A while back, I was talking with my granddaughter and watching a singing competition. Three women were competing as singers. The first woman was Black, wearing a white dress. The second woman was Latino, wearing a black dress. The third woman was White wearing a blue dress. All three women gave very nice performances, displaying that they each had a measure of talent.
My granddaughter was four years old at the time. She talked throughout the competition and listened long enough to hear what she felt was enough to make her decision, then continued talking. We played, listened to commentary and watched each act. Finally, I asked my granddaughter which one she liked. "I like the black one," she said.
The Black woman won. When she won, my granddaughter whined, "My lady didn't win." This is when I realized that she was referring to the black dress, not the Black woman. I'm ashamed to say that I thought she meant she liked the Black one, while in fact, she meant she liked the Latino woman wearing the black dress.
First I was ashamed of myself for not understanding that this four year old saw three women, not a Black, Latino and White woman. Next I was proud of my family and my son because we obviously have not made any distinctions between people to this child. Then I was saddened because I realized that even if we don't make the distinction, someone, somewhere, will make the distinction for her and a piece of her innocence will be destroyed forever.
I couldn't help but wonder -- how many people have stolen a piece of their children's or grandchildren's innocence by dwelling on racial categories when all their child sees are people?
What do you think about this topic? Do you agree or am I being an over-protective grandma?
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