It’s black and white.

A certain “news personality” has been plastered all over the media in the last week for her self-assured comments about the racial backgrounds of both Santa and Jesus. While her name is not worth mentioning because either a)she’s too ignorant to pay attention to and/or b)she’s simply out for ratings at all costs, I thought I’d weigh in on the subject, in a slightly different context.

When our kids were tiny, each of them had baby dolls. The two girls were given their dolls by friends and relatives who felt that was a natural present for a little girl. Both of them received dolls with milky white skin. Oldest Sister was never a big fan of doll play, but Middle Sister, a nurturer from birth, enjoyed it. When The Boy came along, no family members thought to give him a doll. Not appropriate for a boy, right? So The Husband and I gave him a dear brown-skinned baby for his 2nd birthday (which he promptly named “Three-Five,” a name which I still believe came from interest in math – five minus three was two, his age at the time. He taught himself multiplication at age three.). No one in our household questioned the the fact that he was a boy AND that his doll was brown. We got a few odd looks and puzzled questions from some older family members and others – which we downplayed/ignored.

Not long after Three-five joined our household, a major Christmas gift for the kids was a Little Tykes doll house. We chose to go a similar route when choosing the family to live in the house. We ended up with two families, actually – a black family and a white family, and they all shared the house. In our imaginary play, some of the parents worked at night and some in the day, to accommodate overcrowded sleeping conditions. It was one big, happy, interesting family.

Simple decisions like which toys to buy led to open conversations about skin color, about backgrounds, about similarities and differences between people, about what’s really important. And I can promise you none of our kids will ever make insulting, ignorant pronouncements about race.

At home – that’s where acceptance, understanding, and respect begin.

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8 thoughts on “It’s black and white.

  1. As I read this I remembered a doll that I had when I was growing up. Her name was Sandra and she had the most gorgeous brown ‘skin’. I kept my dolls and handed them down to my girls to play with. I know the first born used to play with her but the Tween wasn’t really much of a doll child – although she enjoyed Barbie for a while.
    I think it’s important for children to learn that we are all humans and not defined by how we look.

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  2. You’re correct, home is where children learn to choose to hate or love. Their parents are their primary teachers. It is up to us to not develop a bunch of haters. It’s pretty prevalent in the South, which was a shock to our family.

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  3. We can raise our children to be racists or we can raise them to accept people from all races and backgrounds. As you said, it begins at home. It’s great that you had mixed families in the Little Tykes house. This reminds me of a documentary I watched a few months ago. A mother and father had raised their children from birth, to be Nazis. They lived in America, but participated in Nazi based events. The children, even as young as 8, would often sing at these events promoting their hate for other races. It was terribly sad to watch. The kids were raised to hate. It should never be that way.

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  4. Are you saying that Santa could be “black”? Megyn Kelly was not being racist, she was making a joke based on the past traditions and the way Santa has been portrayed over the years.

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  5. I have been in the childcare profession for over 20 years. I agree with you completely. A color of someones skin is not a thing any child would notice unless it is taught. And until the child is ready to make his or her own opinion in regards to the race of another person, parents should keep there opinions to themselves regardless of if it is good or bad.

    I have had colored and white children and believe me they get along just as well as two white or two colored children do. Sometimes they play nicely and sometimes they don’t.

    I have also had parents leave my childcare because of a colored child joining our group, and personally, they should be ashamed of themselves.

    Skin color does not make you whom you are.

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