After living in a all white neighborhood on Long Island's North Shore and dealing with the 4% African American student body ratio at my son' s fancy Prep school. It has finally happened, my son has questioned why his skin is darker than his classmates and why his beautiful curly locks do not fall straight like the other boys. It took me awhile but, finally came up with away to answer his questions.
As a parent of color I must maintain an upbeat approach when talking to my son about racial differences. Although racial discrimination still exists, I try not too paint the world as a scary place for my son child. It's better for him to assume, at first, that the world will treat him fairly -- so that I don't inadvertently inhibit him.
When questions of difference of skin color and hair texture arise-usually when kids are about four or five years old-simple answers are adequate: The world is made up of many different kinds of wonderful people who help to make life more fun and exciting." Later on your child will have more sophisticated questions to ask about differences. Your answers should instill a philosophy based on democratic principles, with a "we are all brothers and sisters under the skin" outlook.
On some occasions, children of color (and white children, too) may be verbally attacked with racial slurs or insults. (God have mercy on the child who does this too mine) If that occurs:
- Quickly reassure your child that he or she is just fine and that the person using such a slur has a terrible problem.
- Follow up, if necessary. You may need to talk to the offender's parents.
- Encourage your child's school to have multicultural activities and positive discussions about differences.
What are your thoughts and or comments.