What Color Am I?

Imagine yourself at age 5 years. You are biologically half African-American and half Caucasian.  What color are you?  Black, brown, mocha, chocolate, tan?

We live in a wonderful world of mixed color today! Instead of moaning and groaning about it, we should embrace the commonality of all people.

Our family includes biracial young children who have a reason to make the distinction of color.  Their biological parents had no idea how to parent and lost the children several years ago to the foster care system.

Fortunately for the kids and for those who really love them, myself included, they have been adopted into a loving nurturing family that includes both Caucasian and African-American children.

Around the age of 5, my great-niece began questioning skin color. When I explained to her that her skin was darker than mine due to her bio father being black, she quickly informed me I was incorrect.

“Mimi, I am not black.  I’m brown!  I hate black!”   That was a pretty strong statement for a 5-year-old child.

After assuring her that her skin is a lovely shade of brown, it seemed to be the end of the questioning — until she asked me about two of her older sisters, adopted siblings of African-American bio parents.  I explained the older girls had two African-American bio parents, so they are  darker than the little ones, but to my great-niece they are still “just brown, Mimi.”

In her eyes, neglect and poor parenting very early in her life formed her opinion of black versus brown and/or white.

The actual skin color of her biological father and her two adopted siblings is irrelevant – the characteristics associated with one made her hate “black” while the characteristics associated with the others made her see them as “brown” and loving – just like she is.

We can all learn a lot from the little ones. They see more clearly than we ever will.





2 thoughts on “What Color Am I?

  1. This is an interesting post.
    I experienced a similar situation with the 4-year old daughter of a previous employer. She told me “I don’t like the brown kind.” I thought she was referring to my shirt. She said, she was referring to me…brown-skinned people.
    Her father is black. Her mother is white. She looks hispanic because of her skin tone and hair texture.
    It’s interesting how kids see things and how they need a little assistance with sorting things out.

    • That’s amazing, Nikki. One of “mine” saw a little girl from daycare at a store one day. She said, “Look, Mimi, she is black, too.” The other child’s mother was offended! Helloooo! The child was biracial. I’ve learned to pay attention to the kids – they get it before we do at times. Thanks for posting!

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