I totally agree, that's why I don't talk about skin color or try to describe people by their skin tone. I know for Alison, it is the hardest thing in the world in school because she is of a mixed race (but we all are by some degree). Her dad is Puerto Rican and I am Caribbean black (so I have my own callaloo in me). They treat her as if she is not dark enough to be black but not light enough to be Hispanic. It gave her the biggest complex in the world and it took years for her to get over it. It didn't help that her younger sister was lighter than her. But she is finally coming into her own and realizing her own beauty no matter her skin color.


Anonymous said...

Boy, have I got thoughts on that! So, here’s one thought that I have time to share right now. It’s like people thinking I’m stupid (or stoopid) because I’m from the South. I had a friend recently tell me that she was very impressed with me because, even though I had grown up in the South—Alabama, no less--that I had gone on to college and made something of myself. I didn’t let my environment keep me down…I said, “Huh?”

Love ya no matter what shade you are!


Wifey said...

Wow! Kudos to you and how you handled that! I'm so glad you're going through all this first so I can watch and learn! LOL!

Winks & Smiles,

Eva Gallant said...

My father-in-law was a bigot. He once used the N word in front of my sons (they were 3 and 5). I gave him a piece of my mind, and took great pains to explain to my kids that this was wrong and hurtful. I'm proud to say that today my grown sons 36 and 38 seem to be very out-going, unprejudiced young men. They both have friends of varied races, religions, and sexual preferences. I'm hoping they are teaching their kids the same. They are cetainly setting a great example.

MOMSWEB said...

You're right, as long as there are people alive, this topic will never go away. I believe it's more talked about these days than before because of the fake hair, fake nails, and skin bleaching among our young black girls. What happened to teaching girls about their inner beauty? All this surface crap is crazy.
My mother is light skinned and when I was younger, school mates would question if she was really my mother. Good grief!

Execumama said...

In my (unsolicited) opinion, I think Sydney's initial comment is precisely why we need to talk about it in front of our children. The issue for me though, is the way we talk about it. If we approach it the way you did with Sidney, then our girls would be less likely to make color an issue. Surely, because they're little girls, and most of us will go through the "figuring each other out" stage, which comes with some bruises, they'll find other things to speak not-so-wonderfully about, BUT we'll do better about getting past the hair and skin-tone issue.

My mother-in-law and sister-in-law are very light-skinned, and my daughters have asked me time and time again if Grandma and auntie Kimmie are white. Not that there question is derogatory in any way, but it just goes to show how little they've gathered about the variety of beautiful hues that all people carry.

I think the best we can do is exactly what you did, and remind them about empathy, reflections of self through others, and of course, love.

Sorry for the loooooong comment, but you started it! *smiles*

Tarunita said...

Wonderful Post!
Thanks for sharing!

panamamama said...

Awesome post!

Funkidivagirl said...

Girls still say that and judge other girls that way? Wow...I guess I thought that died a long time ago! I remember a girl saying that about me in Jr. High and wanting to beat me up! For no reason at all!

My daughter is only 8, so we haven't gotten there yet, but if we do, I hope to tackle it the same way you did.

Great post; thanks for sharing! And thanks for visiting my blog!

A Lady Not A Tramp said...

Unfortunately our little girls are growing up with some of the same mentality that we thought died a long time ago. I don't reference color with my children because i feel that if I don't reference it then they won't judge based on skin color. What I discovered was that I need to talk to them more about race so that the nonsense they hear at school is meaningless.

M.Jay. said...

Thank you for visiting my Blog.
We are very different skinned in our family and it has not come up yet. But we have only come out of this era a short 16 years ago in South Africa and I know my kids will be asking since they will be attending predominantly white schools. What a great lesson to teach your child. I just hope I am lucky enough to teach that lesson at the right time. The advice you gave her is priceless and I have never heard it put quite so well.

ElizOF said...

Ms Wanda,
Sadly, as a mom of biracial twins, this is not unfamiliar territory... I really appreciated reading your post.
The color madness has never gone away; it's just wearing new clothing -- wolves parading as sheep. I'm glad you discussed it as I have had to do same with my kids when comments like that were/are directed at them.
Your daughter is innocent and beautiful and I don't blame her at all. We are all casualties of certain elements in society that insist on using color to divide and conquer us all. Thankfully, this remains a small but loud element in society.
Thank God, many of us focus our attention on a higher purpose. We must Ms. Wanda; even as we educate our family, friends, and strangers.
I'm visiting from MamaKat's Writing Workshop; I wrote on Unconditional Love and could use some feedback. Thank you!
Have a great weekend!

Spirit Filled said...

It seems as if the color issue will never fade away. will always be an opportunity to teach others. My daughter has engaged in "color" conversations often, because her friends are of all diffierent nationalities, and she has a way of bringing the conversation with her friends to a very interesting hault, by asking..."if we all cut our fingers...what color would the blood be? so does it matter what color our skin is???" Wonderful post.


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