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Am I white?

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Posted by on September 12, 2011 at 10:07 pm

I was cleaning up the kitchen and heard the kids’ grandma reading them a new book: a children’s book about Rosa Parks. There were lots of questions as the kids tried to get their heads around racial segregation.

The discussion was about Rosa Parks and how then, black people had to sit in the back of the bus and white people sat in the front. My heart soared with pride as I heard my 4-year old Jenn ask, “Am I white?”  I patted myself on the back for raising a child who knows no color and I may have started to hum Ebony and Ivory to myself.

Jenn’s grandma told her that she was white. My son interjected that she was more of a tan color, and I heard Jenn confirm, “So I’m white?” At that clarification, she crowed in delight. “That means I get to get ride in the front!” Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder immediately stopped singing in my head.

I was momentarily relieved that this exchange had happened at home and not out in public. Though fortunately, this wasn’t about skin color at all, but a better view. Similarly, she sometimes wants to ride in a wheelchair, because for a four-year old, wheelchairs get the best seats on the bus, too.

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