Kids talks about color

Meg - posted on 10/07/2011 ( 7 moms have responded )




Hi, It just happened today and I have been frustrated about it and have been looking for similar articles from thousands but couldn't find it.
My son spoke out on the bus just today saying "Mommy, He is black" pointed to one of the passenger. I was shocked first but I realized it he makes a sence what he exactly describe people and things these days at age 2 and half, So far well done speech development and matching colors etc. But...How do we teach 2 years old about color with race? And manner? Please reply if you have opinions and similar experiences.


Jane - posted on 10/07/2011




At that age I would just say, "Yes, he does have dark skin, doesn't he?" I might go on to point out someone with blonde hair and ask "And what color hair does that person have? What color are mommy's eyes?" And tell him how much fun it is that people don't all look the same.

Everyone in our family looks different. Some of us have light skin (we call it "peach"), some tan, and some dark chocolate. We have straight hair, wavy hair, curly hair and nappy hair. We have blonde hair, brown hair, black hair and silver hair, and green eyes, blue eyes and brown eyes.

Being able to accept the differences and enjoy them, without letting them define the person is the way for your son to be successful in a multicultural world, so I would encourage him to accept the differences.

Kelly - posted on 10/08/2011




For me I never made a big issue out of it and my kids didnt either. Sometimes it's the parents that get embarrassed and there is no reason to. It was a simple question and you can answer in a normal voice the answer. "yes his/her skin is black isn't it great how people are made in differnet colors of brown, tan and black." Personally I would insert the words "God made us in many differnet colors". I think it's when we get self conscious that it makes those times more uncomfortable. If your child asks about wheelchairs or other things just explain things truthfully. Others understand kids curiousity. My kids have friends who were adopted from Korea. I swear one of mine must have been 8 or even older and when I brought up the fact that they were adopted he didn't even know. He asked "what do you mean they were adopted" I explained but to him all this time they looked normal and how they were supposed to look. He never even noticed any differences. It wasn't a noticable issue despite the fact that mom is very caucasion and dad has some mexican in his background. LOL All along I had just figured the boys knew and never realized to them there were just other shades of color and eye shape and not enough to think otherwise. I'm casual about it so they were too and it was never a big topic. There was no big teaching moment.


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JuLeah - posted on 10/09/2011




Ya know, it is crazy. We almost have to teach them to discriminate before we teach them not to.

They don't discriminate, so when we point out that it is not kind to say "He's black" we have to explain that some think 'Black' is a bad thing to be ... it just gets crazy

When my child was that age I used flowers as the example. She made such a comment in the hearing of an older fellow who had a reaction and was waiting to see how I handled it - pressure -

I said, "Yes, he is. People come in a lot of colors"


"Well, what if flowers were all just red or yellow? They world would not be as beautiful as it is now, right? So, flowers are blue, and pink, and purple .....'

She listed colors she knew, she agreed it was better that way; she smiled at the man, who smiled back at us both.

As my child got older I brought in the idea that we don't describe a person based on their body ... so, we don't talk about how that person is .... black, white, fat, short ....

Now, she is old enough to get that if we talk about people, we make sure the 'people' part comes first. So, it is "that person in a wheelchair" instead of 'the wheelchair or that wheelchair kid"

And, if I see a situation coming, I try to speak first and set the tone. In the toy section a few back my daughter and I were looking for a birthday gift for a classmate she didn't know well, but to whose party she had been invited.

There was a couple in the same section that caught my eye because I noticed my child staring.

They were both well under 4ft - for you metric folks - they were tiny tiny

Knowing my daughter was about to ask a question or make a comment, I jumped in. "Excuse me. Do you have sons?"

They did

"We are looking for a gift for a 7yr old boy. Can you give us some ideas?"

They did

They then asked my daughter what grade she was in; she asked if they knew her teacher and the name of her cat. They didn't so she told them. We all chatted for several minutes.

We got the toy and left the store. In the car I brought up the topic of people who look different then what we expect.

She knew exactly what I was talking about. "I didn't ask why they are teeny tiny that was manners of me right?"

But, mostly what she walked away with was a memory of meeting parents who helped pick out a toy.

Meg - posted on 10/09/2011




We are so glad for having all of you with us, Thank for all terrific advice and comments! We certainly would agree with you, My husband and I discussed about our son after all, I am Asian and my husband is white, Our son has lighter skin, eyes and hair than me. His family on his mother's side are all Asian that maybe a good time to start teaching about color from our family to public. When we tripped to my home country for a vacation in this summer, Color talk and his curiousity didn't happen to him at all whenever we took a public transportation to I think it's because he used to see people look like me in his everyday ever since he is born. At that time the gentleman on the bus could have caught what he said to him, But this college student had a head phone set on music and the bus ride was with noises didn't appear my emotion and action to people. what I did to my son was saying " Yes his skin looks black, means dark, He has dark skin" that's the end he is not old yet to give me more question after question. After all in this past couple of days at home we turn on TV or show up magazines to him sees people have darker skin then talk him as he has good memory " Remember other day you said He is black? We met the gentleman had a dark skin like him, He has dark skin too" Well, he only repeats the word after us DARK and BLACK impact so far at age two and half! We are having a great time on communicating with him about the color and he looks happy for learning new everyday.

Antoinette - posted on 10/08/2011




My 5yo sister is fostered and has darker skin than the rest of us, she quite often asks what at first seemed like really annoying and rude questions about skin colour and size etc but I am realising more that she is just learning.
What gets me though is that she seems to think there is something wrong with her because she is darker and a few times has asked how she can make herself white like me or mum. I wasn't sure how to respond other than to say no we can't change our colours because we were made the way we were meant to be, different and special.

Katherine - posted on 10/08/2011




Right on. I have a 2.5 year old too. I haven't encountered this yet though. She has many bi-racial friends so it really isn't an issue. Now my 6 year old is a different story. She definitely notices. She too has bi-racial friends. Her school is very multicultural. So she is very used to it.
I would say the same thing Jane said to say, great advice.

Elizabeth - posted on 10/08/2011




Jane, that is excellent advice. I have nothing more to add after your post.

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