Teaching My Little Girl To Love Her Skin.

Lizzie is the only black child in her class.  She is one of two in the whole preschool.  Yeah, we clearly don’t live in the most diverse area.  I have struggled with whether we should relocate to a different part of town.  We have talked about it, but in the end it always comes down to a few things.  We have family close by, it’s really pretty, and the schools.  The schools are really, really good here.  Families move here just so they can send their kids to the schools and I know teachers from the other counties who want to defect to our county.  They’re good schools.  And, since William started out a little behind, being in a school that was able to give him extra help was a blessing. 

So, no, I don’t want to move to another area of town so that my kids will not be the minority, but will go to less productive schools.  I don’t know if that’s the right decision.  I don’t know if anything I do is right.  But, I do know that, lately, my kids (especially Lizzie and Antwan) are noticing more and more that they are different.  And, I’m not sure how to make that easier for them.

So, it seems like lately, my interesting moments have been happening before 9am.  That’s weird because I firmly believe that no one should be awake before 9am.  But, sadly, society does not agree. 😉

I was doing Lizzie’s hair and trying desperately not to pop another rubber band.  (I did.)
I don’t remember how the conversation started, but she said something about her brown skin and I said how pretty it is.  “Nuh-Uh” she disagreed.  All my little mom warning bells went off and I just desperately wanted to reassure her. 
“Lizzie, I think it’s really pretty.  It’s dark like Antwan and William’s.”
“No, they’re skin is black.  Mine is brown.”
I tried explaining that they were all black and that their skin were just different shades, but she was having none of it.  And, I was hating the idea that she felt different from the two people that were supposed to make her feel less different.  So, I went with a different angle.
“Your skin is different from the kids at school, isn’t it?”
She said “Yes.” 
“Well, that’s kind of neat, right?  Your skin is special.” 

Kind of weak, I know.  But, what do you want from me?  It was 8:45 in the morning.

She answered, simply, “No.”
In an effort to figure out what she was thinking, I asked her,
“Well, why, Lizzie?  Why don’t you like your skin?”
Taking a page from William’s book (you see, he’s random), her answer was “Big triangle!”
She then put her arms in a triangular shape and started rambling about shapes.
We were evidently done.  I finished braiding her hair and hoped that she wasn’t using a defense mechanism and that she had really already forgotten about it. 
I don’t know.
But, I do know that she’s beautiful and Brian and I are going to keep telling her that.  And, we’re  going to keep telling her that it’s what’s inside that counts.  Lucky for her, and for us, she’s pretty awesome on the inside, too. 🙂    

10 thoughts on “Teaching My Little Girl To Love Her Skin.

  1. What you are going through worries me about my kids. We plan on finding a place that will have great schools and be more diverse than where you are. Lol, I say this now when my kids are too young for school and have zero idea where this mythical place might be but when (not if :)) I find it I will let you know so you can move next door.


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