Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Skin Colors? Black History Month

I can do better. I choose to do better.

When is the right time to do the race/ skin  talk with your child? Should you even do the race/ skin talk with your child? I naively assumed that I still had a window, my children are still young and probably not seeing in skin colors. Then came Doc. Mcstuffins. So I was asking my daughter why she loved the show. She said " Doc is a girl, she made her toys and her friends toys feel better and because she is brown". I was like "brown?" She said" yes, brown like me" And I saw that window being blown by the wind. I wasn't sure if she was leaning more to those who looked more like her just because. Is there a science about this? At first I didn't know what to say. Not one to let a learning opportunity slip by, I asked so "what other kind of people do you see apart from brown people?" She said "the not-so brown and those that look like Miss C "*Miss C is her teacher and she is white* I was like "OK" and  didn't know whether to launch into the full race talk. I just told her Ms C is white and she is not brown but black. Which led to an argument on colors. I managed to let her know that irrespective of the skin color, there are only two kinds of people: good and bad. I didn't know how much to say to a preschooler.

I wouldn't like to fuel the evil tweet from the Onion about an innocent black girl, all I can say is that irrespective of their skin color, they are part of the bad people.

February is black history month  and we managed to join the activities at the community college to learn about the history of the black people in the area where we now call home. It was fun learning something new and I felt shame that my knowledge of great Nigerians is limited and mostly forgotten. The stories fresh in my head are those of the "bad" ones. I need to refresh myself on the stories of the good people.

How are you guys doing?



  1. Missed you around here. Life is just so complicated. So your baby already knows about skin colours #sigh. Good idea telling her about only good and bad people in the world though

    The Onion tweet was pure evil

  2. We're doing good, and thanks for dropping by :)

    Wow, I didn't know children picked up so quickly. I think you gave her a good reply and you're right, it is 'who' each person is that is more important than the color of their skin.

  3. Kids learn so fast, your response to your daughter was apt!

  4. I like what you told her: 'there are only two kinds of people: good and bad'.
    Even here in Nigeria, where a lot of tribal misconceptions and biases affect our dealings with each other, it pays to remember that.

  5. Children are very observant of these things. I had my first racial run-in when i was only like 3 or 4. This lil girl thought my skin was brown because i didn't bathe. Oh, the tears i shed lol. Even as an adult, every now and then i'll bump into a small (usually white) child who stares in amazement, or maybe disgust or confusion, at my brown skin. Never too early to start having these convos and exposing your children to different things.

  6. That's one problem Nigerians in diaspora face,the racial issues.We in Nigeria are kinda lucky not to have to deal with such (though we have tonnes of wahala some of us would gladly trade for the racial issues).Truth is,the talk with ones child concerning 'race' is very necessary,just like the 'sex' talk.We missed you around here.

  7. I loved your answer that there are really only two distinctions, good people and bad people. I am sure these issues will pop up as soon as my little one starts really talking...

  8. Imho, It's best that the child initiates the conversation like she did here and I like your answer. When a child asks questions, we can go along with that and offer useful answers. That way the child is not burdened with adult racial hang-ups and they can develop healthy attitudes to racial issues.

  9. Blessings...
    just love and embrace yourself as you are and teach your children to love the color of their skin let them now it is no accident that they are the color they are, it is God's deliberate plan for them to be a reflection of him.


  10. Your daughter is very observant. I hope one day the media especially children programs will bring a more vast representation of various ethnicities so that our children can feel connected.

  11. Thanks for sharing this Oke. Truth is that, we owe our children the debt of making them understand that the world has 'the good' and 'the bad', and that these people can be found among all peoples of the earth, irrespective of colour.

  12. Why did i think you were in the UK?

    I love the answer you gave your daughter. Indeed those are the only kinds of people. My friends kids have asked the odd question or two. 6yr old K describes himself as brown..and his classmates white.
    7yr old A has been teased about her mickey mouse hair buns...she came crying to her mom "why dont i have long silky hair like the other girls". Mom's explanation that God created us all specially did not wash. "I wish God had given me long hair" :(