Thursday, September 11, 2008

Grandparents not included - Part Deux

I bought The Color of Us to teach Angel that there are other races and different types of people in the world. To a child, the most obvious difference is the colour of skin.

So when I came across this book online, I thought it was apt.

When it arrived, as usual, I was caught up with other stuff and left it with her other books, to read later. Imagine my horror when I finally wanted to read it to her and discovered her grandma had gotten to it first. Grandma not only read it to her, but injected her own, shall we say, preferences. So the little dark skinned girl in the book became 'yuck yuck' che che (sister). I tried not to reprimand her, but I was seething inside. I shut the book and decided to wait a while before reading it to her again.

Over the next few weeks, I gradually tried to teach her about skin colour. I told her that her friends at the playground were all different colours. N was tan, while B was dark and S was fair. Then when we watched Barney, she asked why the girl had yellow (blonde) hair, so I told her she is a different race to us. I told her Chinese people like us have black hair, while Caucasian people like the girl sometimes have blonde hair, or brown hair, or red hair. Barney is a great teaching tool because the kids are always of different races.

Then when my parents came to visit, she asked my father why he was dark. So my father also started to compare skin colour with her, telling her that his skin was tan, while hers was fair. So starts the trail of questions: Mommy, why are you fair? Mommy, why is Grandpa dark? Mommy, why is Daddy dark?

Now I can safely take the book out to read without her saying 'yuck yuck'. Doesn't make me any less pissed off that she had said it in the first place. But I am relieved that she stopped. Watch your kids like a hawk, for they absorb everything, even prejudices, like a sponge.

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