You’re Brown. You’re Orange. First contact.

Steve Keating
Canton, MI

When I was three I saw my across-the-stree neighbor for the first time. He was black and I greew up in a very predominantly white area. I called across the street to him: “you’re brown!” Kids are, after all, very literal and I was stating what I thought to be obvious and interesting. Kenny didn’t think so and left crying. The next day, when we saw each other across the street he called back: “you’re orange!” No doubt referring to my red hair. I didn’t like that and left crying.
Kenny and I soon became friends and remained so until he moved to Saginaw when we were in middle school.
I had very little exposure to non-caucasians until I went to college. I am thrilled that the community in which I an raising my children is very multi-cultural and things which were so shocking to my three year old self don’t even register with my kids; they have never know anything different.

Keep the conversation going - comment and discuss with your thoughts

  • Pamela L. Andre`

    I raised my daughter not to even notice race. I am very pale skinned and my husband has Native American ancestry, so I was pleased to see my baby girl had darker skin than me so she wouldn’t get sunburn. Her first day of kindergarten she came home and told me she wasn’t brown like I said, she was white. She told me a boy who said this was darker skinned than her and he said he was black and she was white. I asked her if she thought he looked black and she said no, he had brown skin and brown eyes and only his hair was black. I had to tell her that black was the way that boy thought of himself and if she felt she was brown she was. As she has grown up we continued the conversation, she knows about race now but she chooses to accept people for the way they act. Not the way they look.

  • Krane

    “I am thrilled that the community in which I an raising my children is very multi-cultural”

    I doubt that very much, either “very” means “like only 95% White” or the other cultures are Asians, Jews, Arabs, racially White Hispanics, or the like.

  • Chelee

    We are never going to change some adults who embrace racism. Children are innocent and could help create a new reality when it comes to race. They may be curious but accepting. It is when mommy and daddy start start planting the seed of their racial insecurities that allows racism to continue to flourish.

 

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