Friday, January 22, 2010
What Color Am I?
Our grandson will be 4 on the 2nd of February. He joined me in my den area (The dining room converted to a den of sorts) for some conversation. He talks a lot, exceptionally bright for his age and a sponge for information.
He said "Nana, my other grandma is black!" My Momma just told me. He has seen his other Grandma before. He calls her grandma and me nana. He never recognized color before in people though I'm sure he wondered of it in some way.
He was looking to me for affirmation that his mother was right. I told him it was true.
He said "momma told me I'm black and white". I said yes baby, you are. He seemed a little confused, but accepted it as the truth.
He began looking at his arms and legs. He didn't quite understand.
He bounced on the sofa a little as he became even more curious, but unsure.
He said "nana!!! "I can't find by black". I wanted to laugh at the way he said it. Quick, blunt and most serious.
He began comparing my skin to his and I rested my arm touching his. Not much of a color difference this way.
He bounces over to me and excitedly said he found "my black" (nana's black), he pointed to my eyes and said your black is on top your white, nana! He looked into the mirror and again excited showed me that he found "his black". Both of our eyes are dark brown.
No one else in the home has brown eyes. Not his mom, not his grandpa, not his aunt or his uncle..
I attempted to tell him that other people will call him black. Other people won't "see his white". He wanted to know why. That was hard on me. I knew the day would come.
He's never ever been alienated from black people or family. He's been brought up with both in his life.
I stressed to him that no matter what others said.. He is white! And he is black! He is both equally.
Growing up myself it was often assumed I was one color or another. The fact of the matter is that I am like a coat of many colors. A bit of nearly everything runs through my veins.
Which one am I?
I'm just me!
My grandson isn't African American as he didn't come from Africa, nor did his father, or grandparents...
They are Black Americans.
So while my grand son has yet to understand "where his black is", I can only hope to teach him that one is no better than the other and when the time comes for all the other questions, those questions I'm not much looking forward to, the questions of race, discrimination, prejudice...
I can help him walk both shoes, understand controversy from both sides, have faith in both cultures, take some things to heart and dismiss other things.
We've come far as a people, but I'm afraid not far enough...
Once he "finds his black", he will lose his white by societies standards. No one will see him as white. And I don't like that.
He will always be both regardless and he can define himself as one, or the other, or both.
Until next time...