Thursday, April 11, 2013

Pretty Brown Skin

Yesterday, I had my car loaded down with more stuff, if you could imagine,  to take the kids and my mom to the state park.  There were bubbles, frisbees, balls, and a picnic.  I just needed to stop and pick up a few extra drinks. ( I had left the water bottles in the trunk of the car with no ice, and they were probably at boiling temperature. )  Upon re-entering the car from the store, the kids were having a conversation.  "My skin isn't the same color."  "Your skin is darker than mine." "I know, but not darker than daddy's." 

Somehow, they were on the dark skin, light skin thing.  This is starting to become regular.  My little munchkin, Caitlyn, came into the world with beautiful chocolate skin like her daddy.  Being that she was the only one who took after her dad's complexion, she became the little prized "chocolate baby", "chocolate Cate", and "chocolate barbie."  Though a while back, she started having issues about her hair and skin color.  She wonders why her skin is dark and her brothers' is light.

I do my best to try to ensure and instill a confident sense of self in our pretty brown skin, despite a lot of stereotypes and judgments in the world and media.  I even had a white bank teller tell me, while in the bank with my kids and 3 month old Caleb, that Caleb's "coloring" was just perfect or the teacher that questioned if his skin would darken and get "regular."  There is an issue if you're light skin, dark skin or in between.  I was glad that my other children were not in ear shot and I was in too much of a shock, then, too respond.  It's a different story now.  I'm honestly still learning how to deal with this but there are times I wish God would cover his eyes and plug his ears.  We blame a lot of stuff on just not knowing, but a big reason for a lot of problems is just not thinking.   

We try and combat these negative views and remarks by always having books, pictures, art and toys in our house that showcase black people in all shades of their brown skin.  We always let the kids know how beautiful and handsome they are.  However, it really struck a nerve after watching a documentary "Who Is Black In America?" some months ago.  There was a little girl who wanted to be light skinned because she thought lighter skin was pretty and dark skin was ugly.   I wondered if my baby felt this way and how much because she talked about it a lot.  We think we go through a lot as adults, but children don't even know how to handle the emotions of life.  It was heartbreaking.   

Before I could join in on the topic, though, the subject had changed and they were happily chatting about the park.  I decided to let it go at the moment, but I make sure that my little girl knows she is beautiful, precious, and "wonderfully made" in her own pretty brown skin.

(source: pinterest)