Monday, July 12, 2010


As an inter-racial family we often hear the phrase "love is color-blind." I tend to not use that statement. I think "love color" is a more appropriate term. Noticing and acknowledging skin differences is not the problem. It's the unreasonable reactions to skin differences that cause ugly conflicts.

I have to notice my children's color for a variety of reasons: providing the right care for healthy skin, hair and nails; recognizing signs of illness, preventing brown-skin susceptible rashes; but mostly, being an example of admiring our diverse appearances.

Our son's beautiful mahogany skin stretches across his slender limbs, glistening in the sun while he shoots baskets. He grins and waves as I cheer him. He's beautiful, (although a 13 year old would totally blanch at being called "beautiful"). When Tavin was little, after his bath we'd douse his naked body with coconut oil; he'd streak through the house all shiny and slippery chocolate. His dad had a hard time catching him. And when he finally did, there was something precious about seeing this small dark body nestled into my husband's strong white arms. It was like a healing. Such violence and atrocities have been committed in the ugly name of racism that I warmed at the sight of tenderness between distinctive skin differences. I like seeing the color.

Our daughter's ebony arms and nimble hands love to paint. One day, Taleah sat on the kitchen floor with her watercolor project scattered around her. Completely disregarding my amateur artistic advice to rinse her brush between changing colors, she painted color over color over color until the page was almost black. "Hmmm..." she noticed aloud. Her shining eyes danced with amusement. Her dimpled cheeks accented a sly smile. "Mom, look. All the colors mixed together make me!"

We've experienced some pretty yucky stuff because of our family's color differences. Like the time Tavin got off the bus at school and was kicked to his knees by a disturbed child who kept yelling, "I hate black people! I hate black people!" Tavin was afraid to tell anyone what happen because he thought if he did, he might get shot like Martin Luther King.

Or the time Taleah was tormented by kids calling her, "Black face! Black face!" She (being an amazingly "out-of-the-box" thinker) simply told them they did not know beauty; then promptly marched into the principal's office to explain that what those kids were calling her was "illegal."

How do we teach our children to value who they are inside and outside? How do we instill a response to love color instead of passing judgments by color? Can we celebrate the variety of hues; gazing at them in wonder and admiration, knowing God's designs are not to be ignored but appreciated? My friend gave me this quote and it hangs on our fridge.

Choose your friends by their character. Choose your socks by their color. Choosing you socks by their character makes no sense at all. Choosing your friends by their color is unthinkable. (by anonymous )

Love is color-blind? I don't think so.
leave off the
is blind and just
love color!

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