Since the moment my children were able to understand English, and develop the ability to communicate fluidly I have tried to keep them from seeing color as an obstacle. It is something that I have often discussed with them and always answered their questions directly. I have even gone to great lengths to explain the historic relevance of color to them but to also explain that it does not have to have the same obstructions in life that it had decades ago.
We've talked about past leaders, trend setters, and powerful public speakers. More than anything else we have shared all of our views and feelings about colors and what they mean to us in our lives and how we percieve people of different colors. It has become a habitual habit for me to, at times point out to my children that color does not distinguish the person inside and it really has no relevance. Yet they say how they see people treat one another and how color really does have a bearing. I don't hold back from them and am honest, admitting that there are still problems in the world, that more than likely they will have to deal with, if they haven't already.
The point I try to make to them is that, in adulthood ideas and viewpoints can falter somewhat and it is easy to succumb to the color stereotype's that society likes to lay out. I don't want them to do that, I don't want to see them have to lean more towards one ethnic background just to feel the need to fit in.
My daughter is already more focused on the color of people's skin than my two sons are. Why this is I really don't know but I am trying to steer her away from this into the realization that skin color means nothing. People are all people and there is no one on this earth who does not have the same emotions, disappointments, joyous times, angry times, etc.
Color, I tell her, has nothing to do with how people feel or who they are. So I ask myself how she could have become so focused on it when the entire period of time they all have been growing and developing I have taught them to not view color in that regard? I think alot of it has to do with what she sees, or what any child sees for that matter. What children visually interpret can turn to be opposite from what they have been being taught.
There is not a thing that can be done about this. Society sends subliminal messages to children without even being aware of it, even parents do. I know I do. All in all, my children know that color is not a bad thing but it is a very good thing, it makes the world blossom with unique people. How plain would everything around us be if we were all identical looking? It would not be as interesting at all. Even more plausible, it would be more like a drone world, with people going about day to day looking the same, acting the same, talking and walking the same, etc. This is another point I make to my children. Without color in the world and the many ethnicities, we would all become so bored that life would be minute and possibly depressing.
Just think of the rainbow, what would it be like without the colors that we find in it? And sometimes, the colors change, they aren't always the same. So, even if I do have a child that has to focus on color, at least I can help her to see that it is what makes the world a more amazing and wonderful place rather than seeing it as a bad thing.
Hopefully one day, she will learn that skin color is nothing more than the color of a crayon that you find in the crayola box, yet it is beautiful in its own right.