Friday, February 22, 2008

Through His Eyes

A few weeks past, I made mention of an African-American friend to my husband and for some reason that I do not recall, I described my friend as "black". Ethan must have heard this and tucked it away into his five-year old memory bank somewhere. While preparing dinner a few days ago, Ethan asked me why I described friend A as "black".

With flour up-to-my elbows, my first impulse was to simply respond with, "Because that's what he is" and proceed with my chicken piccata. But in a rare moment of parental clarity, I thought better of that curt response. My little boy, who understands nothing about ethnicity and race, deserved a better answer. So, I took a moment to translate my response into his 5-year old language.

"But Mommmm...Why is he called black? He's brown!!"

Good question.

My response was spattered with "uh" and "well" and then some lame analogy about me being "white". His response,

"Mommm you're not white. You're peach".

He's got me there.

After a short but deliberate explanation about why it's just better to use the more accurate description of "African American", he looked at me blankly and declared,

"Whatever. I just like calling him by his name. When's dinner gonna be ready mommmm?"

Point taken, little man. Point taken.

5 comments:

patjrsmom said...

What a wise little man you are raising!

God Bless,
Jane (momma to 6, two of whom are "brown")

Anonymous said...

I'm just impressed you make chicken piccata.

the mother of this lot said...

Out of the mouths of babes...

Lerin said...

I just started reading your blog today, and I wanted to say hello! I've really enjoyed your posts so far, and I'll be back to read some more. :)

WhiteStoneNameSeeker said...

Ah the wisdom of little ones.
My friend lived with us for the first couple of years of our marriage. So my oldest simply grew up with a black person in the house and apparently didn't notice any difference.
Then one day (he was about 3 I think) he followed her to the shower and as he had often done, sat there while she showered and talked at her.
he had gone quiet and then suddenly askded "Auntie Ann, why does the water turn brown when it hits you?"
She explained. "it's not the water that's brown darling, it's me."
"OH!" was the repsonse and then he went on about something else.