All I have to do when I have nothing to blog about is take Anna out in public...
We were leaving the library program today when a Black woman passed by us and smiled. Anna shouted enthusiastically, "That lady is brown!" Now the woman had already turned the corner, so I don't know if she heard, but several onlookers did. After getting over my shock and embarrassment I said, "Yes Anna, she had beautiful brown skin." Then I asked Anna what had made her comment on the woman, what was brown, and Anna's first response was, "her hair!"
Kids are pretty awesome. They don't have "baggage" associated with certain words or concepts, they just observe the world and call things how they see them. The woman's hair made more of an impession than the color of her skin (which makes sense since it was super long and in these stunning braids). There is an EXCELLENT book that all parents (adoptive or otherwise) of Black children should read called I'm Chocolate, You're Vanilla: Raising Healthy Black and Biracial Children in a Race-Conscious World: A Guide for Parents and Teachers. It's full of really helpful information about how children conceptualize race, how to explain racial issues to your kids, etc. The book has really boosted my confidence level in terms of being a transracial parent. Read it!
On the ride home I asked Anna what color her skin was, and she said, "like orange." Then I asked what color Yosef's skin was and she said, "brown." She started talking about hair color, and told me Yosef's hair was "brown, like yours!" Pretty awesome that children see similarities and things held in common where adults often only see differences. I am reminded of Jesus' words that "the kingdom of God belongs to such as these!"
After the library incident, we headed to Target, where we stood in a checkout line with a Black cashier, and behind a Black woman. I sat there wondering if Anna was going to share any more "observations", but no, she was intrigued by the receipts printing out and enjoyed chatting with the woman in front of us, who complimented Anna on HER hair.
I've been wanting to do a post on racial terminology for awhile now, so I think I'll do that next.