Being daddy: Talking to my interracial son about race

A conversation I had with my three-year-old son Saturday:

Noah: Daddy, my skin is light, momma’s skin is light, Nanna’s skin is light and everybody else’s skin in the family is light. But yours isn’t. Why are you dark-skinned and not like everyone else?

Me: Well, son, God made me different. Why do you ask? Did someone say something to you about me?

Noah: No one said something. I can see it myself, I can see it real good. But with me being light, its like I’m camouflaged, and so when we play and hide and seek, you can’t find me.

Me: Camouflaged? Ok. Well, how does it make you feel, my dark skin I mean.

Noah: Glad. I know its okay that we’re different.

And with that, we were off for the rest of our day of fun.

I’m sure, as Noah gets older, we’ll no doubt have more conversations about race. With me being black and his mother being Hispanic, the racial narrative of Noah’s life may be somewhat different. (And on a side note, he’ll probably have better luck than I at finding someone to cut his hair.) I know what its like to be black and his mother knows what its like to be Hispanic. But neither of us are interracial. Still, whatever and whenever we have a deeper talk about the matter, I’ll tell him this: “Treat people the way you want to be treated, regardless of their skin color.” and “If you work your butt off, you can be a success in life no matter what you look like.”

8 thoughts on “Being daddy: Talking to my interracial son about race”

  1. I had a little of a race discussion with kiddos myself yesterday. I was over at my SIL’s house and the neighbor’s little girl asked my niece: “You have white people in your family??” 😉
    Kathrin recently posted..4360 Distance Record

  2. I love your thoughts… “Treat people the way you want to be treated, regardless of their skin color.” and “If you work your butt off, you can be a success in life no matter what you look like.”

    With our family make up we have lots of conversations on this topic, and we try to instill pride and confidence in all of our kids as well as to teach them never to judge people by appearance and to treat others with love and acceptance. I wish everyone taught their kids this stuff… if they did, racism would be an ugly thing of the past.
    Erin recently posted..TWO

  3. I love this subject. I am Hispanic and in my own culture I grew up with a long list of prejudice mainly against blacks. Whatever gave anyone the idea that they were superior based on the lightness of their skin is beyond me. My kids have not heard any of that. They don’t know that there are stereotyping differences. To them, there are none. They describe someone by “tall, skinny guy with lenses” never “tall black guy”. They dont seem to know IF there is a difference. They are right, there isn’t.

  4. Being able to find someone to cut your hair is definitely a good thing. As well as a good education, well-developed work ethic and a supportive family. I think Noah has nothing to worry about for the future. I grew up in a place (South Africa) that had such a completely bizarre socio-political setup (during the apartheid era) that it is very refreshing to see such a level-headed, matter-of-fact approach to race.
    Bert recently posted..Finally on the right calorie track

Comments are closed.