Wednesday, 7 April 2010


Last night as we were walking to the car from the daycare, Deaglan pointed to a truck in the Daycare’s driveway and said Look Mommy, a truck. And when I asked him what colour the truck was he replied correctly that it was red.

As I was buckling him in, he pointed to one of the student teachers and said Look Mommy it’s Sarah. And I said, Oh yeah, there’s Sarah.

Then he stumped me.

What colour is Sarah Mommy? He asked.

I know that he didn’t really mean it the way it sounded. I know that he was mimicking the question I had asked him earlier but I truly did not know how to answer him. In fact I didn’t want to answer him. It made me feel really uncomfortable just thinking about putting a label on her.

I wondered, not for the first time since having a child, whether this too was nature, nurture or a bit of both.

I tried to recall if there was a definitive moment in my life where I remember noticing someone’s skin colour. I wrote a bit about it here but really my life has been so different than Deaglan’s will surely be.

What colour do you think Sarah is? I asked.

Blue. He said.

I left it at that.


  1. With you already being sensitive, you'll do fine explaining when the time really comes. I'd like to be blue or yellow!

  2. I don't think saying someone is asian or black or american indian is a label. it is a family and cultural heritage. saying someone is a chink or a spick is a label. saying someone is a retard is a label. the tone of voice used can tell him more than you think, doesn't have to be a word you use. I don't think children know skin color, he probably in his innocence meant the color or her shirt or dress.

  3. Blue is okay with me :) Don't worry too much. Many kids today seem to be just curious. It's usually a harmless observation. With a sensitive mom like you, Deaglan will quickly learn about viewing people as people.

  4. Good stuff Kim! Love the way you handled this situation... I'll have to tuck that in my mommy files!

  5. Alternatively, if he had not come up with blue, you could try to describe the color rather than going with the racial label. "A light pinkish-tan" or "kind of a dark brown" or whatever.

  6. Blue :)

    I love it. I think you handled it well.

  7. Wow, what a thought provoking post. I have noticed lately that Noah hopes the darker skinned or less over weight people win in battles or competitions. I am trying really hard to be gentle in my guidance of helping him see different perspectives...Parenting is no easy task. Peace my friend. :)

  8. She's a smurf!! How cute that he said blue! I'm not sure where they come up with ideas about skin color or when they do. Recently, when dropping my son off at children's church, he said that there was 1 'brown' girl in class. We have never talked about a person's skin color, so I know he didn't say this as a result of a discussion we have had. He said it because he made an observation. I left it at that, too, like you did. I was embarrassed at first but then realized it's just what he saw and he meant nothing harsh, he simply stated. Luckily nobody heard him, or they probably would have been offended. But then again, he is a 3 year old, so they just say what they are feeling/seeing sometimes!


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