We learned within the past week that our six year old daughter, Siobhann, is color blind. She is six and we had no idea this was the case. We had been hoping she would be, but we weren’t sure. Why would we want her to be color blind? Not that kind of color blind – we discovered she doesn’t see skin color. I was raised by a racist. That isn’t my fault and I have worked hard to overcome this my entire life. I never understood my father’s way of looking at people who weren’t white. Despite my upbringing, I believe people are people, good and bad, no matter their race, religion, faith or whatever it is that makes them different from me. I wanted my daughter to believe as I do. It seems I have done that. And, I found out in the strangest of ways…
Watching television as in the living room as she did her homework at the kitchen table, I wasn’t really paying attention to what she was doing. I knew if she had any questions she would ask. Momma was taking a rare break and I was thankful for the time to simply ‘be.’ A commercial came on for a dating website – Black People Meet. I didn’t think much of it.
As the commercial was ending, my daughter walked through the living room. She was finished with her homework and wanted me to check it. She stopped in the middle of the living room with the strangest look on her face. Her lower lip began to quiver.
‘Momma, that is just so wrong,’ she announced.
‘What is so wrong?’ I had no idea what she was talking about.
‘We shouldn’t try black people meat,’ she said with authority. ‘We shouldn’t eat people – no matter what color they are.’
The last line of the commercial was ‘Try Black People Meet Today.’ I tried not to smile, but it didn’t work. In fact, I think I might have let a giggle or two escape.
This odd comment from my daughter, based on a television commercial, opened a wonderful conversation between the two of us. I asked why we shouldn’t eat people. The may seem obvious to many, but, remember, she is six. I asked why she didn’t think we should eat black people, seeing they looked different. Don’t panic; I wanted to know her thoughts on skin color.
‘Momma, we all look different,’ she explained. ‘Daddy has dark brown hair and we don’t. He has blue eyes and we have green. Jesus made all of us and He wouldn’t have made us if He wasn’t going to love us. We need to love everybody even if they don’t look like us. It is the right thing to do.’
Although we are still saving money for her future therapy, we now know she doesn’t care about skin color. We have managed to get something right in this trial and error, ‘pray and wing it,’ thing called parenthood.