Posts Tagged ‘Multicultural crayons’


Friday, September 24th, 2010

Last week, while drawing a picture of our family, Olivia held up the marker she was using to draw me and said, “Everyone at school calls this ‘skin color,’ but it isn’t. This color is ‘peach.’” 

I’ve heard it said that children don’t notice skin color, but that has never been the experience in our family. In a very matter-of-fact way, Olivia began commenting on variations in skin color at about age three. Mateo, too. Maybe it’s because they’re such visual people and my husband and I look different from them; or maybe it’s because my husband is a dermatologist who studies, treats, and writes about the skin; or maybe it’s because our family looks different from most of the families around us. It could be due to any of those reasons, but here’s my theory: The reason my kids discuss skin color is because when the subject comes up, we don’t avoid it. For whatever reason, in our family, a conversation might sound like this: 

Olivia: “Which girl are you talking about? Does she have peach skin?”

 Mateo: “No, the other one. She’s brown like us.”

Or, Olivia: “Mom has peach skin with round spots.”

Me: “Those are freckles. ”

Mateo: “Olivia’s skin is tanner than mine. Dad’s skin has more yellow.”

 My children often identify people by skin color, with no judgment attached. They report color the same as any detail: green eyes, long hair, good at bike riding, likes to hula-hoop. Olivia and Mateo know we’re all the same on the inside. That’s one fact that doesn’t vary, and the one that counts. (more…)