Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Tough Questions: Why Do People Have Different Skin Color?

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I was putting Bear to sleep one night.  I wanted wavy hair the next day, so i had piggy tail braids in my hair.  he felt them, then asked,
"Momma, why do you have braids like a black girl?"

I froze.  I could not form any words.  It might have been the   l   o   n   g   e   s   t   pause in conversation ever. 

But then I got to thinking... We live in a predominantly white neighborhood.  We've read lots of books that have diverse lead characters. But then I realized... Many of them have black little girls who are depicted with braids.  Examples of these books are Hot City, I Like Me, Something Beautiful and Going Somewhere Special. 

Immediately momma-guilt set in as I realized I had failed to expose my son to true diversity. And in doing so had done a disservice to him and society. So, we did this activity to explore the difference in skin color. It's so simple and makes such a difference in how children look at others that are different than them. So, I wanted to explore what some other children thought about the difference in skin color.

Why do people have different color skin?

Well, because they're different.  It's just simple.
Bear (3.5) from Crayon Freckles

Because we are all unique. God made us that way.
Micah (7)

Dad says: He didn't understand the question so I showed him a picture of 4 different babies, all of different ethnicity and asked "why are these babies all different skin colors?"
Linden: "they are? they are all just babies."
Linden (3)

Because they have different names, so they have to look different too.
D (4) from
The Usual Mayhem

Coz there is dark, brown, grey, lots of different colours. If they are old or young they have different skin. If they are brand new they are different too.
Madeline (3) from Learn With Play at Home

Because some people were born that way.
Cassie (5.5) from The Chocolate Muffin Tree

Aikman:  Because they are different from each other. 
Mommy: But why are they different?
Aikman: Because all of us are different, and God loves us each.
Aikman (6) from Montessori Tidbits

I think God did it because he bringed all his kids there and he turned all their skin into whatever he wanted. Because he loves them to be a rainbow.
McKayla (3) Btw now she wants know what color He is and when we are gonna get to see Him.

Ummmmmmm well maybe people paint themselves like I did!!!!
J (2.5) from Rainy Day Mum
Because their family is from a different country.
Henry (6) from Play Dr. Mom

Because it's good that we are all different.
Honor (3) from Play Dr. Mom

Nico: l'aime noir, l'aime brun (like black, like brown)?
Mom says: I gave him choices as to why and he picked because they are all from different places.
Nico (2.5) from Glittering Muffins

So they will look cool.
Emma (6) from Mama Smiles

It's just how they are born, there is no reason behind it.
Alexis (16) from Tiaras and Bowties

Mom says: I asked my 3 year old and she hadn't even noticed that people have different colour skin, and she "mixes with a wonderful rainbow" of skin tones at our church and amongst her friends! I think that's beautiful :-)
Cakie (3) from The Imagination Tree

Caleb: Because God made them that way.
Mom: Why?
Caleb: Because he wants everyone to be different.
Caleb (6)

This the activity that I used to explain different skin colors to Bear.

I started out by showing Bear pictures of people of various skin color and ethnicity.  Then I poured the M&M's onto the table and pointed out how all of the candy was different colors, too.  Then I asked him:
The M&M's are different colors on the outside,
so what do they look like on the inside?
Are they different again or are they the same?

Once Bear gave his predictions, I cut the brown and the orange M&M's in half so he could see the insides.  Then we talked about how people and M&M's might look different on the outside, but inside, they are the same. 

And in light of recent events in our country, we're doing this again this weekend. Hate and intolerance are taught, not inbred. We owe it to our children to teach them that the "candy shell" of people is not what's important. We are all the same... just packaged differently.

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