Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Sesame Street, Skin Color, and a 4 Year Old

Yesterday on Sesame Street, the "Proud to Be Me" episode aired.  It was one "snazzy" episode!  My 4 year old son came running into the kitchen to tell me all about what he had just learned.  He told pointed to his arm and said "this is my skin".  He asked what color his skin was, and I told him it's called tan, or white.  So very proud of what he had just learned, he told me that some people have brown skin, some people have black skin, "pan" (tan) skin, "wipe" (white) skin.......and maybe people have blue skin and pink skin!  as I mentioned, my son is only 4, so the topic of skin color and race isn't one we've had yet.  He has noticed that his baseball idol, a young man named Nicco who plays for my father-in-law's team, has dark brown skin.....and that he doesn't.  My daughter, who is 10, was about his age when she began to talk about skin color.  She would compliment people on their beautiful different shades of skin colors.  At one point, she was told by an young African American woman at the grocery store, that her skin was that beautiful shade of brown because she drank all of her chocolate milk as a young girl.  You could imagine my little girl's excitement when she realized that she always finished off her strawberry milk.......pink skin was in her future for sure!  I'm discussing this topic, one that seems to be a very sensitive one here in St. Louis, because it shows the innocence of young children.  They are blank canvases just waiting to soak up all the knowledge they can.  Shortly after the skin discussion with my daughter, it soon turned to why everyone is different, and how boring the world would be if we were all the same.  How have you, or how do you plan to address the topic of race, skin color, and overall differences among human beings with your child(ren)?  If you have a toddler, might I suggest you look no further than Sesame Street.

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