This week, unprompted, Eddie and I had three separate conversations about skin color.
Me: Hey, I wonder what Alice will look like.
Eddie: Maybe she will have curly hair! Maybe she will have pretty brown skin! Maybe she will have blue eyes!
Me: Well, daddy has curly hair and I have blue eyes, so that is possible. If she has brown skin though, I will be jealous.
Eddie: Why? Because you are so peachy?
Me: Yes! Plus she probably won’t have brown skin since neither me or daddy have brown skin.
Eddie: So? Aunt Mackenzie and uncle Dave don’t have brown skin and TWO of their kids do. I like it.
Me: That is true, Eddie. But remember that Kingston and Kyrie were born in Ethiopia and Aunt Kenz and Uncle Dave went on a plane to get them there. They didn’t come out of Aunt Kenz’s tummy.
Eddie: So? They are still a family. I hope Alice has brown skin.
Eddie (drawing a picture of Santa Claus on our snow day): Mom? What color skin does Santa have?
Me: I don’t know.
Eddie: How do you not KNOW?
Me: I’ve never met him. I mean, I’ve met his helpers at the malls who listen to kids tell their Christmas lists and stuff, but I’ve never seen the REAL Santa. I’m always asleep!
Eddie: Huh. I guess that makes sense. What color skin do you THINK he has? I mean, I need to color his skin here, mom.
Me: I guess I never thought about it. I don’t know.
Eddie: I’m just going to color him tan.
Eddie (while watching The Cat in the Hat Knows A Lot About That): You know why I don’t like this show, mom?
Eddie: Because they never say whether Nick (black) and Sally (white) are brother and sister or just friends.
Me: Well don’t they have different moms?
Eddie: Well, there are two moms, but sometimes I’m not sure if they are in the same house or not. So are they friends or brother and sister?
Me: I guess I don’t know either, Ed. Does it matter?
Eddie: No. But I just wish I knew. Every time I watch this I think about it.
Eddie: I just like to know what is what!
I like to have these conversations with Eddie. I know he notices skin color–he has an Indian friend and a Latino friend at school and has mentioned that the three of them all have different skin colors–but we have never brought up a separate discussion about what race is.
The only “race” Eddie knows it the kind you run in.
I don’t shy away from any conversation he has ever wanted to have with me, and I think it’s made him much more open to asking lots of questions. But is this good enough? I want my kids to be socially aware and active. I want them to choose kindness and love over everything else.
So far, Eddie seems to do that and I could not be more proud of him.