white female: My 3-year-old has race issues?! Where did she learn to think that way?

innerstanding isness

“I don’t like the brown children,” my three-year-old daughter told me one day. In shock, I asked her to repeat herself, convinced I’d misheard. I hadn’t.

  I didn’t get it. Although I was aware that our neighborhood was far from multi-cultural – it’s unusual to see anyone who isn’t pasty white in our Western New York city suburb – we’d also spent plenty of time visiting my family in London, where hundreds of nationalities mix. My husband is South American too, and his nieces and nephews have brown skin. We had certainly never done anything to give her the impression that people with darker skin than ours would be any better or worse than people with lighter skin. As a child, my parents took me on anti-apartheid demonstrations, and I knew from an early age that prejudice based on skin color is inherently wrong. Yet here…

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